Above is an extract from a twitter conversation about the ways in which the world without levels is being filled with systems that may not be very helpful to a child’s musical development and progression.
The conversation starts with the spectre of GCSE grade criteria setting the benchmarks for all that comes before and so creating a ‘flight path’ to GCSE.
Then Anna’s point about the use of meaningless labels – the B2 mystery and the call for age-related standards that can be referred to.
Then Kirsty’s concern to take into account each student’s exposure to a music education.
In https://jfin107.wordpress.com/2014/11/28/the-problem-of-standards-in-music-education-and-the-loss-of- I explored the tension between individual learning journies of pupils and the need to define ‘standards’.
By standards we imply commonly agreed age-related standards. By the end of Key Stage 3 …
In https://jfin107.wordpress.com/2015/04/17/putting-assessment-back-in-its-box/ I found a way of addressing standards by relating Year 9’s Silent Disco’s Dance tracks to an expert’s view of what could be expected in the field of Dance Music at this age.
In this way the quality of work produced had a reliable reference point. And isn’t this how informal learners monitor their progress beyond the school, measuring themsleves against the models they seek to emulate?
Or another approach to the Silent Disco case offered the idea of whole class evaluation of achievement replacing individual assessment. And isn’t this how community music-making flourishes?
Perhaps Year 9 Katie can help. Katie has experienced her year 9 music without levels and without labels.
‘I found it quite good because we could just get on with our work and do what we want with our piece, without stress of leveling; we could progress at our own steady pace with the freedom of experiences the way we do things in music without the constant idea that we have to be a certain level. However I think sometimes we do need level descriptors to point us in the right direction. But we should all be able to determine our own working level to become better musicians.’