Student evaluations

Sue Ellen Dubbert said: Dec 16, 2009
Sue Ellen Dubbert
Suzuki Association Member
Piano
Madison, WI
13 posts

Has anyone ever taken on a formal written student evaluation procedure (i.e. the teacher has a set form and fills it out for each student)?

I currently teach at an arts school where parents and older students evaluate their teacher each semester, so this is a process that they are familiar with.

My goal is to complete an evaluation (really more like a progress report) each semester in an attempt to open more channels for feedback regarding student progress and my goals for the coming semester. I intend to make these forms brief and constructive and to give them directly to the parent with the option of sharing with their child. In my latest informational email I gave parents a heads up that this process will begin starting in the next semester.

I have actually done student evaluations in the past at another school where it was instituted by the school’s director and was an established part of the student’s experience. I have the “ok” to try this out where I currently teach, but I’m curious if anyone has any tips!

Diane said: Dec 16, 2009
Diane AllenViolin
245 posts

I have done student evaluations in the past. The typical form that is used for Solo and Ensemble Contests works out well and students can be rated on a scale of 1—5 with 1 being best. You can sum up the total and get an overall average score. Some kids totally respond to having a specific day where they are evaluated (tested!) In that case you can give an assignment ahead of time (as well as a deadline) that consists of a certain number of scales, etudes and a solo. Here’s a typical sampling of items to evaluate:

Violin Posture (left hand)
Bow Posture (right hand)
Intonation
Pitch
Tone
Stage Presence
Artistry (interpretation)
Comments: (Use this for more subjective concepts)

Good Luck!

Diane
http://www.myviolinvideos.com
Videos of student violin recitals and violin tutorials.

said: Dec 17, 2009
 89 posts

As a parent, I’m feeling uncomfortable with this notion of “testing” and “evaluations.” It doesn’t sound very “Suzuki” to me…and frankly, if you require a separate form for this kind of thing, you may want to take another look at your regular communication pattern with parents and students in your studio.

YMMV. :)

Sue Ellen Dubbert said: Dec 17, 2009
Sue Ellen Dubbert
Suzuki Association Member
Piano
Madison, WI
13 posts

Thanks for your feedback.

Let me explain my situation a bit further. I am a piano teacher, so I’m not looking to comment on pitch and so on. I do not intend this to be a “test” and would not include a rating of any kind. This is more to give feed back on the following:

  1. Punctuality
  2. Attention during lessons
  3. General progress
  4. Goals for the coming semester

I teach many students and they are all on back to back 30 minute lessons (not ideal…I know), so I literally have no down time between lessons to discuss these things with parents. I do not not like to discuss things of this nature when the child is present and I can’t create a situation where four-year-olds are walking around the waiting room alone! If there has been an ongoing and serious problem, I make sure to discuss via email or phone, but for the general “housekeeping” feedback, I think this approach might help.

I have received comments on my own evaluations (the ones where parents fill out) that they would like more feedback regarding student progress. Unfortunately, the parents who ask for this feedback never sign their name to the form, so I don’t know who feels like they need more information.

These student evaluations would never be used as “evidence” to build a case against a student nor to “vent” my own frustrations or as a “test” to weed students out (where I teach, I can’t really dismiss students anyway). That would surely be counter to the Suzuki philosophy!!! Perhaps this is not a perfect solution, but, I’m willing to try it in order help students and parents improve.

Kim said: Dec 18, 2009
 39 posts

I am not a teacher. But my kid’s music school has 1-2 weeks a year that are parent-teacher conferences instead of a regular lesson. We also regularly exchange e-mail with out teachers (they both encourage e-mail/phone calls). It is hard to have conversations like this when lesson time is limited!

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