Self-Portrait Assessments

In art we don’t take very many tests… however our students are assessed on their growth in many ways. I wanted to take the time to share the importance behind a big assessment we just finished up in art, our spring self portrait assessment! At the beginning of the year I asked each student at DAA to draw a portrait of themselves. The challenge is they are asked to do this without my help and they have just one class period to get it done. I also tell them that I am testing them to see what they know and see where their skills are at. Each beginning of the year self-portrait provides me with a good overview of students drawing abilities, struggles, and provides me with a unique visual of their personality! After the first assessment we spend a few weeks learning about the mathematical proportions of the face and how to accurately draw a portrait. We studied the work of other artists self portraits throughout history, looked at many different styles, and even got to watch the unveiling of Obama’s presidential portrait painted by african american and modern artist Kehinde Wiley whose artwork we were able to study first hand during our field study to the Detroit Institute of Arts!


Nearly 9 months after the first self portrait I ask students to do the exact same thing. However for this new portrait I share that once they are finished they will compare it side by side to their old one to see how they have grown! Students are always amazed and most times humored by their old self portraits. Once they have time to self-reflect students are eager to share their growth and talk proudly about how hard they worked to get there with their peers.


Throughout this assessment we focus on three very important habits of character... curiosity, creativity, and perseverance. Students show curiosity and creativity by representing themselves in a way that feels authentic to them, they can express themselves by drawing what they look like and adding details that make them unique. Students show perseverance by doing this all on their own especially during our spring self portrait they try to think back to all that they have learned this year to draw a new and improved image that represents them and where they are now!


Parents, students, and the community were invited to see each young artists growth and talent at our DAA Art’s Night this past June. It was truly a night to remember!