Teacher Tip: Student Learner Outcomes


The below post comes to you from Richard Tengowski, Director of Bands for the Kohler School District in Wisconsin. Richard shares how he uses SmartMusic to achieve Student Learner Outcomes (SLOs). He teaches elementary, middle and high school concert bands, jazz ensemble, pep band, drum-line and secondary general music.

This past year, I used SmartMusic to complete our sight-reading SLO for 9th grade students. SmartMusic has a sight-reading library that contains 10 levels of difficulty and over 600 composed examples.

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When opened in SmartMusic, the music is covered so the students cannot see it. By clicking the triangle on the Sight Reading button, a menu appears so that you can select the amount of study time the students have before the example starts.

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After the music is performed, it is automatically assessed and recorded.

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We increased our average sight-reading score from 44 to 62. This increase exceeded our SLO goal by 18 points!

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Here is the nuts and bolts process I used. You are free to copy this and modify it for your own use.

Identify the Student/School Learning Objective

  • To increase the sight-reading accuracy of ninth grade students by 10%
  • Students will sight read and record music utilizing SmartMusic sight-reading modules.
  • Students will sight read music with a difficulty level of 2.5 music (using the standard 1-6 level of difficulty scale).

Reason for choosing this SLO objective: to improve the student’s reading skill of processing new information and applying it in a performance setting.

Content Addressed:

  • Music Standards: Content Standard E: Students in Kohler School District will read and notate music.
  • Wisconsin Standard E.7 – sight-read, accurately and expressively, music with a level of difficulty of 3, on a scale of 1 to 6.
  • Difficulty level 2 is an 8th grade outcome and difficulty level 3 is a 12th grade outcome.
  • For the purpose of this goal, we will use music at the difficulty level 2.5.

 SLO Process: 9th Grade instrumental students will be doing this SLO.

  • Students will be assessed and evaluated one time during the second and fourth quarters.
  • Student recordings captured using SmartMusic will assess and evaluate student accuracy.
  • Scores will be imported into a spreadsheet and calculated for student growth.

Strategies and Support:

  • Students will review STARS approach to sight-reading during individual instruction time:
    • (Sharps/flats, Time/tempo, Accidentals, Rhythms, Signs/symbols)
  • Students will have a limited amount of visual preparation before the actual performance.
  • Students will perform with SmartMusic and record and analyze each individual performance.
  • Student scores will be entered in a spreadsheet for future comparison.
  • Student and teacher will reflect and discuss the pros/cons of the sight reading exercise.


Picture 4Rich Tengowski is proud to begin his 28th year as Director of Bands at Kohler Public Schools. He is also the Past-President of the Wisconsin Music Educators Association and has taken leadership roles with the Wisconsin Comprehensive Musicianship through Performance Project and the Wisconsin Challenging Content Standards Task Force in developing standards for the state of Wisconsin. Tengowski’s work has been published in a recent book entitled Shaping Sound Musicians and MENC publications entitled Performance Standards for Music, Strategies for Teaching Beginning and Intermediate Band and Strategies for Teaching High School Band.  Mr. Tengowski is a 2002 Herb Kohl Educational Fellowship Award Recipient and was recently inducted into the Wisconsin Bandmaster Association.

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