Think, Record, Reveal: Studio Process Assessment and the Artistic Thinking It Reveals

Open Access
McComb, Camilla
Graduate Program:
Art Education
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Date of Defense:
July 13, 2010
Committee Members:
  • Yvonne Madelaine Gaudelius, Dissertation Advisor
  • Yvonne Madelaine Gaudelius, Committee Chair
  • Christine M Thompson, Committee Member
  • Kimberly Anne Powell, Committee Member
  • Mary Catherine Scheeler, Committee Member
  • formative assessment
  • pre-adolescent
  • artistic thinking
  • assessment
  • multimodal literacy
  • artistic pedagogy
  • studio habits of mind
  • artist/researcher/teacher
  • naturalistic inquiry
  • qualitative research
  • volitional strategies
  • multimodal digital journal
  • studio-process
This dissertation chronicles a year long, four-phase investigation into sixth grade students’ artistic thinking. The principal investigator, working as artist/researcher/ teacher, sought to better understand her own art students and the artistic thinking that would emerge through intentional pedagogical assessment practices. Research on art making, art teachers’ practices, and the pre-adolescent learner merged with theory in assessment, multimodal literacy, and self-regulated learning to shape the research methodology. By combining use of a formative studio-process checklist with the creation of a summative multimodal digital journal (MDJ), sixth grade students created a visual model of their use of the eight Studio Habits of Mind (SHoM). Documentation of the SHoM provided a rich and varied glimpse into the artistic thinking strategies students utilized when making narrative paintings. Analysis of the student-created MDJs proved beneficial in revealing both the nature of students’ artistic thinking, and in revealing the effectiveness of curricular design. The research data was analyzed for emergent categories within each SHoM, adding to what is known about the artistic thinking of pre-adolescent learners. Students’ tendency to display the SHoM was also analyzed through art making. The principal investigator merged her roles of artist/researcher/teacher creating Data Quilts based upon students’ use of the formative studio-process checklist and summative evidence found in the MDJs. The quilts served to literally make the data visible both to her and to her students. Evidence from the study suggests three conclusions regarding artistic thinking; (1) the SHoM facilitate artistic discussion; (2) students value different aspects of the studio process; and (3) students can identify and express their artistic needs. More over, the MDJ proved an effective tool in assessing both student learning and classroom pedagogy. The MDJ enabled teachers’ photographic documentation of classroom art making to be combined with student reflection, creating a shared assessment of student learning. Implications of this study suggest that wide-spread adoption of artistic thinking dispositions into pedagogical practice would help to create a broader understanding of students’ artistic thinking, and could facilitate conversations amongst educator’s intent on helping students to express themselves through meaningful artistic practices.