Re: Grading band
Posted by Obi Ron Kenobi on 9/12/2018, 4:59 pm, in reply to "Grading band"
After 18 years, four schools and two states, here's what I do... |
I belive band should not be a free 'A', but also belive it should be fairly hard to fail.
With the advent of online gradebooks and thus, the ability of parents to check grades frequently, I work hard to keep them updated and make no big changes the last few days before a deadline. Since much of our grading is subjective, I also tend to "low ball" the grades early on. It's much easier to raise a grade near a deadline than drop one. My least favorite thing is to check grades just before report cards and discover a kid who does NOT deserve an 'A' but it's too late to go looking for reasons to justify lowering it.
I don't let a report go out with 69, 79 or 89. Again too subjective. I find a way to change it one direction or the other.
I know you said high school but... With beginners I do a little work into their grades in other classes. I've had several bad experiences where I was their first ever - or only other - grade less than 'A'. I then decide if it would be a battle I'm willing to fight. Sometimes the answer is yes.
Here's what I use for all levels...
DAILY GRADE each week: They get a 'free' 100 on Monday (actually I wait to enter them until Friday) they lose points each time they don't have something; flip folder, drill chart, horn, mouthpiece, reed, wrong shoes (no sandals in a marching rehearsal), etc. In the description of the grade I put "Students are expected to have all materials necessary for an effective rehearsal each day. They are also expected to gradualy improve their skill on their instrument." It's the same principal as "time to turn in your math homework, did you bring it?" because kids were told what to bring to practice each day. The last sentence allows me to lower the grade of someone simply never improves or is progressing very, very slowly (I don't do that very often).
PLAYING TEST: They play something and I assign a number 0-100. Description is "Student performs music in class for a grade. Grades are assigned based on accuracy of tone, pitch, rhythm, dynamics, tempo, articulation and other elements." I used to wonder how I could be so bold or arrogant as to justify this. A very smart director told me our experience, training and college degree is enough to grant us the right to judge a high school musician. Also, the district granted us that right by hiring us. For a while I had a short worksheet I filled out for each kid that broke down each category (20 points for tone, 10 for dynamics, etc) but that was a huge pain!
PERFORMANCE (including Friday night ball games): Goes in as test grade. Similar to daily grade, they lose points for wrong socks, missing uniform part, wearing jeans to concert, no horn, etc. Description is "Students expected to have all materials necessary for best possible performance. Also expected to put forth best effort." That last sentence comes across arbitrary, but gives me room if a kid just reeeeally acts a fool and doesn't deserve 100 (I very rarely need it).
I gave up on practice records several years ago. The logistics and procedures were a pain. Kids will lie to save their grade. If I require parent signatures, many parents lie just as much for same reason. I found myself forced into giving 100's to kids who obviously didn't practice, yet giving 80's to honest kids who worked hard, played well, and had honest parents, but just didn't get around to those last 20 minutes of practice this week. I just test a lot more often now. Sometimes they go in gradebook as a quiz (daily grade), sometimes I don't enter them at all and never tell kids.
With beginners I try to 'test' three times a week. Once is a chair test (not this early in the year), once is game (pick from prize box, earn the 'Golden Stand' for a week, get a pass of some sort, etc) and once is an actual test grade that goes in gradebook.
With HS our evening practices count as a grade. I factor it into their weekly 'Daily Grade' or enter it as a seperate 'Night Practice' grade depending how the year goes. There are rules that allow for that. I think it's in the Side-by-Side stuff. I used to have it hanging on our bulleten board. We are not allowed to flunk a kid based on rehearsals outside the school day, but totally legal to doc their grade.
I am always looking for a better way to do things. I know this is a hot topic with some, but I was wondering how many of you handle grading your HS bands for many aspects of the program including in class and outside school day rehearsals; performances; games; etc? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.