Grading Sketchbooks

It is that time of the nine weeks. Sketchbooks are due. I both dread and look forward to this day. I look forward to seeing some really wonderful art work. I dread seeing some really badly scribbled drawings that took all of five seconds to complete.

You think I am kidding? I am not. I have watched some of my students scribble a drawing out in the hallway between classes and then turn it in expecting to get a good grade on it.

Grading sketchbooks can be time consuming and difficult. It is so subjective. I had to have some way to show my students what I was looking for in a sketch. So I spell it out for them when I give them the sketchbook list. I tell them how many points each sketch counts and how the points are broken down by value, effort, following directions, etc. If you want to download a PDF file of my sketchbook grading sheet click here. You are welcome to use this system for your grading.

I make copies of this sheet and cut them in half. Each student gets a half sheet and places it inside their sketchbook with their name and class period at the top of the page. If the sketchbook is turned in late the student must put the appropriate deduction at the top of the paper. For example: if a sketchbook is 1 day late, the penalty is 10 points off.

Here is how I break it down:

I require 5 sketches each nine weeks. Each sketch is worth 20 points for a total possible of 100 points. If I see work that exceeds my expectations I will give extra points.

Each sketch is graded as follows:

6 points possible for effort.
4 points possible for shading with at least 4 values.
4 points possible for following directions.
4 points possible for using the whole page.
2 points possible for paying attention to detail in the drawing.

As you can tell, I am not grading on talent. I have many students that would not pass if I graded any other way. I try to give my students a chance to succeed due to effort. The sketchbook counts as a major test grade. You would be amazed at the number of students that will not turn one in.

I would love to hear from other art teachers about this subject. Do you require a sketchbook? How do you grade their sketches? Do you give a list of required sketches or let them turn in what they want? Drop me a note and let’s start a conversation.

You might also like to read: Sketchbook Ideas For Children

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