A vice-principal in the IBO once told me that IBO assessments are about photo albums and not photos. His point was that you can’t assess a child based on one picture; rather, there have to be multiple instances / photos, etc. For example, I carry my cellphone with me around the classroom and I take videos of the kids constantly. I put those videos on the school server by the end of class so the kids can download them and put them in their electronic portfolios. When report card time comes, I simply read their portfolios — Everything is present. All their progress videos; their polishing videos; their final performance videos. Assignments. Tests. Homework. Everything is in the portfolio. Then I look at their row in the marking spreadsheet. Though I teach hundreds of kids, it allows me to write really specific goals and strategies on their report cards because I have a lot of data collected. It also means that I have personal connections with the kids because they aren’t just numbers in my grade book — I have multiple videos of them and I can see and remember very specific interactions with them.
Teacher Observations: Play a lot of games with your students. Literally, board games and stuff like that. Take the wooden game called Jenga and write solfeggi and rhythms on the backs. When the students successfully pull out a block, they have to sing or clap the rhythm on their block. Then do do teacher observations and write down whether the kids were successful or not.
Traditional Test: Recorder tests, theory tests, etc.
Peer and Self Assessments: Do reflection sheets in which the class together come up with criteria of good singing and then put the kids in groups and have them mark themselves.
Colour Coded Marking Book: I assess the kids using a colour-coded system. I am a bit of a tech-geek and I use a spreadsheet. I code in formulas that say if the cell contains Y, turn it green; if the cell contains N, turn it red; if the cell contains A, turn it yellow; if the cell contains L, turn it orange; if the cell contains EX, turn it purple.
Y = Yes
N = No
L = Late
A = Absent
EX = Excused
Then I list a series of skills that I want the kids to accomplish. For example, we have the song, “Oh When the Saints” that teaches F on the recorder. The kids come to my desk and play it for me. If they can play the song, I quickly type Y into their cell and it turns green. If I have a teacher observation, then I’ll quickly click on the comment button within that cell. When it comes to writing report cards, I open that spreadsheet and hover my mouse over all the student’s cells. I can instantly tell, using colours, how often the student was absent, which skills were achieved, etc. If there’s a little triangle, I can hover my mouse over and read the comment. For example, I have one student who really struggles with self-management, so there’s a lot of “forgot her recorder” in her row.