Shaping young artists through formative assessment

Shaping young artists through formative assessment

Generalist teachers can find assessing the music curriculum daunting. But with planning and formative assessment tips and tools, providing students with feedback becomes an exciting part of the creative process.

primary school students in arts learning music lessons formative assessment on ukelele

Being a musician involves hours of dedicated practice. It’s a constant process of refining your craft through self-reflection, assessment and curiosity. This is not something that comes naturally to young musicians and they need the guidance of a teacher to give feedback and advice on their playing or singing.

However, many generalist primary teachers find it overwhelming to assess and give feedback on students’ musical performance. After all, isn’t music subjective?

Formative assessment provides rich evidence for teachers to understand where their students are at. It helps them to then plan the next steps for learning in a measured way that allows the teachers to modify teaching and build confidence while providing targeted feedback.

There are many forms of formative assessment, including, observations, peer and self-assessments, rubrics and interviews. It informs teachers on progress in real time, helping them to guide students on their learning journey.

For art educators, formative assessment provides a fantastic opportunity for students to develop their ability to ‘think like an artist’ and to be involved in the assessment process.

Developing a culture where formative assessment is embedded into lessons increases students’ critical and creative thinking skills and naturally aligns with the creative process. By teaching students how to reflect on their learning, students can take ownership of their learning and progress their skills further.

primary school students in arts learning music lessons formative assessment on glockenspiel

Using Formative Assessment in the context of music education can help teachers to deliver the Music Curriculum more confidently. By incorporating student reflections, rubrics and exit tickets throughout the semester teachers can observe progress against the curriculum and easily re-set where development is needed. This type of assessment strengthens students’ knowledge and skills in the cross-curriculum priorities of Critical and Creative Thinking as well as Personal and Social Capability.

Teachers looking for assistance when planning formative assessment in the music classroom can now access practical, ready-to-use activities in a new resource on ARTS:LIVE. ‘Introducing Formative Assessment’ includes printable activities to support both Primary Music Specialists and Generalist Primary Teachers teaching the music curriculum. It provides a rich source of assessment ideas for students from Foundation to Year Six to assist teachers of all levels.

Sign up to ARTS:LIVE and incorporate Introducing Formative Assessment in your music classroom. Or start planning an entire semester of music learning with The Music Classroom Collection.

The Song Room offers professional learning and teacher mentoring programs to upskill and build teacher confidence to deliver arts learning. Learn more about The Song Room’s Professional Programs here or get in touch to find out more.