Baseline-Ours or Theirs?

As the new school year is looming, there’s lots of talk about baseline testing for music. What ‘tests’ do people use, how do they convert test scores into levels/grades/whatever the heck they are using in the post-levels era?

It seems there’s a real market for the perfect baseline test, one that solves all the problems and provides the solutions.

In this post I reflected on the minefield that is often the start of the year 7 experience in music. But whose baseline is it anyway?


What happens when you get to year 6? Chatting to a friend with a child just coming to the end of primary school they told me how suddenly everything changed. Gradually the topic work that brought together geography, history, art, science decreased and the volume of homework grew and grew. Sheet after sheet of mock questions came home, there were extension groups that meant missing younger years doing class assemblies, RE and topic left to PPA cover and the child grew disillusioned with school and increasingly stressed about the pressure they and their teacher were under. Tales of being shouted at by the deputy head and behaviour in class deteriorating worried the parents, yet there wasn’t a thing they could do. As a borderline level 6 student the pressure was on. When I asked the child about the last term before the SATs he can only remember literacy, writing and…

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What is good feedback in music?

DSC_1701I wrote this blog following  a marking review in school that involved every department in the school  submitting work from selected students to be reviewed by panels of staff from different subjects who responded to a set of questions from SLT. Of course when I arrived for my panel session there was a box of exercise books and the questions were clearly geared around what you might expect to find inside these.

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