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Katie Blomarz

edTPA Submission
December 2014
Task 3

Assessment Commentary
In Task 3: Assessing Student Learning, you will write a commentary, responding
to the prompts below. Your commentary should be no more than 10 singlespaced pages, including the prompts. Attach the assessment used to evaluate
student performance (no more than 5 additional pages) and, if necessary, a
transcription of your feedback to students (no more than 2 additional pages) to
the end of the Assessment Commentary. These additional pages do not count
toward the commentary page limit noted above.
1. Analyzing Student Learning
1. Identify the specific learning objectives and standards measured by
the assessment you chose for analysis.
National Standards:
2. Performing on instruments, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of
music.
3. Improvising melodies, variations, and accompaniments
4. Composing and arranging music within specified guidelines
5. Reading and notating music
6. Listening to, analyzing and describing music
7. Evaluating music and music performances
8. Understanding relationships between music, the other arts, and
disciplines outside the arts.
Learning Objections:
Students will be able to understand:
o How to notate their own compositions
o How to analyze their own musical product
o How to analyze their peers compositions
o How to respond to a performance
o How to perform as a group
2. Provide a graphic (table or chart) or narrative that summarizes student
learning for your whole class. Be sure to summarize student learning
for all evaluation criteria submitted in Task 3, Part D.
Each group received a rubric/checklist to show them exactly how they were being
graded. (See Rubric PDF for the whole file). The rubric was broken down into four main
categories. They were graded on their composition, performance, written response and
participation. Each category had different requirements that were all worth 5 points total.
Some requirements were weighted more than others. For example, if the students did
not include at least one rest in their composition, they would lose 5 points. But, if they
only used two quarter notes instead of the specified three, the students would be
penalized one and a half points.

Within the performance part of the rubrics, students were expected to participate
in the performance. Some students seemed hesitant about playing in front of the class,
but were more focused on practicing after hearing it was required.
The written response section only had two requirements. They needed to have
three complete sentences to present to the class, and it had to reflect their composition.
Before beginning the project, we discussed what was an appropriate written response
and what was not. We discussed that they must have some meaning behind what they
did based on their picture and not just because I felt like it responses.
The participation portion of the rubric helped to ensure participation and
courteous listening during the project. Having done a group project, I made sure I was
able to monitor the work of each group by spending some time with them. I watched
each group work and made sure to answer questions and help lead them in the right
direction. It was a great way to ensure each student was participating in the project, and
not just letting their peers do all the work. I made sure to ask who was doing what and
how they planned to finish everything by the end of the class time. The other point was
that students must be courteous to the other group members performing. I made it clear
to the students that this was a group grade. This helped the students monitor their peers
and keep a respectful class atmosphere during the performances.
3. Use evidence found in the 3 student work samples and the whole
class summary to analyze the patterns of learning for the whole class
and differences for groups or individual learners relative to creating,
performing, or responding to music/dance/theater by applying
After watching the class go through this assessment, there are a few things that I
would do differently within my assessment and my segment as a whole. To start I would
like to introduce my three students. Student 1 was my high functioning student. She has
been taking piano lessons for a few years and really loves to be a leader in the class.
Student 2 is my average, run of the mill student. She is a very bright kid and loves to
learn, but she sometimes has a hard time picking up on topics in the music class. She is
also shy to answer questions and is usually second guessing her responses. Student 3
is a student who is new to the school. She recently moved into the district with her
family. She is a very bright student, but has no prior knowledge to music. Her parents
were concerned about her participation in the class because the arts programs were cut
at her old school. This class is the first experience she has had with music thus far in her
schooling.
I allowed the students to pick their own groups for this assignment. It was
surprising to me when all three of students joined in a group together along with one
more student. This was a great opportunity to assess them individually within their
group. As the students began to work, I went to the three students that I had selected
and asked them to explain to me what their plan of action was for the project. To my
surprise, student 3 seemed to be the leader of the group and spoke on their behalf. She
informed me that each group member had a task. Student 1 would write measure 1,
student 3 would write measure 2, the fourth student in their group would write measure 3
and student 3 would write measure 4. As I watched them work together, I saw each
student help each others creativity. Each student got a chance to write down a draft of
what they thought before making their final decision. Student 3 decided to be the scribe
for the final draft of the assignment. After looking over their notes and their final draft of
the their composition, I did see some points to address. In the rough and final draft of the
composition, student 3 forgot the second beam on the sixteenth notes and the bracket
three above the triplets. I heard student 1 say to her that something did not look right,

but no one in the group changed anything or fixed it. I noticed a similar issue throughout
the classroom. Most, if not all, the groups forgot the bracket 3 about the triplets, along
with the second beam in sixteenth notes. This is a small detail that I never thought to
discuss within in the segment. It was clear to me after going through the compositions
that the students did not grasp this concept. The students knew what their sixteenth note
was in their composition, but it was not in its correct form.
Another thing that I was able to gain from observing all three students was the
growth that student three had made. Even though she did not quite get the notation right,
she came out of her comfort zone to write the composition. She new how many beats
needed to be in each measure and made sure it had the appropriate content that was
stated in the project description. She was also having a great time trying different ideas
and bouncing them off of her other group members. Even though she was shy to answer
questions in the lesson, I could tell through the assessment that she was starting to
internalize these ideas.
To my surprise, student two wanted to arrange the instrumentation for the group.
She told me her reasoning behind each instrument she chose and how she thought it
would best reflect their picture they were given to base the project off of. Even within the
lesson, I could tell that she was absorbing the information very quickly. She was one of
the students in the class who would always raise her hand to answer a question. She
was not very accurate with her responses, but listened intently and always learned from
her mistakes. She started to grasp the new ideas by the end of the segment. She had
great reflective analyses during class that really showed her thinking outside the box.
Student 1 decided to write the written response for her group. Not only did she
write about her own inspirations and reasonings for composing, but also listened to her
group members and reflected upon their ideas, too. Her analysis of their composition
was very well written and really gave the class a different perspective behind the things
they did. Many groups used the written response to explain each rhythm used, but
student 1 reflected on the composition as a whole. She looked at it as one idea that her
group members made together.
After their performance was done, I discussed with the group how they would
assess themselves as a group. The group members all felt included and felt like their
creativity was able to come out through the different aspects of the assignment. Their
performance seemed cohesive, and the students said it was because they really like
what they had created. They were proud to perform it in front of their friends and peers.
All three of the focus students were able to excel at this project. They came from
different backgrounds and knowledge of the material and came together to make a great
product.
2. Feedback to Guide Further Learning
Refer to specific evidence of submitted feedback to support your
explanations.
1. In what form did you submit your evidence of feedback for the 3
focus students?

Written directly on work samples or in a separate


document;

With this specific group, I gave them a few comments on their packets, but
also made sure to give them feedback in person. They preferred to walk through
the assignment with me, than to read comments on their packets.
2. Explain how feedback provided to the 3 focus students addresses
their individual strengths and needs relative to the
standards/objectives measured.
I addressed to each of the students that their leadership really came out in the
project. Student one used her skills from private lessons to dig deeper on their written
analysis. Student two showed her growth through her written measure and through her
arranging skills for the performance. Student three showed her growth by volunteering to
notate their composition.
3. How will you support students to apply the feedback to guide
improvement, either within the learning segment or at a later time?
I will begin to challenge student one on later assignments. She represented a
deeper understanding the content that is above her age. I will encourage her to keep
that up during other classes. Student two has a more creative mind than I imagined. I will
encourage her to keep asking and answering questions and give us more ideas to
branch from in class. Student three started to come out of her shell. I will encourage her
to ask and answer more questions with confidence during class. She has shown great
improvement even just through this segment.
3. Evidence of Language Understanding and Use
You may provide evidence of students language use from ONE, TWO, OR
ALL THREE of the following sources:
0.
use.

Use video clips from Task 2 and provide time-stamp references for language

1.
Submit an additional video file named Language Use of no more than 5 minutes
in length and provide time-stamp references for student language use (this can be
footage of one or more students language use). Submit the clip in Task 3, Part B.
2.

Use the student work samples analyzed in Task 3 and cite language use

When responding to the prompt below, use concrete examples from the clips (using
time-stamp references) and/or student work samples as evidence. Evidence from the
clips may focus on one or more students.
a. Explain and provide evidence for the extent to which your students were able
to use or struggled to use language (selected function, vocabulary, and additional
identified demands from Task 1) to develop content understandings?

During lesson day 3, students were asked to analyze music by listening to


Disneys Fantasia and Aaron Coplands John Henry. These lessons gave the
students an opportunity to work on their analytical skills. The students did a great

job throughout the whole class explaining their analysis of their compositions. As
stated before, student one thought about the piece as a whole. The picture they
were given was the start of a horse race. She wrote, we thought that by
having the beats going from fast to slow it would show the horses slowing down
and growing tired. She discusses how she wants the listener to feel the beat
getting slower. The group chose to start their composition with sixteenth notes
and end with quarter notes. This was done with purpose. They were able to think
critically and analyze their music to create a clear picture for their listeners.
4. Using Assessment to Inform Instruction
a. Based on your analysis of student learning presented in prompts 1bc,
describe next steps for instruction
for the whole class
This class is a well-rounded group of students. They far exceeded my
expectations for this assignment. If I were to continue on with this class, I would want to
aim for another composition project. The next topic for them to learn is note names. I
think that building up to a composition using note names and rhythms would be a great
challenge for them. These students are bright and hard workers who want to produce a
great product. I think introducing them to composition through a group project was a
great place to start. But, next time I would love to work on individual compositions. I think
the class can even benefit from fewer guidelines. They are so creative in their musical
knowledge and analyses that I think having fewer guidelines will help bring out a
wonderful product.

for the 3 focus students and other individuals/groups with specific needs
I discussed my three focus students a little in 2.2, but these students really
blossomed during this activity. It was great to see student one go above and beyond
expectations. Knowing this, the next step for her is to use her more as a leader during
class. All of the students have such a desire to challenge themselves that I think using
student one as an example can really make the students strive to get closer to her
musicianship. I can have her help me write things on the board and be a helper to show
the students where they could also be. In the composition project, I can allow her to use
her piano skills and show us what she has been working on with that.
Student two can take the next step by encouraging her to work with other
students. I think she does a great job in group settings trying different things. For only
having music class for a few months, she is picking up rather quickly.
Student three has shown that she knows more than she leads on. In the future, I
will challenge her to come out of her comfort zone and participate during class more. I
will also ask for her opinion on certain things to show her that I trust her musical instincts
that encourage her to trust hers, too.
b. Explain how these next steps follow from your analysis of students learning.
Support your explanation with principles from research and/or theory.

Through these next steps I can see kids start to use more creativity. It
seems that in some general music classes, they are limited to just learning
instead of creating. I never composed anything in any music class that I was a

part of even through high school. Seeing a bright group of students get so
overjoyed about not just performing, but also performing their own product. Even
as fourth graders, they are able to express great amounts of creativeness and
can come up with some really brilliant work. Especially because music is a fine
art, we should allow students to express themselves through things like notation,
improvisation, composition, and even analysis. They are full of wonderful ideas
that even I as a teacher have gained information from. Keeping their minds
creative at a young age can help these bright fourth graders become inspiring
adults.