Before the school year begins, it is important to know how frequently you will do formal assessments for a grade, what materials they will cover and the actual dates the assessments will be done.
Here is more math to consider. How many grades do you want per grading period? If the grading period is a 9-week period, a bi-weekly testing will result in 4 grades. Weekly assessments would provide 8 grades. There can be combinations of bi-weekly playing tests and scheduled writing tests and worksheets.
Regardless, it is imperative to know exactly what will be tested and when before the school year begins. Using the Backwards Assessment Model can be helpful. This is a listing of skills that every student will possess at the end of the school year. Anything important enough to be included in the Backwards Assessment Model must be assessed regularly throughout the school year.
In a beginning guitar class, the playing assessments may be only 4 measures long and mostly quarter notes and half notes.
Consider This Assessment Model
There was a time when my classroom assessments where given bi-weekly and always on Fridays. After a while, the absences on those testing days grew and grew. The absences eventually grew to 50%. That is when I decided this was not working. Because of the class size and time it took to test each student, I was also aware I was losing one teaching day out of every 10.
As a solution, I divided the class evenly into 5 days and assigned each student a day of the week in which s/he would have a test.
Now, on testing week, I test approximately 6 students each day throughout the week. It takes about 10 minutes and there is still time in each day for teaching and rehearsing.
What are students doing that are being not testing?
When giving assessments, I have students place a sponge under their strings to minimize the sound of playing. I go to a dollar store and purchase kitchen type sponges that are soft enough to use to wash dishes. I cut them so that the each sponge is _ of an inch thick and _ of an inch wide and 4 inches long. The sponge is placed under the strings and right next to the bridge. Students can practice while the assessments take place without too much disturbance.
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