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Abstract

In the current testing environment, high school reading teachers may often rely on a multiple-choice assessment as the best practice. This study suggests that a visual arts assessment of reading comprehension can rigorously measure critical thinking. This action research study follows 21 high school juniors through the selection, creation, and presentation of visual arts projects specifically crafted to record and assess the skills of analysis and synthesis of information in literature. Anecdotal data was videotaped and manually documented by the researcher, and the research concluded with a focus group discussion to solicit students' feedback on the process. Project rubric criteria and students' explanations of their decision-making process proved essential to maintaining rigorous intellectual involvement. Educators delivering differentiated instruction could benefit from this alternative way of assessing comprehension skills and soliciting higher level thinking. Demonstrating comprehension through art, students experience increased engagement with the subject matter and develop essential cognitive skills.