The Kobayashi Maru assessment in Music class

So then…

After an engaging discussion about curriculum with my fellow compatriots Steve and Phil, I realized that group work was going to be an important assessment focus for my second unit of grade 8 – Theme & Variations. After thinking about reflection questions, music journal prompts, or possible formative quizzes, I started thinking:

If I were to design a formative quiz to test group working skills (patience, time management, leadership, delegation, debate, participation, engagement), I would have to give the Kobayashi Maru test. By giving each student a piece of paper with their role (leader, antagonizer, yes-man, dead-weight) or at higher levels by thinking hat colour (i.e. black hat=logic, red as emotions, etc.), an assignment to compose a piece of music within sixty minutes could be given. As questions to be answered after, the answers would consist of those group attributes combined with elements of music or tasks that were either successful or not.

I’ve seen this activity before, and using it in music class just reinforces my belief that music can intrinsically instruct and that be reframing the assessment, music is a core subject of any thoughtful school.


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