Now, assessing fingerings is a tremendous challenge, because in your band or orchestra classroom (and I teach BOTH) there are up to 12 and 4 (respectively) different sets of fingering for each note. Do we really have time to make 16 DIFFERENT VERSIONS of every question of every fingering test? No way! This is the beauty of the StepWise fingering flashcards. They handle all of the transpositions and different instrument fingering systems for you. And they allow for DAILY assessment. Here are some different ways notes can be grouped for assessment with the StepWise instrument fingering flash cards:
1. Choose a small set of notes some students are struggling with, and use the numbers on the cards (instead of note names)to get all instruments using the same concert pitch notes
2. Choose one of 7 scales to focus on, and use the symbol for that scale to get everyone using the same concert pitch scale (i.e. triangle or house)
3. Choose a certain number of notes from the high range or low range of each instrument and say, for example, "Let's work on the highest 5 notes from your set of flash cards" (however, these notes will not match in concert pitch across the whole band or orchestra)
4. Work randomly on the whole range of notes playable on each instrument by using the whole set of flash cards
Once you have chosen the cards students will use, there are several ways to handle the assessment of students' knowledge.
1. Allow students to self-assess in preparation for other types of assessment (which are more accurate and more "high pressure")
2. Use partner assessment by having students team up and quiz each other. Each set of StepWise flashcards comes with 8 different activities and games for partners or teams.
3. Use dry-erase written assessments regularly, in which students write their answers with a dry-erase marker on a sheet protector. StepWise Publications will soon have free pdf's of various assessment pages for this purpose.
4. Use regular written assessments of note names and fingerings, such as write-ins, matching, and multiple choice tests. StepWise Publications will soon have such assessments available online, including bubble-sheet tests that can be graded quickly by Grade Cam and other scan tron grading systems.
The future of musical instrument assessment is surprisingly "old school": flash cards! Particularly the StepWise flashcards and accompanying assessment tools. Your band and orchestra students will learn their notes and fingerings like never before!