Those of us who make an effort to assess student thinking typically use one of two tools: Studio Habits of Mind or Artistic Behaviors. SHoM and AB have many similarities but also some key differences. If you’re not really sure what these are then you’re in luck, because I’m going to explain. I’ll start with SHoM, because they came first.
Studio Habits of Mind were developed by Project Zero, part of Harvard’s Graduate School of Education. The Habits represent 8 ways of thinking, identified through classroom research. In Project Zero’s research associate Lois Hetland’s words “the Eight Studio Habits of Mind were developed to represent the kind of mind that serious arts instruction is trying to make.’
Artistic Behaviors, on the other hand, were not developed at Harvard. They were developed at Apex High School because we wanted a way to assess all the learning our students were doing as they worked independently to create. I looked at SHoM and liked the list, but I wanted something more specific to what high school students were being asked to learn and do. I wrote the list of Artistic Behaviors to capture that, then our department team collaborated to finalize the our rubric.
Originally AB were a reflection tool for students but they’ve evolved into much more. They’ve expanded from the original list of eight behaviors used mostly for assessment into the cornerstone of how I teach and plan. Artistic Behaviors like “Artists Reference Culture” and “Artists Respond To Current Events” are some I’m planning to address with my Art Two class in the next semester. Instead of using those behaviors to only assess work I’m using them to drive planning and instruction.
Some other AB-based units from Apex: Artists Steal , Artists Ask Essential Questions, Artists Understand Space, Artists Communicate and Artists Solve Problems.
So, to summarize:
SHoM and AB are similar in that they are both related to holistic art assessment and teaching thinking. However, SHoM are a finite list of eight categories of learning and AB are the ever-expanding description of what artists do that is central to the Apex Model. Also, while both frameworks are process focused, AB were written with TAB specifically in mind.
I'm an high school art teacher who's really interested in student choice and creating opportunities for self expression. I'm also a writer for The Art of Education and co-author of The Open Art Room.