Reply To: To test or not to test….
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I am currently a college senior and observing a middle school every week. I have noticed that the director tests the student once a week. It takes twenty minutes total to test all the students (43+ students), and he usually divides these twenty minutes between two days.
He tests the students on pieces out of the Essential Elements book. The students have this testing routine in their schedule and know what is expected out of them. The director sits at the front of the class with his computer and types advise and comments for the students to read. He posts their results on the Progress Book website that the school uses. This is easy access for the parents and students to review. I am sure if the progress book is not available at your school, you can send out “progress reports” to parents. There is a rubric he uses that he can quickly assess students, but just enough time to write comments. Don’t forget: it is best if you give students verbal comments too!!
The most important thing I have learned from this director is when you are testing never go section by section. It is best to randomly choose students. This is a good classroom management skill because students are always on the edge of their chair ready for their testing. They are usually fingering through the piece each time someone tests so the focus is on the music the whole time.
Best of luck to you and your testing!