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Our school is implementing some changes in the way we’re allowed to grade students this year. One of these changes is that we are no longer allowed to grade “behaviors,” meaning the traditional participation grade goes out the window. Obviously I’m making some adjustments. We already do many other types of things, including rhythm assessments, concert critiques, reflections, vocabulary, etc, but my concern is that there we always end up with such limited time at certain points of the year that it’s tough to fit many of these things in. What are some ways you grade your students at consistent intervals through the year?
While it may not be possible for you, I think it is somewhat important to grade students’ etiquette in rehearsal. I don’t know if it’s possible for your school to reconsider, but I’ll throw it out there because there are some easily measureable ways of assessing rehearsal behaviors (e.g., being prepared with materials and on time, speaking at appropriate times, etc.)
In terms of grading at consistent intervals, my middle school students get a grade for their small group lesson each week based on their preparation and demonstration of skills/improvement at the lesson.
To place a little less emphasis on my own participation/rehearsal etiquette grade, I try to give short quizzes every couple of weeks (perhaps this year I’ll get more regular about it). Students pick up a quarter sheet of scrap paper, I ask 4-6 questions about things we have learned recently (and I usually include one goofy question). If students have been in class and listened, these are pretty straightforward and align pretty closely with my impression of their overall level of effort and behavior in class.
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