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Sight Singing Assessment

In your opinion, what is the least labor-intensive way to assess many singer's independent sight singing abilitites throughout the year in a middle school choir setting?  Thanks for the advice!
Replies (20): Threaded | Chronological
on July 25, 2013 4:51am
Hi Kim,
With the large numbers in our program, we realized that individual sight-singing assessments would be difficult to manage.  We have opted to do pencil and paper quizes which involve identification of rhythm and pitch patterns from a group of such patterns.  Although this is not ideal, it has worked for us.  I am really interested is reading other ideas here!
Lon Beery
on July 26, 2013 6:57am
Is anyone using technology to achieve the goal of hearing your individual singers sight sing?  If so- How? 
Has anyone tried a 'karate-style' system?  Students move through their 'belts' at their own pace (a sticker on a chart as they pass each level) - each level gets progressivly more challenging.  I'm thinking of trying something like this- but I don't want to get in over my head with the management of it all.  Any advice?
Thanks to Lon and Mary Jane for your posts!
on November 14, 2013 6:08pm
I am appreciating all of your thoughful responses-- feel free to keep them coming!  I am not finding the "teaching" to be teaching to be as challenging as the "assessment"- how to listen to individuals in large group context.  Thanks for the ideas!
on March 14, 2014 9:59am
Smart Music.  You program what you wish to assess.  It does most of the work.
Applauded by an audience of 1
on March 15, 2014 9:38pm
During clean up time at the end of each class, ask 5 kids who wants to go. You can rotate through a class in two weeks and start again, all while continuing to do class Sightreading at each rehearsal. Have a rubric handy and keep scores in a spreadsheet for evidence. 
on March 16, 2014 10:10am
I've made it into a game in my classes, where I'll have a sheet projected on the screen (or laminate sheets you hold and flip through, if you don't have a projector) with melodic fragments and rhythmic fragments.  I accompany them with a steady boom-chick on the keyboard (or, in the case of 3/4 and 6/8, boom, chick-chick), while calling on individuals to sing, or in the case of rhythmic exercises, clap or stomp, the various fragments.  After we get cooking, we'll start combining them (the melodies and rhythms projected are written in a way to be able to easily connect to one another).  Then I'll put the room in teams and make them do different things simultaneously (and in my mind, I know which melodies work with others).  It's a load of fun, and usually everyone is willing to try without being too bashful.  I don't write any evaluative notes down, and I don't typically fix students in front of the rest, I just rely on my memory as to which students need help in which areas.  Then, I set up appointments to help those students out. 
on March 17, 2014 6:26am
The best method I've seen which minimizes use of class time and keeps the assessment as authentic to a choral setting as possible I learned from Tom Hassig in Minnesota, an amazing teacher.   It utilizes handheld recorders that the students use to record themselves during group singing in class.  There are several handheld recorders for students to use, so that each class we can get through a good portion of the class.  
After practicing each exercise once, and working out of any interval or rhythm issues, I ask those with recorders to record themselves singing it once through with the whole class.  They say their name and which exercise they are singing just before beginning.  Therefore, the whole class is singing, as well as those students.  When they are finished they pass the recorders to another student, or place them back on the shelf, depending on if we are doing more exercises or not.  Students tend to be much less nervous in the group setting than singing solo or in small groups, and much more likely to do their best.  
Then after school, I spend about 20 minutes listening to all the recordings from the day.  They go by quickly, as each one is only 10 seconds long.  Using a simple rubric, I record each student's grade and move on to the next.  The whole process starts again the next day.  By the end of the semester, I will have heard each student several times.  You can do it so that students can have multiple tries, and their is no embarrassment issue among students.  
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