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How the AP Studio Art Portfolio Is Scored

By Lauren Sleat
Maryland Institute College of Art
Baltimore, Maryland

AP Exam readers who evaluate students' work take their work very seriously, honoring the work of each student who has submitted a portfolio. Every reader is either an experienced AP Studio Art teacher or a college foundations instructor. Before readers begin scoring, an intensive standard-setting session is held to develop a common understanding of the scoring guidelines. Scoring begins only after the chief reader is confident that readers will consistently apply the scoring guidelines with a high degree of accuracy.

What are readers looking for?

Readers are trained to objectively evaluate each work of art, portfolio section, and written statement (for the Sustained Investigation section) to see how the work aligns with the scoring guidelines. Readers compare the work with the language in each descriptor at each achievement level of the rubric. Making sure you and your students understand the portfolio requirements and scoring guidelines improves students' success with their portfolios. Go to AP Central® to review student samples with AP reader rationales for scores. By doing this, you can learn more about how the scoring guidelines are applied to students' work.

How do readers score the portfolios?

Readers use a scoring rubric that is based on a 1-to-6 scale, 1 being the lowest and 6 being the highest possible score. The 1-to-6 score is the raw score for the AP reading. After the reading, the statisticians work the raw score into the 1-to-5 grades sent to students and schools.

How many readers score each portfolio?

The Selected Works (Quality) section of the portfolio is scored by a minimum of three readers; Sustained Investigation (Concentration) and Range of Approaches (Breadth) are each scored by at least two readers. Readers score independently and do not see scores others have given. If there is a wide divergence in the scores assigned by readers to the same section, the section is forwarded to AP Exam leaders for review and resolution of the scores.

Portfolio section scores are compiled to create the total portfolio score. When the reading is completed, the chief reader joins assessment specialists from the College Board and the Educational Testing Service in a detailed debriefing to determine the composite scores for each of the AP scores of 1 through 6. For specific details from the chief reader about this years scoring process, please see Student Performance Q&A on the Exam Information page.

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