The purpose of grades is to accurately reflect individual student achievement as related to course objectives.
The School Board recognizes that students learn best through a system of clear learning objectives, quality formative assessment, developmental feedback, and the opportunity to respond to that feedback.
Formative Assessment and Feedback
Formative assessment is the process of understanding one’s current performance compared to desired performance and making necessary adjustments to improve the next time. Formative assessment also involves learning from one’s mistakes. A key part of the formative assessment process is non-judgmental developmental feedback.
Communication of Learning Targets
In the Music department, learning targets are communicated through:
- Class syllabi
- Course learning objectives which can be found on the Music department web page
- Verbally stated lesson objectives
- Reiteration of learning targets in the context of concert/performance literature
Communication of Quality Performance
In the Music department, quality performance is communicated through:
- Department rubric form for individual assessment including the following learning target elements (quality levels corresponding to these elements are described in the rubric):
Notes Rhythm Technique Intonation Tone Expression
- Exemplary models of desired performance as provided by teacher modeling, peer modeling, clinician demonstration, concerts/recitals, videos and audio recordings
Feedback that may be used by students to improve subsequent performance including examples of individualized formative developmental feedback through:
- Feedback in connection with Music department rubric
- Verbal feedback in connection with immediate group and individual instruction and coaching during class and ISHP
- Non-verbal feedback in the form of conducting gestures specific to individual performers, facial expressions, hand signals, and moving off the podium to address individual students or ensemble sub-groups
- Peer coaching
Note: In a performance based music class, we do not have students evaluate their peers, pointing out deficiencies or errors. Rather, students point out the positive aspects of individual performances and offer helpful suggestions for growth and improvement.
Accurately self-assessing one’s work empowers the learner to understand learning goals, monitor progress, and understand the relationship between the effectiveness of one’s effort and one’s improvement. In the Music department, students are expected to accurately self-assess their own work by:
- Self assessing their performance using the Music department rubric
- Engaging in guided verbal self assessment - responding to director posed questions regarding what can be improved concerning a specific musical aspect of the performance at hand in relation to the six Music department learning target elements
Summative Assessment and Grading
The school board recognizes that formal grade reporting is necessary to provide summative information about student performance. Specifically, summative assessment and grade reporting inform students, parents, teaching staff and administration of how well a student meets learning objectives in a course and provides an official record of student performance.
Achievement of course learning objectives are the primary factor in determining grades. Furthermore, the most important skills and content knowledge are given the greatest weight. In the Music department, grades are determined by the levels of proficiency achieved in the following six learning target elements:
- Notes - accurate performance of notes
- Rhythm - accurate performance of notated rhythms
- Technique - competence in instrument mechanical aspects
- Intonation - precision of pitch
- Tone - appropriate tonal production (full, resonant sound)
- Expression - appropriate and accurate phrasing, dynamics and use of style elements
- Each quarter counts 45% and the final exam 10% toward the semester grade.
- The Music department rubric is used to assess individual student proficiency of the six learning target elements three times per quarter. Each element is graded on a four point scale.
A 4.0 – 3.7
A- 3.6 – 3.4
B+ 3.3 – 3.1
B 3.0 – 2.7
B- 2.6 – 2.4
C+ 2.3 – 2.1
C 2.0 – 1.7
C- 1.6 – 1.4
D+ 1.3 – 1.1
D 1.0 – 0.7
D- 0.6 – 0.4
F 0.3 – 0.0
- The semester exam assessment will use the same rubric and scale in assessing individual student performance from assigned repertoire.
Although extra credit is not offered in the music department, students are encouraged to enjoy and participate in extra-curricular music activities.
Redoing Summative Assessments
Under extenuating circumstances, summative assessments may be redone with teacher approval.
While it is important for students to work in groups, especially in the case of music ensemble performance, group grades are not given in the music department.
Behavior is a critical component to creating a respectful, supportive learning environment, and effort is a critical component in the learning process. In the Music department, behavior and effort are reported by the building-wide, quarterly behavior/effort marks. Arriving at these marks is based on the extent to which the student:
- Brings necessary equipment/resources to rehearsal
- Is focused on the lesson
- Is attentive in rehearsal
- Is engaged in instructional activity
- Participates in collaborative efforts
In addition, it should be noted that regular attendance is essential to music ensemble learning. Ensemble performance depends on collaboration and, therefore, regular attendance maximizes learning opportunities for all students involved.
Alignment to District Policies
This policy is aligned to District Grading Policy (345.1), District Homework Policy (345.3) and Accommodating Sincerely Held Religious Beliefs (323.1).
Behavior that disrupts the teaching and/or learning process for others will be addressed through the school district’s code of classroom conduct (443.7).