Friday, August 15, 2014

Setting the (Learning) Targets

In my previous post, I wrote four questions for designing performance music assessments:
1.  What does quality look like?
2.  What does quality sound like?
3.  What will a group sound like if everyone performs with this level of quality?
4.  How do individuals improve so the group may improve?

The answers to these questions provide your learning targets - the concepts we expect students to be able to do or demonstrate.  If we take a step back at this point and look a vocal performance unit so far, it would look like this:
performance unit within South Milwaukee's curriculum for ensembles
As you can see, each of the four topics have been broken down into 3-5 learning targets that are essential if a student is to perform with quality.  I decided that these learning targets were the major contributing factors that would create quality tone, intonation, musicality, and technique.  I tried to match the state ballot as much as possible.  You might come up with different ideas for learning targets, especially if your state ballot differs from Wisconsin's.  

I didn't try to make 5 learning targets in each area, but as it was coming together, I really liked it since our state ballot gives students a rating of 1-5.  It seemed like a logical way to help students make a connection between how they perform in class and what kind of score they might expect in a contest situation.  And since we have tied individual quality to group quality with our guiding questions above, our 1-5 rating could work on large group contest as well as solo/ensemble.  

We're not done.  Each of these learning targets needs to be broken down into criteria for assessment. But that will have to be the next installment in this series ...

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