Grades were just entered this weekend and for most students their only mark is in "effort."*
Effort is quantified by observation of how the student uses his/her class time. Are they talking to friends frequently, getting up and wandering around, or are they diving into the challenge of the assignment? Students usually get excited at the beginning of the project and then settle in to the real work of getting it planned and done.
"Effort" may seem nebulous, but really it isn't as in art class there is so much tangible evidence of work effort. Remember when you were a kid and your parents would say "quit wrestling before someone gets hurt," and then one of you got hurt? I used to be amazed that the adults somehow knew it was going to happen. Now we know the secret of watching and predictability.
Just standing and observing the students at work tells almost all of the effort story.
What if a child says "I'm not good at art"? After all my years of teaching I am confident that every child can learn art and definitely improve his/her skills. Art is one of the most learn-able, concrete skills in the K-5 curriculum. I like to use the analogy of "personal best."
EVERYONE improves at their own rate, as long as they participate and TRY.
That is why "effort" is so important in art and everywhere else in life.
*Some of the other visual art grade level requirement were recently shared with us K-5 art teachers. This year's curriculum certainly touches and will touch on all those understandings, but hasn't been organized to teach them directly.