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We developed an assessment plan to reveal the effects of the experimental teaching and learning process. We developed new test items – even a new test – for covering major fields of visual skills development or, when necessary, adapted and added new items to existing assessment tools. 

In the pre-test, we use the following assessment tools to describe visual skills and abilities of students at the start of the developmental program:

  • Online interactive tests  developed for eDIA, the electronic diagnostic assessment system by the Research Group on Teaching Theory, Institute of Education, University of Szeged (About the system, cf. brochure on eDIA  in English, paper on technology based assessment of creativity by Pásztor, Molnár and Csapó, 2015)
  • Spatial perception
  • Colour perception and interpretation, visual communication
  • Combinative and divergent thinking

Testing time: 90 minutes, realised in two 45-minute sessions. Online, interactive tests with detailed feedback for teachers available through the system, detailed feedback with developmental suggestions will be provided after data analysis. (Test developers: Bernadette Babály, Attila Pásztor, Tünde Simon and Alisa Tóth).

  • Test for Creative Thinking – Drawing Production (TCT-DP, Klaus Urban és Hans Jellen, cf. description of the test by Urban and Jellen, 2004 )

Testing time: 20 minutes. Drawing task of paper. Feedback for teachers will be sent after coding and analysis.

  •  Psychological lmmune Competence Inventory (PICI) Questionnaire developed for measuring the protective personality traits (psychological antibodies by Attila Oláh and adapted by Alice Bredács.

Testing time: 20 minutes. Questionnaire was made available on paper and online. Teachers received feedback on the status of their students in Positive Thinking, Sense of Control, Sense of Coherence, Creative Self-concept, sense of self-growth, challenge orientation, Social Monitoring Capacity, problem-solving Capacity, Self- efficacy, Social Mobilizing Capacity, Social Creating Capacity, Synchronicity, Goal Orientation, lmpulse Control, Emotional Control, lrritability Control). Data for teachers with explanation of the PICI scales was provided on the results of the pre- and post-test.

In previous studies, Alice Bredács proved the effects of arts education on psychological immune competence for adolescents – our study will provide data on the beneficial effects of the arts for ages 11-17. Control groups for all age groups that matched the experimental groups in social background, educational quality (good level of art education) and school infrastructure also took the tests.  Data collected on national samples with the same tests and ages also supported the analysis of visual skills development. A limitation of our study is the uneven number of students in age groups that makes generalisations about skills development possible for ages 11-18 (Grades 5-12) only. However, the major focus, the assessment of the usability of curricular modules was realised.

Data of the pre-tests was analysed and publications prepared about the visual language of children and adolescents. (See the Papers and book chapters subpage of theis web site for full text publications). One of the research objectives of this project is to revise “developmental stages” of child and youth art, much criticised but still included in Hungarian pre- and in-service art education programs. We postulate that instead of a general descriptions of “stages” – an interpretation that suggests linear development – skills develop differently in various visual fields. We described spatial abilities, colour perception and interpretation, creativity and combinative / divergent thinking separately but also in relation to each-other and thus mapped the minimal and optimal visual language level of age groups.

Piloting teachers have receive detailed feedback about test results. Discussion of results was carried out in person, through mentoring talks in module groups and through correspondence, and suggestions for development of visual skill components was be provided during training workshops for project participants.

New assessment methods were also be introduced. Five members of this research group participated in the standardisation of the Visual Rubrics for Production and Reception developed by Talita Groenendijk and Folkert Haanstra. As tools for developmental assessment, the Rubrics support self-assessment by students and also improve evaluation practices of teachers.

We have also employed portfolio assessment of project work ‒ collection of plans, research notes, versions and the final work of a project task.  Criteria for the jury assessing portfolios were adapted from the assessment systems of our two largest student competitions of art and design for primary and secondary schools. Members of the research group were involved in the development of both systems and take part in their juries. Ágnes Gaul-Ács, a doctoral candidate researching the detecting visual talent has provided a statistical analysis of the validity and reliability of these sets of criteria, based on jury member scores of the last three decades.

Our piloting teachers, as research partners, have reflected on both qualitative assessment systems and help us improve them for national dissemination.