Posted by: keepingthemistakes | December 29, 2010

Ordering Supplies and Grading

Not my favorite activities as an art teacher.  I used to love, love, LOVE to look through art supply catalogs and dream.  I still do, but.  Wow, it’s so much harder when you are trying to figure out what you need to supply art to your students and how to figure out want to do vs. what will really get done.  Also, budget figures into the mix quite prominently.  One of my schools has virtually no art budget, so I have to really figure out what the absolute needs are and make two lists for possible approval, one as must have items and one as dreaming of items.  My other school has a much better budget, but it’s still hard.  So many art supplies and so many things that look fun.  Plus, so many catalogs . . . do I compare prices in all of them for everything??????  When am I supposed to do THAT???

Grading is another thing altogether.  Grading art is a challenge, and again, with two schools I have three different types of grading.  One school grades with N, B, P, E (Novice, Basic, Proficient, Exemplary) and each grade level has a minimum of 10 benchmarks that we grade through the year, including participation and craftsmanship.   The other school has two grading methods, depending on grade-level.  K-2 is a 1,2,3 grading scale (1-below grade level; 2-at grade level; 3-above grade level)  on participation and craftsmanship and then 3-8 is a A-F percentage grade on everything — one grade.    And then add to the mix the sheer numbers . . . I see over 300 students at one school, about 155 at the other.  That’s a lot of kids to grade.   And objectively, right?  I work very, very hard to not grade on art skill, but on the process.  Did they try their hardest to “get” the concept I was teaching them?  Did they use their best skills to do it?  Both of those things could present themselves in a totally different art project outcome and still earn the same grade.   What about the student who did good work, obviously got it, but I know they didn’t do their best work?  What about when that parent calls and says “I know my son/daughter is a good artist, why are they getting this grade.”?  It’s hard.  But it has to be done.

Thanks for letting me vent 🙂



  1. I can totally relate to the grading issue. It’s the thing I hate most about grading. For me, it is so hard to be objective. One of the most difficult things for me is the really naturally talented artist, but his/her attitude and behaviour towards other kids or myself is really poor. That’s why I have to have a large attitude and effort grade. I teach mid-high school and I have to give percentages! At least we have no final exams.

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