Why did you give me this grade?

“Why did you give me this grade?” First of all, I don’t GIVE grades. You EARN your grades. There is a difference.  I do, however, want all of my students to get good grades. Heck, I want you ALL to get  5’s on your portfolio! But your grade your responsibility, not mine. You can keep a high average grade by putting work up at every critique and turning in every assignment. But if you miss one critique or not turn in an assignment, your good grade will go down 2 or even 3 letter grades.


Artwork will be graded in class on the day immediately following the critique day so that students will have an opportunity to make changes after receiving feedback. However, if the artwork is not up at the critique, it will not be graded. So, if a student is absent, they must make arrangements to have their art work brought to the critique. Projects must be at least 80%complete at the weekly critique in order to be critiqued or graded.  **Cutting class on a critique day will result in the work not being graded which give you 0/150 points thus killing any good grade. Read more on critiques and the consequences of missing them HERE.



Due to the huge amount of artwork needed to complete the portfolio and the equally huge amount of time needed to create high quality artwork, students must keep up with the pace of the class.  Falling behind by even one project could seriously affect the students chances of completing the portfolio. Therefore, late work is not accepted. More on how to survive the fast pace HERE.



In extenuating circumstances, up to 2 pieces per quarter may be “re-done” and turned in for a new grade. The re-do’s are must be up at a Critique along with the new work due for that week. They will be graded the day after they are critiqued, along with the new piece due for that week.



But how do you Grade art?

Many students and parents wonder, “HOW art can be graded? Isn’t it all good just because it’s creative expression?” Yet, that’s not the case, particularly not in AP STUDIO ART!  I grade using a rubric, which has 8 categories ranging from Craftsmanship (art term for neatness) to Design Quality (how well you used the elements & principles of design). Each category has an A, B, C, and D description. After each category has been given a grade, they’re averaged together to determine the grade for the piece. But before I can grade your work, YOU will grade it as objectively as you can, using the rubric below. After you complete the rubric, you’ll tack it on the wall underneath your artwork. Below is the rubric we will use for all Breadth Assignments: AP RubricBREADTH Below is the rubric we will use for all Concentration Assignments: AP RubricCONCENTRATION


If you think MY rubric is complicated, take a look at the rubric used by the “readers,” the folks at the College Board who’ll grade your portfolio. You’re portfolio is graded on a scale of 1-6, but you’re sent a score from 1-5. (I’ve no clue why)   Below I’ve placed a link to the rubric they’ll use to determine your score. It’s a very long PDF file so I’ve also included an excerept from the drawing portfolio rubric below the link. 2013 Scoring Guidelines f98ad25377248156f28ef3a0334673ce




Drawing Portfolio General information and a few provisos: • The scoring guidelines for the AP portfolios contains score points from 6 (excellent) through 5 (strong), 4 (good), 3 (moderate), 2 (weak), and 1 (poor). • Each score point is characterized by a variety of descriptors of work that would receive that score. • Because there are only six different points on the scale, each score point represents a band or range of accomplishment. • Some of the descriptors may seem to contradict each other because the range of possibilities for work at a given score point is so great. • The descriptors are examples; it isn’t expected that all the descriptors for a scale point will apply to any one particular portfolio. • The descriptors intentionally discuss general aspects of artwork at each score point; there is no preferred (or unacceptable) content or style. • The descriptors (taken as a whole) capture characteristics of work that merits each score. This is a living document — one that evolves over time. Though these are the scoring guidelines used in 2013, they are always open to subsequent revision. Drawing concepts and skills include, but are not limited to: • Light and shade • Rendering of form • Composition • Surface manipulation • The illusion of depth • Mark making Key Scoring Descriptors A. Understanding of Composition, Concept, and Execution B. Intention or Purpose C. Originality, Imagination, and Invention in Using the Elements and Principles of Design in Drawing Composition D. Decision Making, Experimentation, and Risk Taking E. Confident, Evocative Work that Engages the Viewer F. Technical Competence and Skill with Drawing Materials and Media G. Understanding the Use of Digital or Photographic Sources H. Appropriation and the Student “Voice” I. Overall Accomplishment and Quality In applying these descriptors, consider the content, style, mark making, and use of media in the work.

© 2013 The College Board. Visit the College Board on the Web: http://www.collegeboard.org.


Read more on how to get a good grade in Art HERE!

Looking for motivation? Check out this: Finding Motivation: a guide for Art students