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Standard 6: The teacher of PK-12 music can assess musical knowledge and skills.

In order to be an effective music educator, one must be able to assess their students’ musical
knowledge and skills. Through my experiences and education courses at K-State, I have
developed these skills so that I can utilize them in my classroom.
Through my general education and music education courses I have been taught numerous ways
to assess my students’ musical knowledge and skills. For starters, there is the obvious
observation-based assessment, in which I observe the students performing a certain concept and
assess their knowledge or understanding of said concept. Typically, the amount of understanding
a student shows toward a concept directly correlates to their skill in executing that task.
However, this is not always the case. Some students may understand conceptually how a task is
performed but may struggle with how to actually do it. Fortunately, there are more forms of
assessment. I can assess my students through performance-based assessment such as a playing
test or concert. This would be an example of a formal assessment. I can assess my students’
musical knowledge through review or discussion as a class. I can assess my students through the
use of timely and specific questions during instruction. I can assess my students through self-
assessment, that is, having them assess themselves individually or as an ensemble. I can assess
my students’ understanding through the use of interviews. I can assess my students’
understanding through the use of short answer questions. These are all examples of informal
assessment. What is more, I have practiced utilizing all of these forms of assessment. Through
teaching experiences in my education/music education courses, teaching private trombone
lessons, leading trombone sectionals, teching high school band camps, and serving as a
conductor in University Band.
My students’ learning benefits from my experience and skill in assessing their musical
knowledge and skill in a number of ways. First, assessing my students’ musical skill, I am able to
identify areas in which they are excelling. I can then use that as encouragement for my students.
I can also identify specific areas of improvement within the musical skill being assessed. This is
beneficial to them because it provides them with specific feedback to help them continue to
improve as a musician. It is also beneficial to my students that I am skilled in assessing their
musical knowledge or understanding. Being able to do this allows me to adjust the curriculum to
meet my students’ needs. My students’ learning benefits from this because they are being taught
in their zone of proximal development.
Through my teaching experiences I have equipped myself with the skills of assessing students’
musical knowledge and skill. I look to continue to assess myself in this area so that I can
improve like my students. I have a fervent desire to come up with more creative ways to assess
my students in this area.