Originally Posted by The Orffsite Webmaster on Sunday, October 10, 2010

I assess my students constantly, but I believe grades are unnecessary, despite the fact that I'm required to give them. 
I don’t trust District and State assessments. I haven’t seen one that measures how well a student has learned to play/sing their own part in an ensemble. I’ve never seen a test question that measures a student’s ability to improvise vocally, instrumentally or in movement. Where is the question that measures the student’s understanding and use of tall vowel sounds and matched pitches? Have you seen a question that measures a student’s ability to create their own ostinati and perform it against the main melody or rhythm? We are in an era of devaluing the role of the teacher in education. Teachers are losing their role as curriculum developers. One size fits all in many Districts and States. If I spent my time teaching primarily what the bubble test developers want me to emphasize, the choir risers and band/orchestra chairs in Junior High/Middle School would be empty. I’m waiting to see the State test that can truly assess what is important in music education. Students and this teacher would develop a hatred of music class if fact based, cerebral only tests become the State norm. Any fool can design a test that deals with symbols and terms. Those are important, but at the elementary level, according to Keetman, Orff, Warner and me, it ranks on the bottom of the ladder. The questions are: What exactly are we assessing? What is the purpose of elementary level music? I believe the purpose of elementary music is to help children learn to sing, play and move to worthy music, and to freely improvise in all the above ways from the heart first, and then the mind.