Arts Education Evaluation

I’ve been teaching Musical Theatre Summer Camp for the past 2 weeks. My students have become singing, dancing, acting superstars. I’m actually very excited for our show on Friday!

They’ve learned a dozen songs. Over half of those songs have dances. Each camper has a monologue and some dialogue in our show. They’ve studied Shakespeare, Porter, Fosse, Bernstein and Elvis. They’ve played improv games. They’ve learned ballet vocabulary.

But what is more important to me than the technical skills are the life skills they are learning. Theatre teaches presentation skills and confidence. In just a few weeks, I’ve watched a quiet, shy little girl find her voice- as a singer and as a person. Improv games teach creative thinking and problem solving. Rehearsing a show requires collaboration, teamwork and patience. Students must listen and take direction. All of these things are skills that will serve them as students, and also later in life, as employees and community members.

The problem comes in how to evaluate this growth. As a development officer, I often write the above paragraph. But how do we quantify it? Evaluate it? Report on it? I would love to hear from some educators, in the arts and in the classroom, on various methods to do just that. I’m currently working with our Education Coordinator to create a cohesive, consistent education process, from intake to exit. I would love for you to share your survey questions, rubrics, lesson plans, etc.