Student Assessments by Marty Smith

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Student Assessments by Marty Smith by Mind Map: Student Assessments by Marty Smith

1. Diagnostics

1.1. Definition

1.1.1. Diagnostics are given at the beginning of the school year, or the beginning of a new unit of study to address student readiness levels.

1.1.2. A diagnostic test attempts to quantify what students already know about a topic to aid the teacher in planning differentiated instruction based on needs and readiness.

1.1.3. Diagnostics is an assessment FOR learning as the information gathered from diagnostics aids the teacher in understanding student achievement to inform instructional decision.

1.2. Advantages/Disadvantages

1.2.1. Diagnostics allow for teachers to check student readiness and make adjustments and adaptions to unit and lesson plans early on in the school year or prior to beginning a new unit.

1.2.2. Diagnostics may not always provide an absolute measure of student competence or readiness.

1.3. Examples

1.3.1. In a band class one of the most common and useful diagnostic tests is sight reading. At the beginning of the school year instrumental students would sight read a small number of selected scales and etudes of various difficulty. These can be done individually and as an ensemble to aid the band teacher in assigning chairs and choosing repertoire.

1.3.2. In a music theory class students would be given a diagnostic test at the beginning of a new unit. Like math, music theory builds one concept upon another in increasing complexity so it is important that the music teacher knows the students readiness and any special considerations. These tests can be in the form of a quiz, multiple choice or aural activity.

2. Formative

2.1. Definition

2.1.1. Given throughout the learning process, formative assessments seek to determine how students are progressing through a certain learning goal. Formative assessment is a range of formal and informal assessment procedures employed by teachers during the learning process in order to modify teaching and learning activities to improve student attainment.

2.1.2. Formative assessments typically involves qualitative feedback for both student and teacher that focuses on the details of content and performance.  They can be formal or informal (graded) assessments.

2.1.3. Formative assessments are assessments FOR learning as the goal of formative assessment is to provide students with descriptive feedback to help the student improve and work towards mastery.

2.2. Advantages/Disadvantages

2.2.1. Formative assessments allow for multiple opportunities to check and test student understanding and give meaningful and descriptive feedback.  They give the student every opportunity to learn and improve their understanding through formal and informal testing with feedback.

2.2.2. Formative assessments can be time consuming, especially if a lot of feedback is required. It can also be misused as 'teaching the test' by teachers who may be vague on what formative testing really is.

2.3. Examples

2.3.1. Informal formative assessments can be on-the-go assessments, allowing for immediate and continuous feedback (often verbal/instructed). In a band class, this would be the band director giving on-going advice and examples on technique and interpretation.

2.3.2. More formal formative assessments can be graded and accompanied with descriptive feedback. In the MYP and by using ManageBac for grading, formative assessments can be set, graded with feedback and graphed to show student progress.

3. Summative

3.1. Definition

3.1.1. Given at the end of the year or unit, summative assessments assess a student’s mastery of a topic after instruction.

3.1.2. Summative assessment grades are usually used by teachers to determine student passing scores, grades and final reports.

3.1.3. Summative assessments are an assessment OF learning as they are used to determine the level of student mastery at the end of a unit, semester or school year.

3.2. Advantages/Disadvantages

3.2.1. The advantages of summative assessments allow for students to show all of their learning from a unit for a final or end of year grade. It gives students a clear goal or expectations that they need to meet.

3.2.2. Summative assessments don't provide feedback for students (usually), regardless of their level of achievement. Summative assessments are often the 'final exam' and cannot be re-taken.

3.3. Examples

3.3.1. In a band class a summative assessments can be a technical skills performance, solo performance or band performance. Students would have prior access to a performance rubric specific to the unit and material for the performance criteria.

3.3.2. In a general music class a summaive assessment can take the form of a theory exam, essay or project/presentation.

4. High-Stakes

4.1. Definition

4.1.1. High-stakes test are tests with important consequences for the test taker.

4.1.2. Passing has important benefits, such as a high school diploma, a scholarship, or a license to practice a profession.

4.1.3. High stakes are an assessment OF learning as the grade or results are final and used to determine a students level of knowledge and/or mastery of a topic.

4.2. Advantages/Disadvantages

4.2.1. High-stakes test results can be used to help teachers create a learning plan based on student's needs. Yearly testing and frequent practice tests can help students improve their test-taking abilities over time.

4.2.2. A number of disadvantages associated with High-Stakes assessments include: unnecessary pressure on students such as anxiety, low moral in both students and teachers, negative consequences from low test scores, teaching to the test and poorly designed tests in general with little to no meaningful learning outcomes.

4.3. Examples

4.3.1. In a band class a high-stakes assessment will often take the form of an audition for either a chair, solo, or acceptance into a music school. Students are usually assigned specific excerpts such as in the case of an orchestra audition or can be asked to sight read music. For a conservatoire, students will often have to prepare up to 20+ minutes of solo repertoire of varying styles and from different era.

5. Performance-Based

5.1. Definition

5.1.1. Performance assessment requires students to demonstrate knowledge and skills, including the process by which they solve problems.

5.1.2. Performance assessments measure skills such as the ability to integrate knowledge across disciplines, contribute to the work of a group, and develop a plan of action when confronted with a new situation. Performance assessments are also appropriate for determining if students are achieving the higher standards set by states for all students.

5.1.3. Performance based assessments are an assessment FOR learning as they offer multiple opportunities for descriptive feedback and involve the students in their own planning based on the feedback they receive. However, if the assessment is being used to determine whether a student is meeting state achievement levels then it may be considered an assessment OF learning.

5.2. Advantages/Disadvantages

5.2.1. Performance-based assessments are able to provide teachers with more detailed information than standard multiple-choice tests. They serve both a summative and formative purpose; they can tell teachers about what content a student has or has not mastered, and additionally offer insight into what concepts students are struggling with or where they get lost in a process.

5.2.2. Performance-based assessment ignores underachievers or students who have potential but need opportunities and/or support.

5.3. Examples

5.3.1. In a band class, this kind of assessment dominates and is used as both formative and summative assessment types. Often it assesses the application of acquired knowledge and technique in a musical performance setting.

6. Portfolio

6.1. Definition

6.1.1. Portfolio assessment is an evaluation tool used to document student learning through a series of student-developed artifacts. Considered a form of authentic assessment, it offers an alternative or an addition to traditional methods of grading and high stakes exams.

6.1.2. Portfolio assessment gives both teachers and students a controlled space to document, review, and analyze content leaning. In short, portfolios are a collection of student work that allows assessment by providing evidence of effort and accomplishments in relation to specific instructional goals (Jardine, 1996).

6.1.3. Portfolio assessment is an assessment OF learning, as a final portfolio it is more often than not presented at the end of a unit or project to show the process and evidence of learning.

6.2. Advantages/Disadvantages

6.2.1. Portfolios allows for a teacher to track a students development or 'journey' and allows the student to express and reflect on their process in multiple ways. It allows for the organization of learning to be kept in one space (file, folder, journal) and promotes multiple learning opportunities and can have real-world similarities.  Portfolios are advantageous for visual arts, performing arts and language arts subjects.

6.2.2. If clear criteria are not set for portfolio assessment, they can result in an unorganized collection of artifacts that don't show patterns of growth, learning or achievement. Assessing portfolios can also be time consuming for the teacher.

6.3. Examples

6.3.1. In the MYP Arts all students, including visual and performing, must keep a Process Journal throughout the entire MYP. This can be in digital or physical form, usually a combination of both, and are a written record of the development of the students work as well as their own development as an artist. It helps the student to track development as a student of the Arts, and provides evidence of investigations, creations and reflections.

7. Authentic

7.1. Definition

7.1.1. Authentic assessment is the measurement of intellectual accomplishments that are worthwhile, significant, and meaningful as compared to multiple choice standardized tests.

7.1.2. Authentic assessment can be devised by the teacher, or in collaboration with the student by engaging student voice.

7.1.3. Authentic assessment is an assessment OF learning even though the process can open up multiple opportunities for descriptive feedback, but the final result or a project is evidence OF learning.

7.2. Advantages/Disadvantages

7.2.1. Assesses many different kinds of literacy abilities in contexts that closely resemble actual situations in which those abilities are used. For example, authentic assessments ask students to read real texts, to write for authentic purposes about meaningful topics, and to participate in authentic literacy tasks such as discussing books, keeping journals, writing letters, and revising a piece of writing until it works for the reader. Authentic assessment values the thinking behind work, the process, as much as the finished product (Pearson & Valencia, 1987; Wiggins, 1989; Wolf, 1989).

7.2.2. Disadvantages can include: time costly in terms of managing and monitoring,  difficulty to coordinate with mandatory educational standards, challenging to provide consistent grading schemes and subjective nature of grading may lead to bias.

7.3. Examples

7.3.1. In a band class a student may choose their own solo performance pieces and possibly the instrument to perform on for assessment. Additionally, students can be tasked with organizing, planning and promoting a performance for an event or community organization.

7.3.2. In a general music class studying music history students can propose projects and presentations to show their understanding of a period in music. Students can create info-graphs, a Prezi or compose a piece of music that reflects the character of the era.

8. Self-Assessment

8.1. Definition

8.1.1. Self-assessment, is a process whereby students grade assignments or tests based on a teacher’s benchmarks.

8.1.2. The practice is employed to save teachers time and improve students' understanding of course materials as well as improve their metacognitive skills. Rubrics are often used in conjunction with Self-Assessment.

8.1.3. Self-assessment is an assessment FOR learning as it requires the student to reflect on their own learning, become a decision maker for their own learning and motivates the student to do better.

8.2. Advantages/Disadvantages

8.2.1. Encourages students to self-reflect, evaluate and make changes when necessary.  Self-assessment helps develop life-long learning skills that the student will take with them well into the future.

8.2.2. Time has to be taken to teach students how to self-assess as well as possibly having to continue to guide students through the process.  Results may be unreliable due to students being ill-equipped for the task.

8.3. Examples

8.3.1. As performers, students use self-assessments a lot in a band program. Students are encouraged to constantly reflect on their playing, progress and ensemble rehearsals through reflections in their process journal. Often, students will be given a performance rubric at the beginning of a unit as a guide for self-assessment.

9. Peer Assessment

9.1. Definition

9.1.1. Peer assessment is a process whereby students or their peers grade assignments or tests based on a teacher’s benchmarks.

9.1.2. The practice, like self-assessments, is employed to save teachers time and improve students' understanding of course materials as well as improve their meta-cognitive skills. Rubrics are often used in conjunction with Peer-Assessment.

9.1.3. Peer assessment is an assessment FOR learning as it requires students to give each other descriptive feedback, requires students to be decision makers and also motivates students to do better.

9.2. Advantages/Disadvantages

9.2.1. An advantage is giving peers a fresh and objective point of view when going through this process. Peers can highlight less obvious areas where students work could be improved as well as help to spot mistakes or problems students have missed. They can better their understanding of their own mistakes by identifying trends in that of their peers.

9.2.2. As well as similar disadvantages to self-assessment, students might not take the peer assessment or review process seriously, may take their time in giving their feedback or be prone to bias due to adolescent or 'play-ground' reasons.

9.3. Examples

9.3.1. Peer assessment, or critique, is an important skill for any musician in a band program. Students will often upload solo performances or ensemble rehearsals for peer critique. Rubrics are used to guide student comments and taught how to give and receive feedback. Peer assessment projects can include mock arts review magazines or discussion panels.

10. References

10.1. Portfolio Assessment. (n.d.). Retrieved June 14, 2016, from

10.2. Every Teacher's Guide to Assessment. (n.d.). Retrieved June 14, 2016, from

10.3. Starting the School Year With a Party. (2015). Retrieved June 15, 2016, from

10.4. Student Assessments. (n.d.). Retrieved June 14, 2016, from

10.5. Project Appleseed Parental Involvement in Public Schools. (n.d.). Retrieved June 14, 2016, from!assessment/cwvf

10.6. Three Types of Assessment. (n.d.). Retrieved June 14, 2016, from

10.7. What Is Authentic Assessment? (n.d.). Retrieved June 14, 2016, from

10.8. F. (2014). Oct 2014 - Gray Middle School 6th Grade Band: Jacob Wade Formative Assessment. Retrieved June 15, 2016, from

10.9. D. (2014). How to Add a Formative Assessment in ManageBac. Retrieved June 15, 2016, from