Music & Band Report Cards

Dear Parents,

As a new teacher at JLMS this year, I wanted our report card to more specifically define your child’s progress as a musician.  With this in mind, report cards for music and band students will have a different look.  Instead of seeing this…





You will instead see something like this…




SEC (secure)


DEV (developing)


BEG (beginning)



Analysis & Evaluation


Composition & Improvisation


For your reference, here are brief definitions of these areas of critique:

  • Tone: sound quality of the performance on an instrument

  • Pitch: how high or low a note is

  • Rhythm: the arrangement of notes of different duration

  • Expression: loud/soft, jazz/rock/classical, short/long, etc.

  • Analysis & Evaluation: the ability to analyze and evaluate our performance and the performances of others

  • Composition & Improvisation: Student-composed music, written down or created “in the moment”

Comments will provide clarifying feedback.  More specific information for this change is given below.  Please contact me with any questions.


Brett Dimmer

JLMS Music/Band Teacher - 262-376-5869

Why the change?  How is this better?

Previous method

Grading for Learning / Standards-based Grading

Tests and final grades cover a wide range of material, and the individual standards measured by each test are not identified.  An entire unit may be summed up in one grade.

Specific skills or standards are shown and your child’s current achievement level is listed.  The online Skyward gradebook will provide even more detail as to how these performance levels were achieved.  Click on the triangle next to the course or skill to activate the drop-down and show more detail.

Grades for the term are often averaged to determine a final grade.

Student performance level is determined by the level to which they have grown, not by averaging performance levels which have been outgrown.  The goal of the teacher is to help all students master all standards/skills.

Students are given two opportunities (initial test & a make-up, corrective, or reassessment) to demonstrate mastery of a skill.

All work is formative, or practice, until the student has shown mastery.  Once mastery is attained and the skill is demonstrated to be secure, the evaluation is complete, and students can move on to more advanced learning and enrichment experiences.  Focussing on standards allows us to better answer the guiding questions of our Professional Learning Community:

  1. What do students need to learn?

  2. How do we know that they have learned?

  3. What do we do when students are not learning?

  4. What do we do when students have already learned a concept?

The music performance rubric itself has been used for many years at JLMS and GHS.  You can view the entire JLMS instrumental rubric here:

Band performance assessments take place in lessons and rehearsals.  It takes quite a bit of time to hear all students individually and assess their progress, which is why the band gradebook is not updated as often as other gradebooks.


Rick Wormeli video on Grading for Learning:

“A grade represents a clear and accurate indicator of what a student knows and is able to do – mastery.  With grades, we document the progress of students and our teaching, we provide feedback to students and their parents, and we make instructional decisions regarding the students.”  (This quote is from p. 103 of Wormeli’s “Fair Isn’t Always Equal: Assessing and Grading in Differentiated Classroom,” Portland, ME, published by Stenhouse in 2006.)

The Grafton School District prepared a parent and student grading document when the initial grading guidelines were released in 2013.  While minor changes have been made to some of the procedures listed, the majority of the document reflects current grading practices in the Grafton schools.  View the parent & student document here: