Good morning CFHS Band Family:
Brace yourselves for a long email explaining band grading and Infinite Campus. If you aren't concerned, feel free to disregard this e-mail.
I have received several concerned emails about a message that was sent to some of you saying that a student had a failing grade.
To be completely honest, I have no idea who or what sent that e-mail or why it was sent.
As I have mentioned in the past, we use performance rubrics to help students identify where they are currently in their growth as a musician and what actions they can take to further develop and improve. These rubrics have specific feedback, but also "boil things down" to a number. Earning a 4 is an "ADVANCED" performance; 3 is "PROFICIENT" (where we expect most students to be); 2 is to perform at a "DEVELOPING" level; earning a 1 demonstrates "BEGINNING" understanding of a concept.
These rubrics are either returned to students or they are scanned and uploaded to a student-specific "Band Portfolio" folder on the student's @chipfalls.org Google Drive. I am about half done with sharing these folders with students, so if you haven't seen it yet - it's coming. This is something we are rolling out in band grades 6 through 12.
The "problem" comes when we try to enter these scores into Infinite Campus. We all agree that a 3 is to demonstrate proficiency with a standard or concept. A 3 is good. We like 3's. Infinite Campus believes that earning a 3 out or 4 is a 75%.
A student who demonstrated a BEGINNING (1) understanding of the musical concepts on their chair test would receive feedback on what to improve for next time. "Next time" could be either the next chair test, or if a student simply wants to "redo" the current chair test.
You will notice that the feedback and development levels that are entered into Infinite Campus don't actually translate to a grade. So how should you interpret the numbers you see in Infinite Campus?
4: ADVANCED - above and beyond
3: PROFICIENT - where we expect students to be in the current development as a musician
2: DEVELOPING - nearly to where we expect students to be
1: BEGINNING - still working on understanding and applying the concepts
This is a little different but should be at least somewhat familiar to freshmen as what they would have experienced in 8th grade last year.
Sometimes, in order to provide even more specific feedback, we will enter a different number that might be out of 16, or 20. These numbers further help students identify how close they are to being a 2, or a 3, or a 4. Saying "you earned a 2" isn't always as helpful as saying "if you improve this one thing, you are nearly a 3". We are doing our best to convert the artistry and humanity of music into a cold, calculating number for the heartless landscape that is Infinite Campus.
At the end of the day, being a musician is about seeking growth. This is our attempt to give students actual and relevant feedback on their growth as a musician. Rather than giving 100 points for "showing up" to a concert, we are trying to show students their areas of strength and their areas for development. Students who are not satisfied with the rubric rating they earned are welcome to do it over and over again until they demonstrate proficiency and growth. That is what life is all about!
The first time I ran a mile it took me 26 minutes. I was in a second grade and I did not understand the concept. Today I can run one mile in 10 minutes. Is it great compared to kids on the cross country team? No. Is my wife proud of me? Yes, but she thinks I can do better. Does it demonstrate a level of fitness that would satisfy my doctor? Probably not. But it is a snapshot of me, today, in my current state. If I am not satisfied with being a "10-minute mile runner", I will practice and then run it again and see how it goes.
Everything in the band grade book can be improved through practice, running it again, and seeing how it goes.
If this doesn't make sense to you, I will come up with as many analogies as it takes. Please let me know what I can do to help. Our only goal is to share feedback that will help our students be the best musicians they can be.
This blog is intended to serve as a collection of announcements and information for current students and their families.