In order to graduate from high school, students are required to have a fine arts credit, which some students think is unfair due to their lack of artistic ability. A student can earn this credit by choosing from a number of courses including art, dance, music, or drama/theater. Some students have been questioning whether or not it is fair to be graded on how artistic they are in these classes.
Some students are frustrated by how poorly they are doing in an art class they must take in order to graduate. Teachers have another outlook in regards to performance in these types of fine art classes.
Ceramics and fashion teacher Malinda Pierce believes that a ceramics class should be treated like any other class. “Students should be graded on their ability in my ceramics class just like they are graded and evaluated in a math class on their abilities,” Pierce said.
Pierce compares a math class to a ceramics class. A grade in math class consists of tests, quizzes and homework grades. This enables students who do not understand a concept in math to practice and have an opportunity to get better at it. Also, it provides students with different opportunities to help their overall grade.
Likewise, students are given clean-up jobs and other assignments in ceramics class to help boost their grade if they don’t do well on a project. Pierce has a theory that just like it takes practice to get better at math, it takes practice to get better at ceramics. Even if a student does not feel he or she is naturally artistic it does not mean that with practice they can’t enhance their abilities and get better in the art class.
Sophomore Nate Gilkey has a different perspective and believes the current grading policy for an art class is unfair. Gilkey finished the semester of ceramics with a C. “I worked very hard on all my projects but they just never were good enough to achieve a strong grade because I don’t have the artistic ability needed,” Gilkey said.
Students have a heavy workload and some students take an art class to have what they feel is a more relaxing class during their day, which is what junior Jake Smith did. “Initially I chose the class because I thought it would be relaxing, but I had to work very hard and it added a lot of stress to my day,” Smith said.
Sophomore Bailey Goldstein went in for lunch often to try and get her grade up in her ceramics class. “I worked so hard in ceramics but I barely pulled off a B,” Goldstein said.
Some art teachers would disagree with what students think of the art classes. Pierce tells her students in advance how each project will be graded. She also walks around during class to try to help her students achieve their best work. “I believe all students can benefit from art, and I teach the class skills that everyone can learn and obtain,” Pierce said.