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Critiques, Credits and Credibility: Assessment Practices in Higher Education Studio Art Courses


Critiques, Credits and Credibility: Assessment Practices in Higher Education Studio Art Courses

Fitch, Sebastien (2016) Critiques, Credits and Credibility: Assessment Practices in Higher Education Studio Art Courses. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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The purpose of this dissertation is to add to the understanding of the pedagogy of post-secondary studio art education – presently a mostly un-theorized teaching tradition – by examining how instructors go about the problematic exercise of assessing their students. Focussing on group critiques held during undergraduate studio classes, this research takes the form of an interpretive multiple case study involving a total of fifteen studio art instructors from six public North American post-secondary institutions.
This research is of pedagogical value for both current and future instructors in terms of the discussions it opens regarding assessment practices in studio instruction, as well as the variety of approaches to studio critiques that are described within. More importantly, however, what this dissertation demonstrates is that the state of art assessment is just as vague, confusing and generally chaotic as anecdotal evidence and general public perception would indicate. In particular, the studio critique is singled out as distinctly problematic, and this despite its signature pedagogical status according to both instructors as well as the field literature. The effectiveness of the critique is undermined by a number of assumptions, most importantly that of the efficacy of its place in the process of student assessment. The data discussed within these pages demonstrates that not only is the critique a singularly ineffective venue for assessment, but this very approach to the critique neglects the key objective of studio instruction – and instruction in general – namely student learning.
It is precisely from the point of view of student learning that this dissertation advances the notion of the MetaCritique; essentially, an approach to the critique that shifts the focus from assessment to that of self-reflective learning, and from the students’ artwork to the student themselves. By doing so, learning objectives which are otherwise questionably attributed to the process of critiques as they are currently conducted are more concretely and effectively addressed, as well as being made explicit to students.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Fine Arts > Art Education
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Fitch, Sebastien
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Ph. D.
Program:Art Education
Date:March 2016
Thesis Supervisor(s):Blair, Dr. Lorrie
ID Code:981013
Deposited On:16 Jun 2016 15:00
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:52
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