Transcript, Part I

>> One. Two, one. Two, two, two, one, two and.

>> One, two, one, two, two, two, one, one, two, two, two, one -

>> Yes -

>> One, two, two, one, two, [inaudible].

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The Maine Arts Assessment Initiative, and it's really about teaching a learning in art, music, dance, and theater. There are about 1,250 arts teachers in state. During the first year of the initiative, we had about 600 of those teachers participate in professional development so that they could look at what they were doing as a teacher and expand on those ideas and build on those ideas to make education in their classrooms reach every student. And that at this point in the initiative, we have gotten a lot of feedback from teachers, and one of the things that they said to us is we want to know what standards-based education looks like in the arts. So we decided to create the opportunity for teachers to be able to see what it looks like through videotaping.

>> OK. Sit up.

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Two and.

>> One, one, two, one, one, two, three, two, one. One.

>> And I'm going to be doing assessment of how you did with it. Tone, your articulation presentation. You have a line in which you have a score. I'm going to be curious to get your feedback on when you finish this and hand your papers in and see the effectiveness of the rubric. Because this is the one we sort of collaborating on to come up with. What I love most about a standards-based classroom is that it forces me as a teacher to go from this is what I teach, and this is my focus to this is what my students are learning, and that becomes my focus. When you're in a standards-based classroom, you're about what exactly is it that we're going after, not just here's a mass of information, or here's a really cool activity. It's always about, what is it that we're here to learn. What are the skills? What are the standards? What are the pieces that we're trying to assimilate? And when that really is student centered, you're always bouncing that off the students and getting feedback from them directly and indirectly, and then that impacts teaching. Certainly, impacts curriculum. It impacts the relationship between a teacher and a student. The simple concept of standards-based assessment, a standards-based classroom changes the entire dynamic educationally and personally. The interpersonal relationship with the teacher and students as well as academically what's going on in the classroom -

>> Personalization, academic rigor, success for every kid. It rolls off of everybody's lips. Everybody understands that. They know it, but what does that really mean? Well, at the heart of it is ensuring that every kid gets the same measure in terms of what we have to offer for education, and that we modify our instruction and instructional practices in such a way that we try to ensure that their learning is every bit as precious as the kid who gets it easily. Well, when you start to put that into work, when you try to actualize that, the form that it takes is really standards-based. What is it that every kid needs to know? How do we know whether or not they learned it, and Rob has done extraordinary things in terms of weaving the standards into what he's doing as has Dan Svetzky, our band director, as well as personalizing the learning experience for each of those kids.

>> Really think that standards are good. I mean, like, it's just, it's done a lot for me in general. Like, it's a lot, it's just really nice not to have the pressure. Like, just to know that, like, he's not going to be mad if you have to retake it. It's just, it's so different. It's like, alright. Well, I'm going to take this today, and if I don't do well, that's completely fine. Like, it'll be OK.

>> Music teacher's been doing this for years. My experiences have not changed dramatically in how I'm teaching, but they've changed in how I'm assessing more, not assessing per se but how I'm reporting. That they are spending a little bit more time on their assignments to try to get them down. And I can achieve results that I, that are, that I feel much more authentic and much, much more precise. All kids are being assessed in the York High School Concert Band on the same exact standards with the same accountability and with the same attention. It doesn't get better than that. Students in my performance classes cannot hide within the ensemble if they don't know how to do something. I know what every single student in my ensemble is capable of. I know what their strengths are, and I know what they need to work on. And because of that, during my rehearsals, I can structure my warm ups or how I approach a certain section because I have so much more knowledge of where they're at.

>> The standards-based classroom, it's definitely different than the traditional classroom. In music theory, like, when we take quizzes and stuff, you don't have to worry about getting something a hundred percent right the first time because you can redo a quiz so they, and when you redo it, you don't just get another grade in the grade book. The bad grade goes away. It feels a lot more relaxed for me because I know that I can learn at the pace that I need to. He's really open to helping you with anything that you really need help with.

>> It's not about whether you got an 89 or a 95. It's not about the grade. It's about learning. It's about did you, do you know it, or do you not know it? If you know it, then you're good. You don't ever have to take any more assessments on that again. If you don't know it, then, well, we're going to help you learn it so when you take the assessment again, you will know what it is.

>> It really shows me that once I get through it, I know that I've learned it, and I'm confident that I understand the concept and not just, like, I just didn't learn it for the assessment. Like, I know that I know it. And so that's really a confidence boost in terms of tackling the next process because you're, like, alright. Well, if I got this one, I can definitely, you know, handle the next one.

>> So you can look at it as, oh, I have a 3 on this. I want to be as best as I can be on, say, sight reading or something. So I'm going to work at that until I get a 4, and then I can know that myself that I have become very proficient at sight reading.

>> I updated all the score musics that you submitted last week or so. I finished them last night. So your grades are now up to date as far as your Smart music standard. Be careful about all four of those pieces that you're being assessed on because I'm going right off that piece of paper you have. So it shouldn't be a big surprise what score you're getting or what your grade is going to be on the final.

>> I think the concern for us has been how do you report it out. What form does that take, and how is that going to play out in the community. But we have a pedigree of acceptance that shows that they are attending the very best colleges across the country. But when you've been successful in a traditional way of doing that, we're more than a little nervous as we transition to reporting standards whether or not we're going to have the same level of success.

>> Through power school, you can see what you've learned. So it's because he has all the standards listed out. So, like, after you get through all of them, you can look back there, and be, like, I learned all of that.

>> How can you call it an academic subject if you cannot bring that integrity to assessment, instruction, and reporting?

>> And by doing it over multiple months, over multiple semesters, they also get to hear and see what their growth has been, as do their parents. And I can also give them helpful tips as to what to do differently as they do their next one. When I give them their scores in power school, if they receive a 1 or a 2, they also receive a comment from me as to why they got a 1 or a 2. In, then also helpful hint as to what to work on. With regard to my music theory class, which is pure standards-based approach where they must receive all 3's and 4's to pass the course, that, on the other hand, it's a whole different deal. They take traditional quizzes just like they always did, but instead of getting a percentage on a quiz, they will get did they met the standard in their triads and root position. Did they get a 3 or 4 in triads in first position? Did they get a 3 or 4 in triads in second inversion? If they get a 1 or 2 in any of those, they're able to see that, OK, I can't do my second inversions yet, but I aced through position. So instead of getting a 97 where, OK, I randomly got a few pieces wrong, or an 88 where, well, I did mostly everything, they can see specifically this is what exceeded the teacher expectations. This is what met the expectation, and on this standard, second inversion, I'm still not able to do it consistently. Then, they can go back to the drawing board and do individual work on just that standard until they feel like they can get it in place where it is able to meet, and then they come back to me and say, OK, I'm ready to do an assessment on this. When I do grades in power school with standards-based, what I do is I actually, instead of grades or quizzes or tests, I actually put the standards. But the beautiful thing is they also can't look at the overall grade. They actually have to take the time to look at each individual standard, and I've had at least one parent tell me it was a little bit of a pain in the neck to actually have to look through every standard to see how their son was doing, and we talked about that, and they agreed, well, that's kind of a good thing.

>> We use a program called Smart Music, which I'm sure many schools are using it today, but that brings a whole new level, a whole deeper level of assessment and accountability for student learning. Where we can, I can assign a student an assignment, I can listen to it, and I can give them very specific feedback in grades on very specific topics such as articulation, such as intonation, interpretation, tone quality. So all those things that are very difficult to assess in a large classroom format when you have 60 musicians playing at the same time, you can really get, you can assess every single student.

>> The beautiful thing about the Smart Music that we use is, number one, students are using it on their own. It's something that they have to self-analyze as they go through. When they do a take, they're able to visually see notes that are read or green, but they also have to listen, and they have to be analytical about did I actually get the note. What was my tone like? So they have to self-study and make that happen. Now I go in to the Smart Music, and I can assess each of those three pieces. I'm able to give them a direct feedback as to how they're doing in their progress. In a standards-based approach, it's about working towards the standard, and that the process is as much a learning thing as the product, if not more so.

>> There are different assessments depending on how many semesters you've been doing music for. One, two, three, and you can take it a bunch of different times.

>> I took one of my classes, of course, and decided to make one section exclusively students who have never sung with me before. We moved together as a class as far as what our skills were, what the standards were that they were accomplishing, whether they were performing standards or understanding standards, and by the time we reached the end of the semester, in many ways, they were more literate than my regular chorus class that I wasn't giving that same degree of minutia to. That I wasn't as concerned about the standards in, and I was able to really look at my work with both groups and realize I was an infinitely better teacher with Chorale than I was with Chorus, and there's something fundamentally wrong with that. And so in looking back at that experience, I realized I had to change the way I was delivering instruction. I had to change what my expectations were for all my singers, not just the beginning ones, and hold every single student accountable for every standard.

It's also consistently challenged me to ask questions. The assessment initiative is not about if you do A, B, and C, then you're going to get XYZ. It's not about that, and one of the things I've loved is, it consistently asks you what are you doing, and why are you doing it, and how does it translate to student learning. The really powerful piece to this has been the interaction with other arts educators in the field. Music teachers as well as visual art, the drama, the dance, working with other colleagues in the field who are dealing with arts assessment just like me has been invaluable, and it's closed the state up. Instead of being a bunch of individuals on an island, I feel like we're one big group working together towards the same end, and there's no more islands. To foster a student-centered environment in the classroom and in a program I think just takes a willingness to do a big old head switch about how you approach things.

Standards-based education, in its whole, means directing students towards individual accountable standards. Certainly, a smaller class, like my music theory, it is so one on one, meeting the needs of each individual kid. In standards-based student-centered approach, it comes down to what are the essential pieces that students need to know, and the individual song you're singing is not the answer. What are they learning through that literature? What are they learning through the curriculum? How is this stuff that's relevant to them? What I can tell you has happened is the types of questions I get from them reflect a more thoughtful student. They've had to be self-analytical to a degree they've never had to be before, and they've had to become problem solvers to a degree they've never had to before. I've realized as a professional in this field, after 25 years, this makes me a better teacher, and my students learn more and learn better as a result of this.

It's not relevant which standards you're working on initially to change their mindset. You've got to embrace the concept. You've got to get your fingernails into the dirt and start digging around with it and get acclimated with what does that mean. What does it look like? What does it feel like? How does it change me as a teacher? Does it change me as a teacher? This is the golden opportunity for us as arts educators to do that work prior to the national standards being released. Anyone in the arts who is considering going to a standards-based assessment, it's impossible to make that judgment until you've done it. And going down that road, just the mere going down that road is the greatest reward because you're going to find out so much about it, but you're going to out a lot about what your beliefs are as an educator, as a person, and what you think is most essential about learnings about your students. And so going down this path yields nothing but positives. There's no negative to the whole thing, and I would encourage every single teacher in the country with regard to arts education to go down the standards-based student-centered approach and just find out as much as they can about themselves, about their classrooms, and about their kids. It's a no-lose proposition. Go to any links having to do with Maine Arts Assessment Initiative. There's so many resources on the Department of Education website that Argy Nestor has. Lots of links to webinars. Links to other things that are going on. The ongoing workshops. Anything that you could possibly want to draw from there's lots of people. We have people trained to be leaders in arts assessment. Their contact information is out there. Chances are really good that someone very close to you in the state of Maine is a teacher leader in arts assessment, and so start picking their brain, and you will have more opportunities for people to help than you can even know what to do with.

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