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The effect of formal assessment on secondary school Art and Design education: a systematic description of empirical studies

What do we want to know?

The influence of formal assessment of art creates polarised views: on the one hand, art – and pupils’ creativity and self-expression – should not be constrained by formal assessment; on the other hand, assessment and success in national examinations can raise the profile and status of the subject.  The aim of the review is to highlight the main theories and concepts of assessment and examinations in secondary art education.

Who wants to know?

Policy-makers and teachers.

What did we find?

The research reports found were about assessment methods, their effects on how art is taught, and their possible influences on art students' work.  The studies identified were all very different, and important details relating to research methods were not reported.  It was therefore not possible to synthesise the findings to answer the review question.

What are the implications?

Research needs to be undertaken by an independent body, perhaps the National Foundation for Educational Research, to examine the impact of Art and Design examinations on the curriculum, and in particular, the extent to which external assessment dictates classroom practice. 

How did we get these results?

Eight empirical research studies on the use of assessment in art education were reviewed, all written in English since 1977.

This summary was prepared by the EPPI-Centre

This report should be cited as: Mason R, Steers J, Bedford D, McCabe C (2005) The impact of formal assessment on secondary school Art and Design education: a systematic description of empirical studies. In: Research Evidence in Education Library. London: EPPI-Centre, Social Science Research Unit, Institute of Education, University of London.

  
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