“Incorporating rating assessment into our teaching routine is a constant challenge, but the benefits make it worth the effort.”
This sentiment expressed by Sharon Burch, classroom music teacher and author of the Freddie the Frog series, highlights the need to provide specific skill feedback to young learners and their parents. Ms. Burch details here how she manages to find time to assess students during a typically hectic elementary general music program:
“As music teachers with limited class time, we tend to do most activities in large groups with little one-on-one interaction. My job entails traveling between five K-3 buildings and teaching 420 students twice a week for 25-minute periods. Informal assessments of the general group are fairly easy, but I like to assess the individual in a one-on-one situation.
“Using a video for the class, I individually assess students in October and April to check understanding of music concepts and learning growth. I record the assessment on an assessment spreadsheet for my records and on an assessment report sheet for each student. I then hold the assessment sheets until grade card time. The assessment sheets are printed on blue paper and designed to fit inside the report card. Classroom teachers insert the music assessment sheets inside the envelope and send them home. The feedback is tremendous! I quickly realized it was my greatest form of advocacy.”
Ms. Burch feels sharing the assessment with parents underscores the importance of music in the curriculum. Follow the links below to access free music assessment tools that she has developed, as well as to discover additional published assessment tools.
Whether you use a free assessment tool, develop your own assessment, or use one of the published versions, your ability to assess understanding by each learner in your classroom will make a difference. You may decide to reteach concepts, move at a quicker pace, or simply confirm your pacing is right on target for your classes. And, sharing information with parents will surely enhance the visibility of the good work you are doing in the classroom.