Collecting Data

As I mentioned in my post about Standards-Based Learning, we utilize Google Docs for the vast majority of our data collection. Each teacher and student have a Google Apps account (firstname.lastname@staff.ankenyschools.org for teachers, StudentID@students.ankenyschools.org for students). We created a Google Form utilizing the pieces of our Wind Rubric and Percussion Rubric to allow for quick entry of information during a lesson.

We also have poster size (nearly 3' x 4') laminated versions of our rubric posted in every practice and rehearsal room in our three buildings 6-12. This way our teachers and students have a visual reference when giving descriptive feedback.

Google Forms are excellent for collecting this type of data on this scale. With nearly 200 6th graders receiving lessons from five different teachers, processing the information can be a daunting task! The Google Form dumps into a Google Sheet, much like an Excel document. Below is a sample of the data with me as a lesson student:

You can see how this makes dealing with a grade book much easier as well as much more visual. My (wind) lessons put ratings to the left. Scott's (percussion) ratings are to the right. There are 2 more columns to the right where a teacher can put comments about the current lesson and an assignment for the next lesson. As long as we have access to Google Docs (computer, iPad, etc.) we can look up/keep track of where our students are in their lessons.

At the current time, lessons are considered formative grades and are not included in a high school student's overall academic grade. Our district uses Infinite Campus for grades. Our current high school grade book is split in to four categories. Only one of the categories is weighted and counts towards a student's overall academic grade. The remaining categories are unweighted (formative) and are there to report to students and parents about how students are doing within those categories. They are:

  1. Assessments - weighted, includes grades converted from SmartMusic assignments
  2. Wind Lessons - unweighted, includes assignments for each category from the Wind Rubric
  3. Percussion Lessons - unweighted, includes assignments for each category from the Percussion Rubric
  4. Attendance - unweighted, shows the number of lessons attended in an 18-week semester (goal of 10)

For privacy reasons, I am not allowed to post data from Infinite Campus to show you what that looks like. In a future post, I will detail specifically some of the tricks within Infinite Campus that we are using to make SBL work.

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Burton Hable

Burton Hable is an instrumental music educator from Central Iowa. In 2013 he helped open Centennial High School in Ankeny, the first time in forty years that a school district in Iowa expanded to two high schools. He served there through 2018 as Assistant Director of Bands: conducting the 10th Grade Symphonic Band, directing the varsity Jazz Collective, co-directing the Centennial Marching and Pep Bands, teaching music theory, and providing individual and small group lessons to brass students in grades 6-12 at Prairie Ridge Middle School, Northview Middle School, and Centennial High School. During his tenure in Ankeny, enrollment in band grew from 450 to nearly 700, the jazz program expanded from four to seven ensembles, and ensembles under his direction were invited to perform at Iowa State University, Harper College, and the Veterans Day Parade in New York City.