Let’s talk about assessment in band. We don’t have a standardized test, so instead we go to a yearly district-wide assessment. Each group plays three songs for three judges and then sight-reads for a fourth judge. Their scores are totaled, averaged, and a rating is given. It is not a competition. Groups are not ranked based on scores.
Here’s the catch: each student that participates is supposed to pay a per-student fee (which is not cheap). This fee covers the judges’ payment and purchase of all new sight-reading music each year. Some schools pay for their groups out of the school fund. My groups are paid for from the band budget given by the county each year. A few schools have to request that their students pay for it out of their own pocket.
I think it is crazy that students, schools, or band programs have to pay for an assessment.
As one of my colleagues put it: “They don’t make the kids put in quarters to take the SOL.”
I understand what we are paying for. I really do. But I still don’t like it. I wish there was a way that we could have assessment, but not make it a financial burden on the schools or students.