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Assessment: CRITIQUE

The Critique: Powerful Learning Tool

The critique is an essential and enduring art and design signature pedagogy and assessment. The pervasive crit, occurring in a myriad of forms, has been recognized as a powerful authentic learning tool. It has also been criticized as a subjective and stressful format for arts learning and assessment, and it is highly prone to bias. Critique is a space of powerful learning that develops students' ability to evaluate their work and the work of others - leading to higher levels of achievement and preparing them well for lifelong learning and success in their chosen fields.

Unlike many other theories of learning and assessment, comparatively little educational research or literature exists on the critique. In a time when many teaching strategies are being reconsidered and redesigned for increasing student diversity, the critique is a potentially rich yet contensted area to reconsider with possible transfer value to other disciplines.

Although the concept of critique may initially seem foreign to Liberal Arts faculty, it shares many of the same features that LAS faculty use for input and assessment. The visual nature of studio work makes the public nature of critique much easier, and in Liberal Studies classes the evaluation of student work is usually in written form taking place privately without the student present. However there are shared characteristics—both are conducted in language, oftentimes faculty share these results in one-on-one conferences, faculty comment on early drafts as well as final drafts, students present their work to the class, students present their paper proposals to the class for comment, students dialogue about work with faculty and  tutors, peer reviews of papers, panel presentations, etc. “Given that instructor feedback has been statistically identified as one of the most significant factors in learning (Hattie and Timperley 2007), any improvements that we can make in this area will pay rich dividends.”

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Articles about Critique

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Souza, A. de. (2018). How art can be thought a handbook for change. Duke University Press. 

What terms do we use to describe and evaluate art, and how do we judge if art is good, and if it is for the social good? In How Art Can Be Thought Allan deSouza investigates such questions and the popular terminology through which art is discussed, valued, and taught. Adapting art viewing to contemporary demands within a rapidly changing world, deSouza outlines how art functions as politicized culture within a global industry. In addition to offering new pedagogical strategies for MFA programs and the training of artists, he provides an extensive analytical glossary of some of the most common terms used to discuss art while focusing on their current and changing usage. He also shows how these terms may be crafted to new artistic and social practices, particularly in what it means to decolonize the places of display and learning. DeSouza's work will be invaluable to the casual gallery visitor and the arts professional alike, to all those who regularly look at, think about, and make art—especially art students and faculty, artists, art critics, and curators.

Yoon Soo Lee Functional Criticism: How to have Productive Critiques in the Creative Classroom. 

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Beloved Community Guidelines 

Latour, Bruno. “Why Has Critique Run out of Steam? From Matters of Fact to Matters of Concern.” Critical Inquiry, vol. 30, no. 2, The University of Chicago Press, 2004, pp. 225–48, Available on jstor through Otis College Millard Sheets Library.

E-flux Conversations. Sreshta Rit Premnath: Critique as Unlearning 

Judith Leeman, Observations on forms and pattern of critique 2004 


Books in the Library About Critique


On Reconstructing Critique

Antiracist Classroom - Student-led organization at the Art Center College of Design.

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