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Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the University Council for Educational Administration


One dominant metaphor in the standards-based movement to "professionalize" teaching is that of art and artist. The images of "performance" and "portfolio" are constantly in use, and since these metaphors can lead to interesting insights, pushing them to their logical conclusions is the purpose of this paper. It draws on the extensive literature in art criticism and asks if a portfolio evaluation is an oxymoron. Portfolios have been suggested as desirable evaluation tools because they are open-ended and allow for individual interpretation and reflection. Evaluation, however, requires a common structure and externally imposed, standardized value judgments--conditions that are difficult to create. The paper describes the ongoing press for professionalism in education and the emergence during the 1980s of a literature that portrayed teaching as art or craft. The text parallels art, craft, and professionalism, placing side by side the work of teaching and the work of art. The national professional standards movement, with a focus on school leadership, is likewise detailed.

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