The reason we do active assessment is because our music room is active. Every activity is tied to a larger learning goal. The assessment doesn’t happen after the activity, it is the activity.

Victoria Boler

Assessment is one of those things that I really really struggled with when I first started teaching. I think I mostly didn’t have a lot of knowledge about how assessment in the music room relates to assessment in other subjects, whether it should be the same or different, and how it could fit in the same box as the other grades my students are receiving on a report card.

I’ve learned over time a couple of things: (1) active assessment is embedded and inherent in what we do in our music classrooms, as long as we are intentional about our lesson objectives; and (2) although our classrooms function differently than a grade level classroom, we are consistently making observations, gathering data, and adapting our instruction based on what our students need—all of which, I might argue, are at the very heart of what assessment truly is.

Today, I’m talking with my good friend, Victoria Boler, all about how she approaches active, embedded assessment in the music classroom. Victoria is an absolute master pedagog and an expert in how to seamlessly integrate meaningful assessment opportunities into your active music making classroom, based on the intentional activities you are likely already incorporating into your lessons.

Victoria Boler is a leading elementary general music educator and curriculum designer. In addition to general music, Victoria has taught orchestra, choir, and percussion ensembles. In an administrative role, Victoria has served as Fine Arts Coordinator, leading band, orchestra, choir, general music, and musical theater at the programmatic level. With Orff certification in all 3 levels, and a masters in music education, Victoria is also in the process of completing her Kodaly training. She publishes general music curriculum and instructional materials at, where she serves and collaborates with educators in their journey to create grounded and artistic music curriculum for their unique teaching scenarios.

Here’s what we discuss on today’s episode: 

(1) How assessment functions in an overall philosophy of music teaching
(2) How to keep up with regular assessments as a natural part of the lesson planning process
(3) How you can learn more about active embedded assessment, and specifically, how you can work with Victoria on this very topic.

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