Thursday, January 08, 2009

Crazy WASL+ 5th Grade Sight Reading Standard, 10th grade Cubist portrait revised

Somebody asked me where the link to the wacky 5th grade sight reading / singing exercise was and looks like it's gone, but it's been revised. Here was my previous review from a year ago: which complains about asking students to draw a cubist picture of a friend with nipples showing through her shirt or as surrealist lipstick on a garage door. Fifth graders were asked to pick an animal, and compose and sing their own song, as well as sing BY SIGHT a melody from sheet music they had never performed before. Most fifth graders are doing well if they can sing along with kumbaya to a CD player. Most college music majors don't have to, and could not pass such a test.

Well, they've revised standards at here: and the classroom based assessment from hell has been improved to "from heck". This whole thing has to be chucked into the can, not just "revised".

The new "zoo tunes" at allows you to play an instrument rather than sing to perform the composition, and it does not require sight-singing, which is still in the 8th grade version

"Students are asked to perform a sight-singing exercise of four measures of music. Students will be assessed on their understanding of rhythm and steady beat and their ability to perform in the designated key with accurate interval changes, acappella." but the actual test is not posted. My violin teacher was professor at U Washington for string majors, and NONE of his students had to, or even was likely to be able to pass such a test to get a music major degree in COLLEGE.

Here's what they ask 5th graders, it's still completely crazy.

A local zoo is looking for fifth grade music students to entertain its visitors during the summer. You are a musician who would like to be one of the entertainers. The zoo director requires you to perform the following task to determine whether you are selected.

During your audition, the zoo director asks you to create a composition about an animal. Your composition must follow the audition guidelines. You will be evaluated on your use of different musical elements and form. The zoo director requires that you perform your composition with your voice or instrument and fill out a response sheet regarding your composition.
The zoo director tells you that you must meet the following guidelines for creating your composition:
• Choose an animal and determine the voice or instrument that represents it best.(WTF?)
• Write a composition in ABA form using standard or non-standard notation. (WTF?)
• Correctly label each section of the composition using the letters A, B, and A.
• Create a composition that is 12 measures or more in length - example: Section A is 4 measures, Section B is 4 measures, then repeat the four measures of Section A again.(Do 5th graders know what a measure IS?)
(Note: If you are using non-standard notation your piece will run approximately 15- 20 seconds in length.)
• Notate your composition either on the staff paper or on the blank paper provided, so that it is readable and performable. If using non-standard notation, a legend or definition of symbols should be included.
• Demonstrate at least three of the following musical elements in your notation while portraying your animal:
· beat
· rhythm
· pitch
· melody
· harmony
· texture
· timbre/tone color (WTF?)
· dynamics
· tempo
(Some of this is college music theory level stuff)
For your performance, the zoo director requires you to:
• tell what animal you chose,(and not why?)
• identify the musical elements (3 minimum) you chose to portray your animal,
• identify how the musical elements you chose reflect the animal,
• perform your composition in ABA form,
• perform your piece without noticeable interruption, and
• perform using proper technique for your voice or instrument.
The zoo director expects you to create, rehearse, and perform your composition. Then fill out the response sheet provided.

The visual arts exercise that expected 10th graders to paint or draw realistic portraits using impressionist, cubist, or surrealist techniques and explain how color values supported 3D with samples that were in black and white, putting lipstick on a garage door, or had a distorted face with nipples showing is now "revised" into a vegetable still life. Nobody came back to me to agree that this was a truly stupid assessment.

Here's the new version:

A Vegetarian Palette-Still Life Revised 2008
Students are asked to create a realistic and still life composition of an arrangement of fruits and/or vegetables for the front cover of a new vegetarian cookbook. Students will be assessed on their application of the elements and principles of design.

These tests are still clearly created by people who have no freaking idea of what they are doing, they know the buzzwords but they have no idea of average or below average kids are doing. These are standards that even the top 1% most talented students may be expected to fail.

Here's what the revised one looks like, it's stil way beyond what most adults can do:

The Vegetarian Palette

A publishing company wants to hire you as an illustrator to create a realistic drawing or painting for the front cover of a new vegetarian cookbook. As an artist, you are interested in being hired for this job. In order to be considered for this job, you must create a still life illustration from observation using the following guidelines.

Using the elements of form, color, value, space, and implied line you will create a still life illustration of an arrangement of at least three fruits and/or vegetables. Your still life illustration will also be evaluated on your use of the principles of organization: contrast, emphasis and proportion. The editor has asked that you not use any text with or on your drawing or painting.

The art editor of the publishing company will review and evaluate your still life illustration. You must submit your still life illustration and your written response about your still life illustration.

The art editor also requires the following elements in your still life:

· A medium of your choice (watercolor, pastel, color medium, and/or digital medium such as: Photoshop, Illustrator, Paint, Maya, 3-D Studio Max, etc.
· A paper size that is no smaller than 9-by-12 inches or larger than 12-by-18 inches.
· Realistic depiction, drawn from observation of the arrangement of fruits and/or vegetables
(Note: CBPAs pilot student samples utilized at least three examples of fruit or vegetables)
· The still life must appear to be on a surface and not float by using a cast shadow, a background line or other way of implying it is on a solid surface.
· Use of the elements of implied line, form, shape, value, space, color, and texture to represent your
still life.
· Produce a range of color values and gradations to create the illusion of realistic forms in your still life illustration.
· Blend and layer color intentionally and purposefully within your illustration to create depth, contrast and/or emphasis
· Use actual, saturated and reflected color to record your observations emphasizing form.
· Use implied lines rather than outlined edges to create and emphasize form within your illustration.
· Use the principles of contrast, emphasis and realistic proportion to organize the illustration.

After you have completed your still life, the art editor requires you to:

· Give an example of how you used each of the elements: implied line, form, texture, color value, blended and layered color and space.
· Give an example of how you used the principles of emphasis, contrast and proportion to organize your illustration.
· Use visual arts vocabulary correctly.

The art editor has allowed you adequate time to complete the illustration. You will have 20-30 minutes to complete your written response.

1. Describe how you used each of elements and principles listed below to create a realistic still life illustration. Provide specific examples from your work using art vocabulary.

· Implied Line · Form
· Texture
· Color Blended and Layered
Color value Space Contrast Emphasis Proportion

The entire idea behind the classroom based assessment is deeply flawed, as is the outcome based education reform movement it comes from. Please kill it, kill it now before more innocent students are harmed.

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