I spent this weekend at a workshop on assessment as a means of informing learning. As a music teacher, I constantly thirst for more knowledge about authentic assessment. In particular, how can I assess all my 300+ students meaningfully and effectively? When I write “effectively”, I am not only thinking about it being informing myself, but also about those people who are not music teachers, who will be looking at my assessments and trying to understand them. As we know, they often see things with very different eyes.
In assessing such a range of knowledge and skills, I always struggle with the subjective nature of music. I can assess techniques and knowledge, but who am I to judge if a composition is “good” or not? How can I judge if a student is demonstrating creativity? Those are topics for another day (or a lifetime). For now, I will gladly start by developing assessments that track the progress my students make, while genuinely informing my teaching. In my classroom, that usually takes the form of composition or class discussion.
What does assessment look like in your classroom? What aspects of learning do you assess, and what do you do, if anything, with all that information?