Say it isn’t so…

Sarah Butrymowicz headlines her latest piece with, “Can testing save arts education? Teachers hope exams will make arts matter as much as math and English.” In other words, despite widespread criticism of too much testing these days–think of all those opt-out parents–the arts are next in line, so no break there either for assessment-weary students.

However, she reminds readers, “… Coming up with a uniform and efficient way to measure a subject that’s all about creativity, is difficult,” which, then, begs the question, why even try?

The answer, says Frank Philip, an arts education assessment consultant, is that “It’s very important for arts to be seen as a subject that can and should be tested. It’s a parity thing.”

You see, says Butrymowicz, “Access to arts education remains unequal” and cites a 2012 federal survey to back that up. Apparently, while about 95% of the highest-income schools offer visual arts courses, that’s true of only about 80% of the lowest-income schools.

So testing is the solution?