Evaluating art, a delicate task

The classic grading system, although questioned by some pedagogues, makes sense. However, he gets confused during the evaluation of an artistic object, with which the teaching community of the Faculty of Arts of the University of Quebec in Montreal (UQAM) must deal.

There is an element of subjectivity in the visual arts. We are not in a practice that is only technical. says Véronique Chagnon Côté, professor at the UQAM School of Visual and Media Arts.

Dance, theater, music, literary studies: the professor’s affirmation transcends all areas of the faculty. ” if i ask [à mes étudiants et étudiantes] to make color palettes I would just have checkboxes “, illustrates. The reality of your course, Plasticity and symbolic function of the imageIt is light years away from this example.

Well aware that the work she asks her students to do requires them to harness their creativity 一 and therefore to present a personal product 一, Ms. Chagnon Côté builds her evaluation criteria accordingly. The approach, the level of involvement and coherence are, among other things, a preponderant place. ” It is the link between the notions that I teach and the words that the student transmits that interests me. “explains the teacher. In other words, if a student submits work whose technical processes align with meaning, their chances of earning a high grade increase.

Beyond the borders of the visual arts, there is also this concern to evaluate what leads to the final product rather than the product as such. For Isabelle Héroux, professor in the music department at UQAM, the coherence of a work is crucial. The guitarist even takes into account the autonomy of the student in his creative process, his capacity for self-assessment and his mastery of stress. Quantifiable criteria that have the power to level a note up or down without ruling on any artistic identity.

continuous reflections

Over time, Véronique Chagnon-Côté and Isabelle Héroux have developed ways of dwelling more on the flesh surrounding the art object, with the goal of being more precise in noticing. However, they are not fooled. ” Does total neutrality exist? asks Mrs. Chagnon Côté.

To draw an opaque line between her students’ interests and her own, the visual arts teacher reserves her personal achievements. ” I don’t want to give the impression that I’m going to be more interested in what I do as an artist. », explains the one who is also a painter.

Isabelle Héroux also juggles this kind of thinking. ” How do I make sure I don’t castrate my students anymore? escapades? she wonders. To do this, the teacher acts a bit like a guide. Some circles are more on the lookout for artists who deviate from the norm; some don’t. Isabelle indicates it with total transparency to her students.

In case of doubt refrain

At the top of the pyramid of alternative ways of grading work is the degrading. Anthropologist and author Susan D. Blum, at the origin of the concept, did not focus solely on artistic disciplines in envisioning this radical way of looking at notation.

the degrading is the rejection of quantitative notation », expresses the professor of the Dinaïg Stall Theater School of the UQAM. Numbers and letters are replaced by qualitative comments.

Ms. Stall is interested in this approach without necessarily being able to apply it within the walls of UQAM. ” Universities are competitive, performance-focused environments. The context does not allow the abolition of the notes. “, she explains. Documented in particular in the United States, the results of degrading they are encouraging and unequivocal: the notation as we know it has several ill effects.

In many departments in the College of Letters, such as Literary Studies, grades represent more than a bunch of letters on paper. They have a significant reach. Obtaining scholarships depends on it, as well as the transition to higher education, for example. Third-year literary studies major student Jeanne Goudreault-Marcoux testifies: ” The domain is highly contingent. “.

In his classes, where he has to create texts from scratch, more than half of the grades are given to the style and artistic quality of the text, often subjective notions. Occasionally, ” It is a matter of artistic complicity which influences the grade given, according to Jeanne. A complicity that, in the arts in particular, is more complex than the simple achievement of a criterion.

Augustin de Baudinière Photographic Mention | Montreal Campus

Leave a Comment