"Assessment is not a dirty word!" – ISM training day

I am really grateful to Ally Daub & ISM for running a brilliant training day on progression and assessment in primary school music. It was thought provoking, challenging & very helpful. I am not going to give you a blow by blow account of the day – you can look at Ally’s presentation online and read her excellent paper on assessment on the ISM website for yourself. Even better sign up for their free webinar (details below)

Instead I am going to share my edited highlights which may appear random & unconnected but are my top takeaways from the day

1.  Making a rap to introduce your self is far more entertaining than simply saying “hello my name is ….” Ally broke the ice and had everyone highly amused with the first 15 mins

2.  “Assessment is not a dirty word” – I love this phrase! We need to remember it isn’t assessment that is the enemy but the slavish insistence by some schools that the assessment tail wags the musical dog.
 I think that the Robin Hammerton Ofsted quote 

“As national Curriculum levels disappear, I’d ask you respectfully not to replace them with another set of numbers”

 Should be blown up into a massive poster and plastered around every school

3. What are your music education values? You need to know before you can build a meaningful assessment system

4. What stops you learning? exercise was a brilliant way to get adults to put them selves in the place of their students. I will definitely be using this simple technique in any teacher training I do.

5. Transition works both ways. How many primary music coordinators bother to look at early years pupil profiles? Whoops, that will be me. Will rectify immediately!

6. Theory of personal construct. This was a major takeaway for me. I had told Ally previously that I was struggling to get kids to get beyond describing what they had done when asking them to evaluate their musical learning. Ally shared her template of a polar diagram where children share write their own success criteria around the outside and then grade themselves by colouring up to the number. This then forms the basis of a conversation with the teacher as they explain their choice of criteria & ranking system. I plan to try this next week with my classes and will share the results online.

7. “The answer is in the room”. I now vow to finish any meeting I ever organise with the immortal question “what do you need and what can you offer”

8. Whole school sing -a-long – Ally shared the example of a school that opened its doors twenty minutes earlier on a Friday to invite kids, parents, staff, childminders into the hall to start the day with a song. Genius! Will be offering to do this at both my school.

9. Sign up for free ISM webinar this Wednesday 16th July 4-5pm. If you can’t get out of school, or down to London this is a great solution!

10. Investigate Idoceo on the ipad to build up musical portfolio for children

11. “The Full English”digital archive looks like a fantastic set of free resources for schools to use and i will be exploring and reviewing later.

12. Read some John Paynter.

Thank you ISM.

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