Found this video today courtesy of Richard Kessler’s arts ed blog, Dewey 21C. It is a wonderful example of arts learning but even more than that, a call to more expansive thinking around not only assessment, but of what learning – whole, complete, emotionally-complex – learning can look like.
Granted, it is music and perhaps the emotional bond to a biology experiment might be more difficult to attain, but the point is this – why only push toward an “A” when there is so much more to knowledge, to learning than getting 90% of the answers right on a test.
Full disclosure – I was a band geek. I played clarinet until I got braces, then I played percussion. I LOVED band and I LOVED Mr. Marks, the band director, because he always pushed us to do more, be more, be better. I assume we got grades in band but it was never about that. It was the joy of learning the formations and the music. I was never very good (not Benny Goodman-good although I certainly fantasized I was) but there was something special about making that sound, hitting those notes, playing with others that I would like all students to experience.