Reply To: To test or not to test….

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I test every week, but not every person. When I ran a beginning band everyone tested every week. I always mix it up though, sometimes I test “trios” sometimes sections and sometimes individuals. I always tell the students what to expect, of course.

In order to keep the time to a minimum, I never test over whole songs and, if I am hearing them during class time, the students get one chance.

I have also packed the kids off with cheapo digital recorders and had them record themselves and assessed from the recording, and I have used SmartMusic, which works somewhat similarly. These are by far the smallest class time eaters, but you do miss the opportunity for immediate feedback.

Once we passed through the method books, (and with the high school program I’m currently with) when we find something in the literature a section is having trouble with, I give them a time frame and a grouping, and they tell me the day they think they will be ready to play it. I note that in my score and we stick to it. “Flutes, I’d like to hear this section in the next ten rehearsals. You’ll play it in trios. When do you think you will be ready to get an “A” on it?” or “3rd trumpets, you guys are too important to not have this part down. I’d like to hear each of you individually sometime this week. You have until Friday to grab recorder number 3 out of the box and put an “A” track on it. I’ll listen to them over the weekend.”

Also, check out for an easy way to build rubrics.

Hope this helps,