MC ILLUMINATIONS by Marlene Rellinger Chapin

NCAS Creating Presenting Responding  Connecting  Blog Illuminations Liturgical Murals

The Open Curriculum: A Guide to Evaluating Student Portfolios

     The Open Curriculum: A Guide to Evaluating Student Portfolios began twenty years ago as a book about the student's viewpoint and interpretation of their own artwork. Over time, it encompassed my changing viewpoint as a teacher on curriculum.  Rather than evaluating students on how well they demonstrated curricular outcomes, I learned how to evaluate curriculum through student outcomes that were choice-based.  The results were authentic and original works of art.  I felt evaluation was accurate for the first time over my thirty year career.  This edited version is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.


From Dr. Howard Gardner, Hobbs Research Professor of Cognition and Education- "In all events, thankyou for your many years of productive work in education, and for sharing your learnings with the reading public."

From Dr. Branton Shearer, "... so much deep knowledge and wisdom. Required Reading!"





     The side menu titled Creating compares two pieces from seven students showing development in their choice-based artwork. 

     Presenting involves the selection of three related pieces that identifies and critiques a student's strengths.  Chronological works from four students are represented with supportive feedback. 

     Responding is student planning that follows a line of inquiry, communicating their intent.  An AP Studio Art portfolio is shown with comments on the development of the student's idea. 

     Connecting helps students graft their work into previous art genres and movements.  Three students are represented along with suggested artists to research as their work progresses.  Knowing what came beforehand gives them a sense of how their work is similar and different from other artists. 

     I invite you to send me via email any student work you are puzzling over! I will return a critique about the work, the student's strengths and future directions. Aesthetics and History of Art were my highest scores on the National Board Exams...we all have gifts to offer our students, keep doing what you do best!








  Born and raised in Ottoville, Ohio, I received a B.S. and M.A. in Art Education, respectively, at Bowling Green and Kent State Universities, Ohio.  As a twice Nationally Board Certified Teacher in art education, my thirty year career spanned rural, suburban and city school districts in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Wisconsin. 

     PRISM, the Pittsburgh Research-Based Instructional Supervisory Model, was instrumental in forming my theory, practice and subsequent book on art education.  In addition, Chagrin Falls Exempted Village Schools, OH, and Janesville School District, WI, gave me opportunity to teach all grade levels including AP Studio Art and AP History of Art.

     My husband Dale and I are retired at Lake Oconee, Georgia, much closer to grandchildren Noah, Madeline, Luca and Alessia.laughing

Feel free to contact me at                                                                                                                         







     As a calligrapher, I became interested in making 'illuminations', scriptural texts painted with metallic gold inks. These verses when written upon our hearts reflect God's light in the world. The commissioned work that followed led me to iconographic images, from early Christian art, as a reclamation of my own faith in Christ.

     My pastels are continuous narratives of the life of Christ, his teachings and ministry. These images are helpful when teaching the liturgical calendar of events for children. Even toddlers can find something they recognize in the drawings and connect the stories with their personal experience.

Prints of my calligraphy and pastels can be viewed and purchased at: