Date of Award

January 2021

Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

First Advisor

Gill Hunter

Department Affiliation


Second Advisor

Todd McCardle

Department Affiliation

Teaching, Learning, and Educational Leadership


Formative assessment techniques are integral to high school visual arts teachers’ curricula, but are not clearly delineated by state and national organizations. Additionally, formative assessment in the high school visual arts classroom, defined in this study as formative critique, had not been examined as extensively, and most research investigated either high school core content practices or critique procedures in higher education settings. This qualitative phenomenological study sought to understand commonalities in the implementation of formative critique by high school visual arts teachers in central Kentucky. In this study, six veteran high school visual arts teachers were interviewed, using open-ended questions and a conversational approach. All interviews were conducted via video conference and digital materials used by participants were collected for analysis. This study found that despite a lack of pedagogical guidance on the use of formative critique from art education organizations, participants’ approaches were remarkably similar. Participants favored an individualized, conversational approach, and used questions to guide student work. Teachers in this study built relationships with their students, creating a supportive classroom atmosphere which lead to positive experiences in visual arts courses. According to participants, formative critique led to student growth and the production of more advanced artwork. Interviewees indicated that students were more willing to take risks and put forth effort when formative critique was used to build constructive environments. Participants indicated that formative critique is used for positive daily interactions with students and focuses on artistic processes. Additionally, summative assessment could be viewed in a formative context under certain circumstances. These findings could be instructive for policy implementation when designing visual arts standards for high school classrooms and could be used to guide administrators’ assessment of teacher practice. Finally, limitations and suggestions for further research are presented.