Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Genius Hour and Standards-Based Grading in the Instrumental Music Classroom: Research

Genius Hour and Standards-Based Grading in the Instrumental Music Classroom: Research

I am currently working on a Genius Hour Project involving standards-based grading in the instrumental music classroom.  My goal is to create an effective tool that can be used for self-assessment.  The tool is to be tangible and practical in the allotted time for the class.  It is my hope that students will strengthen their understanding of what they do in the classroom (perform/rehearse) with what they are being assessed on in a standards-based environment.  This blog post will give an overview of three research sources I have used in order to come to develop a successful self-assessment tool.   The first will outline the content used to create/perform understanding of a given concept.  The second will discuss successful assessment tools used in the instrumental music setting.  The final source will tie in standards-based assessment with the first two sources.  Onward we go!

The first source I will be using in my research is the Tradition of Excellence Comprehensive Method Book 2 Conductors Score.  This will directly correlate with the exercises and the pieces that the students will perform in order to learn the concepts.  The book also offers a scope and sequence that will work as a guide to be sure all necessary concepts are self-assessed in correlation with the appropriate skill level of the students.  This source will offer proficiency of standards addressed in class (not proficiency of attributes).

The proficiency of standards will offer 2 main categories with which the students will self-assess each week.  The first will correlate directly with the Musicianship Standards.  Students will identify which standards are being addressed in a given activity.  The second will focus on the Objectives for Student Learning.  These are the concepts with which the students will label themselves in accordance with a 1 - 4 at what level of proficiency they are at.  Based on the area of study (and week), other concepts may be thrown into the assessment for additional reflection.

Reference: Tradition of Excellence by Bruce Pearson and Ryan Nowlin

The second source I will be using comes from Frederick Burrack from Kansas State.  He has written in-depth about band programs and student portfolios.  Within the student portfolio, self-assessment is a major component.  While most of the information in the source discusses the portfolio is "analogue" form, it is my desire to innovate wit this resource to bring the concepts and ideas to 21st Century Learning.

The assessment tool I am developing will use components and formats that Burrack mentions.  From the portfolio piece I plan on adapting his concepts of the assessment and put them into a format that will be both tangible and practical in my band classroom setting.  This includes replacing the paper form of assessment with the Google Form medium.  Reading through the research is helping me to make sure students are held accountable for their musical learning goals.

There are four main areas which are addressed in the research.  Once again as in the the previous source (Tradition of Excellence), this source will address the proficiency of standards versus the proficiency of the attributes.  The first area is the assigning of a specific scale, etude and section from piece being assessed.  The second area is where the student will record the assigned piece (as many times as they would like to get their best recording).  The third area is where the student will asses their performance.  The final area is where the student will submit the recording and assessment to the teacher in order to verify proficiency on a given learning standard.  All these concepts will correlate directly with the tool I am developing.  While perhaps not in the same format, similar activities will be present.

Reference: Frederic Burrack, Developing Students Portfolios in your Band Program

The third source of my research comes from a presenter at the First 2016: The Institute for Better Learning on June 16, 2016 in Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin.  The title of the session was called "Re-defining Accountability."  The presenter's name was Tom Schimmer.  He addressed the idea of assessment versus grading.  What does this look like and what does it mean in a school system?

Standards-based grading looked dividing up the learning into two areas, proficiency of attributes and proficiency of standards.  The idea of accountability related to the underlying concept that essential learning must be made mandatory.  Traditional grading lumped attributes and standards into one category.  The re-defining of accountability refers to empowering the students to know what the essential learning goals are and where they are at on the journey.  This is one of the main reasons why I have chosen to develop a self-assessment tool in my classroom.

Reference: First 2016: The Institute for Better LearningTom Schimmer

Bringing together the ideas of quality concepts and content, proven instrumental music assessment, and a definition of standards-based grading in my research has given me resources which will enable me to develop a tangible tool that is grounded in depth and innovation.


1 comment:

  1. I really like your use of self assessment and portfolios. When I think about the use of ePortfolios, I think the growth of your students will be very visible - especially if a sample is taken in the fall and compared to another sample in the spring. Sometimes those incremental steps are not as visible to the student - but over time, having evidence of performance certainly can be.

    Will you talk with your students at all about mindset and/or neuroplasticity? I think many people can have fixed mindsets around playing an instrument - just as people say - I am not an "Art Person" or a "Math Person", I have heard adults say "I am musically challenged". Here is a sample of something I have used when talking to students about mindsets and where effort really pays off (and growth is quite visible). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ySJqt5ldPP8& and might be helpful for you as well.

    PS Kirsten is working on a school wide ePortfolio for the MS - Your kids would have a platform to post and reflect on their artifacts. You might consider touching base with her.