A modal measure of art critical development
The study addressed the problem of the provision of objective measures for the arts, in order to provide information for national testing in art education. This involved the revision and testing of a developmental matrix and measure of art critical abilities, that had been devised in previous studies (Hickey, 1975; Stuart, 1989). The matrix was revised to project three operational levels of development for critical abilities, that were derived from projecting key concepts through four phases of a critical or cognitive strategy. Key concepts were projected for three art functions and contextual enquiry. The modal measure was revised to provide criteria for projecting and assessing three operational levels of development for each ability. A descriptive multi-disciplinary research strategy was used to test the objectivity of the projected matrix and measure. The testing was undertaken with thirty-one case studies derived fromjunior, middle and upper schools. The data was collected from children aged seven to eighteen years of age with three operational measuring instruments to test operational levels, reasoning and vocabulary. The objectivity of the matrix was indicated by a correspondence between Piagetian operational levels and modal reasoning for three levels of development. The objectivity of 2 the modal measure was indicated by a triangulation of operational, modal and vocabulary scores. The findings confirmed the previous testing in that the modal measure of the operational level of explanations provided an objective measure of art critical development. However, differences in the level of vocabulary and reasoning could account for a partial correspondence with concrete operational levels of development. The findings contribute to knowledge about the development of inter-disciplinary measures of the cognitive style of strategy evaluation. The information would be relevant for co-ordinating national testing in different subject areas, and for art education in particular.