National Writing Project

Drawing Art into the Discussion of Writing Assessment

By: Tom Meyer
Publication: English Journal
Date: September 2013

Summary: This article, by Hudson Valley Writing Project Director, Tom Meyer, advocates that art is a way of understanding, that students ought to be considered active participants in assessment, and describes the use of drawing and writing to support metacognition.


There are many reasons to redraw the lines about effectiveness and to incorporate art into the assessment process—art supports thinking, writing, and, potentially, learning for everyone involved. Asking students to draw, write, and talk about their experience learning acknowledges students as stakeholders in education who have a deep-seated knowledge and interest in the conditions of school and aspirations for their own educational progress. Students can easily inform us about their experience and hopes of learning. Too often, as Burton suggests, 'We have treated young people as the objects of education [and assessment] rather than as participants in a shared enterprise, involving exchanges between young and old, experienced and inexperienced.'

The assessment process described here is not time-consuming and may provide secondary English teachers with important perspectives on their students' conceptions of writing and how they might develop over the course of instruction. It is easy to ask new students to draw and write about their drawings during the first week of school and to repeat the process later in the year. By studying this information we can begin to establish what our new students know about writing; we can also learn about what they are able to produce in short, one-draft sittings where they use drawing as a prewriting tool to organize their thinking."

About the Author
TOM MEYER, is an associate professor of secondary education at the State University of New York at New Paltz and director of the Hudson Valley Writing Project. Email him at

Copyright ©2013 by the National Council of Teachers of English. Reprinted with Permission.
Meyer, Tom. "Drawing Art into the Discussion of Writing Assessment" English Journal v103.1 (2013): 81–87

Download the Article

PDF Download "Drawing Art into the Discussion of Writing Assessment"

Related Resource Topics

© 2022 National Writing Project