Students of the Fine Arts at TPA participate in portfolio projects. This is in compliance with state board of education requirements. The portfolio project is in addition to the pre-test and post test structure.
The pre-test and post-test structure is an apples-to-apples, quantitative comparison to assess students’ progress through the course of the semester: students take almost the same written test (apples-to-apples) at the beginning and ending of the semester, resulting in a numeric (quantitative) assessment of student progress.
The portfolio project is not necessarily an apples-to-apples comparison and it is more qualitative (descriptive) than the pre-test and post-test comparison. The playing quizzes and the concert performance are examples of opportunities for qualitative assessment.
Samples of students’ work, called “artifacts,” are stored electronically and used to assess both individual student progress and teacher performance qualitatively. In music class, we plan for four artifacts:
- Artifact 1: about the 3rd week of class, playing quiz
- Artifact 2: about the end of the first quarter, playing quiz
- Artifact 3: near the end of the semester, public concert of the whole class
- Artifact 4: on the final examination, each student’s written self-assessment of what has been learned that is of value
Since music class investigates both music theory and performance, we will assess students’ work in both areas. The primary assessment of music theory is done through the written pre-test and post-test, and is quantitative. The primary assessment of performance is done through the portfolio, and is qualitative. The TPA administration and the state use both assessments of student achievement to evaluate teacher effectiveness.
Performances (Artifacts 1, 2, and 3) are recorded on video.
Procedures for Artifacts 1 and 2 likely are as follows:
- The entire class plays the piece to be used in the portfolio
- One at a time, students play a phrase or two of the song for the camera
- The entire class performs the song again, in the nature of a refrain
Students and teacher use the same rubric for assessing performing quizzes, including Artifacts 1-3. Students assess their own performances (not their colleagues’). The rubric is in the course description and is handed out the day of the performing quiz.
On request, videos are available for students to view themselves. Parents also may see their student’s performance on request.