Grading in the band room can be difficult. It is not easy to quantify what a band director teaches.
Our instruction time is vastly different from our colleagues in the Math, English, and Science departments. In those classrooms, students will receive a lot of grades for daily assignments, pop quizzes, tests, homework assignments, etc.
With so many assignments, it’s not uncommon for these teachers to have 40 or more graded assignments in a given grading period.
A lot of band directors find themselves at the end of a grading period with 3-4 playing tests and “check-offs” for practice records.
To an administrator, a comparison of grade books may cause them to see a huge gap and to question the grading policy of a performance-based music classroom.
Administrators may not realize that 90% of our class time is teacher-student engagement in a rehearsal setting. We are constantly critiquing and assessing our students progress through their active participation in the rehearsal. That’s how we are able to pull off a great performance.
However, current trends in education seem to frown upon the elusive “Participation” grade.
So how can the band director accurately assess the student's performance on a daily basis?
It’s Ensemble Skills not Participation!
The solution may come with the thoughtful weekly evaluation of the Ensemble Skills you teach through rehearsals. In Grading & Assessment in the Performance-Based Classroom, I suggested evaluating and grading Ensemble Skills in three primary areas:
Active Participation or Ensemble Skills
Student preparation can be broken down into 2 main categories: Materials & Music
The Ensemble Skills should be also be evaluated in 2 main categories: music & discussion.
The final category, Rehearsal Etiquette, is a unique quality to the performing arts and a necessary skill for success! This category can also evaluated in 2 categories: focus & behavior
By quantifying these skills based on a scale of Never (0) to Always (20), band directors can accurately quantify the daily rehearsal techniques we teach and give the necessary feedback to students to propel them to success.
>>CLICK HERE FOR A SAMPLE RUBRIC<<
I hope these tips help you to accurately grade the daily rehearsals in your classroom!