ART IN SOCIAL STUDIES ASSESSMENTS: An Untapped Resource for Social Justice Education

By Zwirn, Susan; Libresco, Andrea | Art Education, September 2010 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

ART IN SOCIAL STUDIES ASSESSMENTS: An Untapped Resource for Social Justice Education


Zwirn, Susan, Libresco, Andrea, Art Education


A relatively new trend in assessment in American history education offers interesting oppor timicies to inject the arts into mainstream education in ways that could provide a catalyst for engagement with social justice issues.

A relatively new trend in assessment in American history education offers interesting opportunities to inject the arts into mainstream education in ways that could provide a catalyst for engagement with social justice issues. Document-based questions [DBQs] on statewide social studies assessments afford art and social studies teachers interested in social justice issues such opportunities. Long a staple of Advanced Placement exams, DBQs are turning up on statewide elementary, middle, and high school social studies assessments and have become an integral part of social studies curricula and tests in NewYorkThese types of questions represent an authentic assessment, in that students read and analyze passages and visual images and then synthesize the information into a coherent essay A pioneer in creating DBQs, New York state suggests that documents should include graphs, charts, maps, cartoons, photographs, artwork, eyewitness accounts, and historical passages and requires that its social studies assessment contain at least 2-3 visual documents per DBQ (NYS Social Studies).The input of art teachers in the creation and analysis of these exams (which are not constructed by a corporation but by New York teachers) is desirable if the assessments areto realize their potential for fostering social justice curriculum and instruction.

Why should art teachers committed to social justice issues care about social studies assessment? The arts are now, and historically, marginalized in American public education. In order to graduate from high school in Germany students need 7-9 credits of art; in Japan, they need 5; in American schools, 0-2 suffice (Fowler 1 996).The central role of psychology in educational theory and its strong emphasis on language help account for this de-emphasis of art in American education (Crain, l992;Cremin, 1 976; Kliebard, 1995). Additionally, freedom of expression, available to American artists, may engender a view that educating for social justice is an endeavor that belongs to the history teacher. Teaming with colleagues to select art images for state assessments provides an avenue to place the arts on an equal platform with text in children's hearts arid minds as they engage in interpreting American culture and history.

Art as a Catalyse for Crirical Thinking

Art teachers' engagement with the selection of images for social studies assessment is also important because the arts promote alternate perspectives on historical events. By stimulating emotional connections to the past, art works motivate young people to relate past issues to those in their own lives and potentially make connections to events in the present. Issues of power, the legacies of slavery and Japanese internment, questions of legal justice, and justifications for war are some of the complex issues in American history that have inspired artists to create provocative works. Adding imagesto the teaching of history is an acknowledgment of the increasingly visual world of our students. In our visually oriented culture, where students' knowledge of the contemporary world, and even of history, is as likely to emanate from television and film it is from reading, it is critical that educators assist students' as analysis of images. Art has the power to ". . . reframe public debate about the past and help transform popular memories and histories" (Desai, Hamlin, & Mattson, 20 1 0, p. 11).

Art that exemplifies the complex contradictions of history can be found in a series of 80 paintings created by Ben Sakoguchi (2009) called Postcards from Camp (1 999-200 1). Studying family photos to substantiate his childhood recollections of his time in a Japanese internment camp in Rohwer, Arkansas, Sakoguchi authenticated his recollections by examining military, civilian, and internee photographs.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

ART IN SOCIAL STUDIES ASSESSMENTS: An Untapped Resource for Social Justice Education
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.