Gilbert Clark’s (1928-2018) Test

Distinguished American art educator Gilbert Clark developed the Clark’s Drawing Abilities Test (CDAT). Beginning in the late 1980s, he offered it as one of several tools to help identify students from diverse backgrounds and from economic disadvantage gifted in visual art, needing advanced educational opportunities for developing their art talent. It has been cited as an instrument for identifying talented art students for specialized art programs (Haroutounian, 1995, 2014; Renzulli & Reis, 2004), for discovering the art learning needs of the general population (Clark, 1993), and for conducting research related to drawing ability (Chan & Chan, 2007; Stewart, 1999).

In the CDAT Manual, Clark (2006) reminded users that the test is experimental and asked users to return response booklets to him for scoring in order to expand the scope of collected data. For many years Clark received and saw to the scoring of stacks of CDAT responses shipped from near and far.

Interest in the CDAT persists. This site is intended to help make the test as widely available, understandable, and reliable an instrument as possible. With Gilbert Clark’s passing and the dissolution of his ARTS Publishing Co., Inc., his wife and colleague, Enid Zimmerman, also an eminent art educator (Sabol & Manifold, 2009), has welcomed this effort to maintain the CDAT.

This site provides:

  • Summary of the research and of the development of the test.
  • Free use of test protocol by qualified test administrators.
  • In progress: CDAT assessment services accompanied by reported reliability statistics and guides to interpreting validity.

Those interested in using the CDAT to screen or identify students ready for advanced instruction in visual art are invited to explore the resources available on this website. All educators tasked with screening and identifying students for selective visual art talent development programs should proceed with as much knowledge and ethical consideration as possible.

Summarized and compiled here is publicly available information about the test, found in the many peer-reviewed articles Clark and his colleagues published about it. This includes the actual test prompts and descriptions of scoring systems as well as the historical precedents considered in the test development and the justification for the four drawing prompts that makeup the test.

Those interested in adapting this information to their own educational or research purposes are welcome to do so judiciously.