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Kendall Instructor Tapped to Shape State Art Proficiency Standards

Posted February 22, 2013 in CampusFacultyPublic

As the results of this year’s Michigan Educational Assessment Program (MEAP) tests roll in, the Michigan Department of Education is making plans to improve students’ proficiency in other subject matter crucial to their success: the arts. To help create the new standards, the MDE has tapped Kendall College of Art and Design instructor Kristen Morrison.

A former high school teacher and currently the student teacher placement officer and adjunct faculty at Kendall, Morrison has a deep awareness of the state of art education and the skill sets students will need to compete in the 21st century economy. “ My job takes me to school systems all over West Michigan,” she says. “I get to talk with teachers about their curriculum and see the work created by students. As we prepare the next generation to enter the workforce, we must develop in students the creative problem solving skills they will need to succeed in any line of work – not just art and design careers. The job market is changing for Americans and these higher order thinking skills will be a requirement.”

To help all Michigan students become more proficient in these skills, the Department of Education has created the Michigan Arts Education Instruction and Assessment (MAEIA) committee, which will begin its research in April and present final recommendations to the state in the fall. One branch of the committee will create an instructional blueprint for a high-quality arts program. A second branch will focus on creating an audit tool for districts to assess the quality of their arts program. The third branch, which includes Morrison as part of a two-person team, will create assessment specifications and prototypes to guide future development of student assessments in the arts. She was selected from a panel of applicants from across the state.

“My role will be to create high quality lesson plans and rubrics that teachers and administrators may use as models to design meaningful art programs,” says Morrison. “We’re focusing on the intellectual skills students should have in place by the time they graduate.”

Much of Morrison’s work will draw on the brain-based research Kendall uses in the Art Education Program. ”Our program is on the cutting edge of applying brain research to teaching and learning in art education. If the information we use could be applied throughout the state, the potential for greater learning is tremendous.”

She continues, “Art is not created in a bubble. Visual communication is an integral part of every subject you learn in school. To be a part of this conversation and get the message out to the entire state is truly exciting.”