DRAWING DOS AND DON’TS: THE DRAW-A-PERSON TEST AS A MEASURE OF INTELLECTUAL MATURITY?

Open Access
Author:
Brittain, Rebecca Ann
Graduate Program:
Art Education
Degree:
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
July 17, 2009
Committee Members:
  • Christine Marme Thompson, Thesis Advisor
  • Christine M Thompson, Thesis Advisor
Keywords:
  • art education
  • intellectual maturity
  • Draw-A-Person Test
Abstract:
The Goodenough-Harris Draw-A-Person Test is used today in schools as a measure of school readiness and a predictor of academic success. Should adults be using children’s drawings for these purposes? Is the Draw-A-Person Test actually a measure of intellectual maturity? This thesis continues the academic discussion of whether this type of drawing-based assessment should be used in schools. If art lessons could improve children’s test scores, then the test would not truly measure intellectual maturity, which is assumed to be innate and cannot be taught. In this study, kindergarten classes were divided into two groups, an intervention group, and a control group. Thirty-one parents or guardians of kindergarteners consented to having their children participate. At baseline, the Draw-A-Person Test was administered to both groups. The intervention group received four art lessons over two weeks about drawing people, which I created and delivered. Then both groups repeated the test. There was no statistical difference between the pre-intervention and post-intervention test scores in either group. This finding supports the validity of the Draw-A-Person Test since the test scores for children in both groups remained constant. However, my experiences and observations while teaching the intervention group told a different story. There is a difference between statistical significance and real world significance that is observed by the art teacher. The students were capable of much more than they demonstrated in the test setting. This study considers the question: Are there drawing dos and don’ts for children’s art?