Bill Swick Bio PicBefore choosing a text book, think about the end results first. What skills should your first-year students have after one year of study? What skills should your second-year students have after two years of study? One easy way to look at this is by creating a backwards assessment model.

Backwards Assessment Models

A backwards assessment model defines the skills a student will have at the end of the current school year. The trick is to write this model BEFORE the current school year begins.

The following is a Backwards Assessment Model adopted by Clark County School District in Clark County (Las Vegas), NV. Of all of the tools the district has provided teachers with for the purpose of planning, I have found this approach most useful. However, it is not something that can be done and forgotten about. This should be kept someplace that is very visible to remind you to check to make sure the class is on track to complete the goals.

YEAR ONE – At the completion of year one, students will be able to:

1. perform guitar using correct sitting posture and appropriate hand positions
2. play a sixteen measure melody composed with eighth notes at a moderate tempo using alternate picking
3. play on all six strings in first position and know the note names
4. play melodies in the keys C, Am, G, Em, D, Bm, F and Dm
5. have a tonal range which extends to the A above the staff
6. play major, minor and dominant seventh chords in first position in the keys of C, G, D, A, Am, E, & Em
7. strum rhythms to include whole, half, quarter and eighth notes including simple syncopation
8. play power chords using roots on open sixth, fifth and fourth strings
9. read and understand symbols indicating up and down strokes
10. play left-hand arpeggios in a finger-picking style as an accompaniment
11. identify and use p-i-m-a
12. identify and name the parts of the guitar
13. identify basic musical symbols
14. tune the guitar by pitch matching

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