All artworks and statements by Benjamin Tellie © the artist. 2015. 

Presently, my current work focuses on visually responding to assessment practices and comes from various assessment pieces that I create for my own studio classes. Arts-based research and my own classroom teaching practice informs my artmaking process. In bringing these influences to my art, I focus on developing background information through color, shape, atmosphere and repetition, thereby connecting these viscera, then impose additional shapes and images in order to interact with a particular space.

When reflecting on assessment models, I often think about how each assessment contains structural box-like forms, different levels that measure student’s process and how each assessment showcases student achievement and process (Stiggins, 2006). My visual responses explore the layering and overlapping of colors coupled with crude expressions of outlines and forms. Sometimes, futuristic imagery emerges with confusing structural spaces and compositions. These outlines of shapes respond to the broadcast of emotional and vivid relationships that occur between grading criteria and measuring data in assessment models (Alkharusi, 2008).

Theoretical Context

Current research and articles are informative to my contemplations about assessment including how measurement and assessment can be seen as a scientific process and the bewildering effects of reliability and validity in measuring student work (Huitt, Hummel, & Kaeck, 2001). Research questions such as, “Is there evidence that improving formative assessments raises standards?” were important in reflecting on my own painting techniques about the blurry boundaries that exist between formative assessments and state standards (Black and Dylan, 1998, p. 2). These types of resources helped me push my thinking about how artists and art educators can respond visually to assessments, how they can be translated into works of art with students, and used as a teaching resource in my own artistic practice.

Visual Responses as Teaching Tools

My work in general has many practical applications in the classroom as narrative assessment tools. I often share my personal artwork with my art students and sometimes discuss assessment models as content/resources for making personal works of art. This visual research builds a creative platform for understanding how students can approach assessment models to further analyze and measure their own art work. Dialogues have arisen with my students about the dynamic ways they might interpret assessment models through art making in order to analyze and even grade their own artwork.


Alkharusi, H. (2008). Effects of Classroom Assessment Practices on Students’           Achievement Goals, Educational Assessment, 13: 243-266.

Black, P., and Williams, D. (1998). Inside the black box: Raising standards through classroom assessment. Phi Delta Kappan, 80(2), 139-148.

Huitt, W., Hummel, J., & Kaeck, D. (2001). Assessment, measurement, evaluation, and research. Educational Psychology Interactive. Valdosta, GA: Valdosta State University.

Stiggins, R.J. (2006). Assessment FOR Learning: A Key to student motivation and achievement. Phi Delta Kappan EDGE, 2(2), 3-19.


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