Fine arts grade are a fine line


Hunter Miller

In the realm of fine arts, grades are a tough call for teachers due to the nature of the curriculum.

Will Anderson, Staff Reporter

The spotlight comes on for the actor. The actor breathes in, anticipating her first line. The first line is said, each line after said perfectly.

The last line is said, the curtain is closed, the actor comes out and gives a bow as roses are thrown to the stage.

When off stage, students stress about grades, but grades in performance-based classes are a different thing. These classes can be difficult to sum up in a grade because they are based on the performance of a piece, not just a right or wrong answer.

“It can be very subjective when you grade art,” technical theatre director John Davenport said.

Acting classes grades are based off a student’s performance and the student’s peers critiquing that performance. Grading is project-based, but there are checkpoints along the way to make sure the actor is on track.

“The students have opportunities to give their feedback on their own work and the work of others to enhance their knowledge,” theatre director Jessica Brewster said. “It’s very collaborative. The goal is to stay true to the intention if what the project is or what the body of work entails.”

In band and orchestra, grades are earned by practice tests. Practice tests are when the teacher assigns a set of measures to practice and perform the next day. These measures are usually on sections that students have trouble with so they must practice to perfect it.

“They have weekly assessments of material [over] these 16-32 measures,” band director Jeff Jahnke said. “You’re going to come in and play those, and sometimes they’re ABC grades and sometimes it’s pass/fail. So if a student needs more work on it, he goes back and practices more then replays the piece.”

For some students these assessments can get stressful and gets them behind in their work.

“It’s hard to keep your grade up in band because you have lots of assignments, and it’s easy to get behind,” freshman Samantha  Houston said.

In most regular class grades are based on right and wrong answers. However, in fine arts classes grades can depend on many different variables like tone or volume.

“Fine arts grades are more based on how you work and your participation vs. regular grades,” senior Jayna Donaghey said.