With every new specification comes a new set of marking criteria. I have moved to Edexcel from AQA and I must say I am really “enjoying” marking the performances with the new criteria. It is split into three areas that you consider:
- Technical control – Technique
- Expression and interpretation
- Technical control (accuracy) and expression and interpretation (fluency)
It is important that students are really aware of this criteria and that they think about how they are meeting these goals in their performance. One thing i often find is that students don’t fully take advantage of the simple things like dynamic markings and tempo changes. Playing a piece and including everything that is on the page is crucial. Students need to also ensure that they play a piece that they can handle, but also push themselves to higher grades as Grade 4 is the standard and anything higher will get them potentially higher marks. It is worth nothing at this stage that when a piece is Grade 1 you are actually fairly restricted on what marks you can give the students.
My approach to performing is to complete a performance at least once every term. This is recorded in-front of the class and they all help support each other. I then mark the performance and give them a chance to listen to their recording over our learning environment. It is really important that they listen back to themselves to see where they went wrong and right. The more they can get in the habit of recording themselves the better as one of the criteria grids specifically looks at technique and the tone of the instrument/voice. They can easily do this with their phone at home and this could be set as a homework that you then mark.
I am really pleased with the Edexcel criteria and I think I have got my head round it. I still doubt myself of course, and wonder what the moderators and examiners will be looking for, but at the end of the day you just have to go with your gut and experience.
I thought it might be useful to create a document with the performing assessment criteria on it that I could then easily send to students and upload onto the learning environment. So I have done that and included a copy here that might be useful to you. Getting students to mark the work of others is also a great idea, maybe performances from last year or even a professional performance. They just need to really understand what the examiner wants.
I hope this is helpful to you and your students.