Assessment: It's there but will they use it?

      If your choir is part of a school experience, then you can assess students' use of electronic learning through periodic assessments that become part of the final grade.

      Such assessment is easily accomplished with work that involves web forms, because student work is emailed to you, you can reply to it, and you can keep it as part of a student's portfolio.

      Score markings and diction practice require other means of assessment. With score markings, I have found it useful to give deadlines for voice sections (for example, depending on the size of the choir, score markings can be due the same day, or one day for the sopranos/altos, the next day for the tenors/ basses). Take some rehearsal time to check the markings. I have found it workable to have section leaders do this for me. If a singer disagrees with the section leader's assessment, he or she is free to appeal to me (on the same day, of course).

      Diction practice is a harder nut to crack. I have sometimes embedded a question at the end of one phrase and an answer at the end of another. At least I know students have listened to it once. You may also want to have a tape recorder available in the rehearsal area or nearby, allowing students one at a time to record themselves speaking the language in question. You can then assess how well they have done. Frankly, I find that a laborious process with a large choir. Here the proof is really in the pudding, i.e., singers feel a sense of accomplishment when they have a handle on the diction and they become quickly aware if one of their colleagues has not done the diction work. Perhaps the best approach is to encourage diction practice as a matter of pride.