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.