Archive for the ‘Assessment’ Category

I’m just on my iphone sir!

May 30, 2013 Leave a comment

Tweet me a question. Check in to an activity. Write a few notes. Send a message to a friend.

Active engagement hook for afl, increasing active learning and part of my boosting independence drive.

Printed a4, laminated and available in every room, every lesson.



NUMU – A Must for a 21st Century Music Department

April 7, 2011 Leave a comment

Imagine being 12 years old and spending an half an hour composing a piece of music. After half an hour you and your group perform it, you get the customary round of applause, a few good comments – a few things you could do to develop your compositions skills blah blah blah. What then happens – nothing. The music is lost to the ether.


Numu is incredible. It’s very simple to use, has very helpful support and has a huge impact with the pupils.

Numu is your own online record label. You set up you record label and add artists to it. Every pupil gets their own artist page and username/password. On their artist page they can upload a photo, write a blog and listen/download to other students work even commenting if they wish. It’s all perfectly prepped for safeguarding – only school’s can access it and no post goes ‘live’ until a ‘publisher’ (a member of staff) approves it. Also whilst anyone can go to your site and listen to the kids – they can’t see the photo’s and blogs unless they sign in – very safe!

You record pupils work in the lesson. After the lesson you upload it. I will often be uploading music during lessons later in the day or during meetings. It’s very easy to work.

What it means is pupils can now go home and listen to them performing their compositions. Pupils can go home and download their work and put it on their ipods/mp3 players/phones. Pupils can link form their facebook pages so others can listen to their work.

The possibilities for using NUMU to improve pupils musicianship is limitless – and the kids LOVE IT.

It also gives you a handy resource bank of files for assessment purposes – and BTEC students can use their blog and comments people give them as evidence! BONUS!

I started a record label for my current school 1 week ago today. It has already had over 500 listens to pupils work.

The record label I set up for my old school has had over 50,000 listens.

It boosts confidence, engagement, enthusiasm, excitement, to the feeling of relevance and pupils desire to improve.

It also gives your school an easy to manage way of presenting a public image to the community. I have lost count of the staff who have said listening to pupils work has made them feel proud about working at the school the music originated from. I’ve even known staff ring their friends and families all over the world and tell them about it.

It’s quite simply EPIC!

If nothing else – my recommendation is for you to set up your own record label now – you’ll be amazed at just how easy it is to do, and the huge impact it has in your school!


Exemplification Of Standards in KS3

April 5, 2011 Leave a comment

I have used this in school before in order to provide a stimulus for discussion over the National Curriculum Levels. It features video, photo’s of work, written work, sound files etc etc. I think one of the main things it does do, through discussion, is get everyone in your department on the same wavelength with assessment.

It is not without it’s limitations – part of a wider assessment debate that has been rumbling on within Music Education perhaps since the dawn of time – but an interesting discussion point nonetheless


Lost In Translation

April 5, 2011 Leave a comment

I once got told how Music Assessment should be run in the department I led. Now while I am fully aware the way I assess is not perfect and I’m fighting in the dark a lot of the time to make it serve as many masters as possible; I was aware that what was being suggested was wrong. Playing 5 notes with your RH does not equal level 5.

One of the ways out of it for me was I “stood up for myself” as this amazing article describes and actually sent an annotated copy of this article to my Headteacher. It wasn’t a win/lose situation but it proved that I was doing my best to make the assessment worth while in the department and I had taken the time to research my opinions. It gave me some wriggle room!

I’m know many who have read this before – I keep a reference of everything I’ve read so I can refer back to it should I need to.

Written by Dr Martin Fautley for the National Association of Music Educators

Assessment Booklets

April 4, 2011 Leave a comment

The joy of assessment in high school’s – eh?

Well far be it from me to know the definitive answer – however, I’ve had a number of stabs in the metaphoric dark over the years at trying to satisfy many masters. Ofsted want to see progress, Senior Leadership want a subdivided level for each pupil to show Ofsted the progress, Parents aren’t entirely sure what a Level 5 is – but it sounds okay and Pupils like what they’ve created and think it’s awesome so don’t understand why it’s only a Level 4. Truth is I never use statements such as is a Level 4. Thanks to my brilliant PGCE course I learnt that a piece of music isn’t a level 4 it’s a piece of music.

However an assessment policy we all must have and assessment has to be done in some shape way or form so I put together the following – It’s the level descriptors crudely broken into performing, composing and appraising. It doesn’t necessarily offer a clear progression route but it seems to work well in the kids. Plus it proves some useful conversation stimulus without being over demanding in the classroom. It also helps give a best fit and having something to use to record your thoughts when you listen to pupils perform etc to help inform summatative decisions when they need to be given. I also use it at Parents Evenings.

It’s a series of separate sheets that form an A5 booklet. On the front cover I usually put Level of Learning / Helping You To Help Yourself…





Stomp Scheme

April 4, 2011 Leave a comment

Here is a scheme based on ‘Stomp’.

It features one of my favourite things to do which is only to focus on Exceptional Performance and Level 8 Level Descriptors. Towards the end of the project we talk in terms of showing a little bit of exceptional performance. It’s proved to be really good way of boosting the self esteem of pupils and they always leave on a high feeling they can no begin to look at those level descriptors feeling they can do it.

In terms of the scheme, again, I think it has it’s strengths mainly as it’s really creative, you can leave the kids to generate ideas and sounds themselves and IT’S FUN!

Stomp 2010


The role that AfL can play in KS3 Music Education

April 4, 2011 Leave a comment

Article by Martin Fautley I have today read via

I like this article a lot and have used this when speaking to colleagues in school about assessment in music as a brief but clear back-up to the points I make when discussing assessment in my music department.