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Newbiemum
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Could anyone please shed any light on ballet school reports ?  My DD seems very unhappy with her first report . She has scored a 4 “ less than satisfactory “ for her aesthetics. Is this something that she can improve / change ? Her other marks were a satisfactory 5 apart from a 6 for artistry . She says all friends all scored much higher and is getting worried about her impending assessment. Any advice would be appreciated .

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12 minutes ago, Newbiemum said:

Could anyone please shed any light on ballet school reports ?  My DD seems very unhappy with her first report . She has scored a 4 “ less than satisfactory “ for her aesthetics. Is this something that she can improve / change ? Her other marks were a satisfactory 5 apart from a 6 for artistry . She says all friends all scored much higher and is getting worried about her impending assessment. Any advice would be appreciated .

Is this her first report at vocational school ie yr7 or further up the school? 

If you don’t mind me asking. 

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All I can suggest is not to fret over what others received in the yr group but to speak directly with the staff about your concerns. 

Mom sure other pupils may have ‘concerns’ on their reports but ‘forget’ to mention those only highlighting the positives. 

 

Good luck

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Sometimes aesthetic marks can change as they get older as no one in year 7 looks the same as they will when older. For many schools the aesthetic mark is much more than just appearance. My daughters has changed significantly over the years so I wouldn’t worry too much about it. 

Also I would encourage them not to share marks - my daughters group never has, better for them. She has a long way to go from year 7 so don’t let her start worrying about marks yet, they will all have different strengths and weaknesses. 

Edited by Waitingmum
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2 hours ago, Waitingmum said:

Sometimes aesthetic marks can change as they get older as no one in year 7 looks the same as they will when older. For many schools the aesthetic mark is much more than just appearance. My daughters has changed significantly over the years so I wouldn’t worry too much about it. 

Also I would encourage them not to share marks - my daughters group never has, better for them. She has a long way to go from year 7 so don’t let her start worrying about marks yet, they will all have different strengths and weaknesses. 

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20 minutes ago, Newbiemum said:

Sorry I’m not sure what this means ?

 there's a  certain something  about  the line  some people have  , it can also cover 'sparkle' -  also  you could have someone who is  technically  very very good but  just lacks as  certain something .... 


as for  aesthetics,  excuse my being a Northern Fangirl again, but in the  triple bill  , specifically  in 'Shape of sound'  , despite the  lighting, costuming and starting positions  you will instantly spot  certain dancers (  e.g.  Hannah Bateman) in the first minute because of their  line and aesthetics ...    

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1 hour ago, Nicola H said:

 there's a  certain something  about  the line  some people have  , it can also cover 'sparkle' -  also  you could have someone who is  technically  very very good but  just lacks as  certain something .... 


as for  aesthetics,  excuse my being a Northern Fangirl again, but in the  triple bill  , specifically  in 'Shape of sound'  , despite the  lighting, costuming and starting positions  you will instantly spot  certain dancers (  e.g.  Hannah Bateman) in the first minute because of their  line and aesthetics ...    

I didn’t realise sparkle was connected to aesthetics would that not come under the Artistry category!

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5 minutes ago, Newbiemum said:

I didn’t realise sparkle was connected to aesthetics would that not come under the Artistry category!

bit of both  i think 

like so many things seperating  out  what exactly goes  where  is subjective ... 

is  'right dancer i nthe right role '  aesthetics , artistry  or both ?   assuming the dancers in question are equally  technically competent ?

I think the take away message  has to be do discuss  this with the teachers who  wrote it, 

I don;t teach dance ( because i  do not have the  experience , skills and knowledge to at this time)  although i do and have taught  other  subjects at  various levels and in various settings and in some  assessment structures it can be a nightmare trying to work out which criterias  are the best fit / the desired by the  system fit  to an area of work ... 

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6 minutes ago, Nicola H said:

bit of both  i think 

like so many things seperating  out  what exactly goes  where  is subjective ... 

is  'right dancer i nthe right role '  aesthetics , artistry  or both ?   assuming the dancers in question are equally  technically competent ?

I think the take away message  has to be do discuss  this with the teachers who  wrote it, 

I don;t teach dance ( because i  do not have the  experience , skills and knowledge to at this time)  although i do and have taught  other  subjects at  various levels and in various settings and in some  assessment structures it can be a nightmare trying to work out which criterias  are the best fit / the desired by the  system fit  to an area of work ... 

Thank you for your help it is kind of you to take the time although I think the advice I’m looking for would need to come from either a ballet teacher or someone with a child at a top vocational school as the reporting system is very specific .

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The hardest thing about ballet is the number of things you need to make it to a career. EG my DD has beautiful lines, but doesn't have the feet and stresses too much to 'sparkle' much. I say to her that she might have 8 out of the 10 things needed, and as she doesn't want a career she should just keep making her beautiful lines, which people tell me they love to watch. But assessments and exams only give so much credit for lines! (I also tell her that outside ballet, nobody actually cares about bendy feet!)

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Do you have a parent/teacher consultation coming up soon? If not ask to speak to your Dd teacher so they can explain why she got the mark she did and what advice they can offer for her to improve. They should be telling her daily what she needs to work on and most vocational schools require the students to keep a dance diary to note down corrections and coaching advice. 

I would second the advice not to share marks and appraisal results among peers, you’ll be surprised how much exaggeration there is of marks. It caused us a lot of grief over the years until the AD gave her feedback on an appraisal and suddenly she realised she wasn’t the bottom of the class, just a lot more honest than some. 

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My advice is to tell your daughter that she is doing well, she was offered a place at her school because she was exactly what they were looking for, she must have shone. Keep working on her lines, with lovely stretched feet etc, lovely neck line and arms. There is NOTHING wrong with her body, make sure she know this, it’s very important. I hated the knocks that my daughter received along her journey at vocational school, something that I would not repeat twice if we had to go through it again. She flourished once she went to Central School of Ballet, For her far more supportive. 

Which school is your daughter attending, speak to her teachers if you can, simply to put your daughters mind at rest. 

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20 hours ago, Newbiemum said:

She says all friends all scored much higher and is getting worried about her impending assessment.

 

I always advise my students (undergrads) that 'Comparison is the thief of joy.' We mark & assess individuals according to a set of criteria - we don't mark/assess individuals by comparing them to others.** Individuals are marked differently because well - they're individuals and all different!

 

And the other thing to say - from the point of view as an examiner and assessor of performance - is that we often give the same mark for very different reasons. I'd advise you DD to look at the narrative feedback, not the number. A number (on what scale? 1 to 10? 1 to 5?) is a fairly blunt instrument - even a percentage mark (ie out of 100). The written feedback is the important thing, not the number.

 

The further thing I say to students is that "Feedback is a gift" - it's up to the receiver to decide what to do with it. If we are never told what is deficient, as well as what we're good at, how can we improve?????

 

I'm currently doing some fairly intensive personal training at the gym. I "fail" regularly - I can't do a full body-weight pull up (yet!) and with heavier weights I sometimes fail at the 4th or 5th repetition (getting stuck at the bottom of a heavy back squat, oh boy). My trainer persistently reminds me that it's the point of "failure" which is the training point: it's where I learn my current capacity, and the point at which I need to train, so that it becomes my starting point, not my failure point.

 

**The educational technical language for this is 'criterion-referenced assessment' The comparative method of assessment is "norm-referenced assessment" eg the infamous "bell curve" distribution model)

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Oh and the other thing to say ... (gosh, I am full of advice today !!!  😋 ) is that it's particularly tricky examining & assessing performance. Performance is often very closely connected with a sense of self - it's about one's body, one's voice, one's feelings as expressed in performance.

 

Students getting a 55% for an essay, students will often say "Oh well, that's fair enough, I wrote it the night before." 

 

Whereas, a 55% for a performance is interpreted as a slight against them as a person.

 

But it is not. Marking is always about the work. Not the person. The difficulty is that "the work" is the pupil's own body - and their sense of self. So could your DD start to think about her body as her tool or instrument, and feedback is about how to use that better? It's not that she is an insufficient person, but that her teachers believe she can improve how she uses her tool of communication. And that her aim as a performer is not to show her feelings, but to perform in such a way as to make the audience feel

 

Take away the personalisation. Assessment isn't an expression of personal feelings - teachers really don't have the emotional energy to hold strong feelings about individual pupils.

 

Edited by Kate_N
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3 hours ago, Kate_N said:

 

And the other thing to say - from the point of view as an examiner and assessor of performance - is that we often give the same mark for very different reasons. I'd advise you DD to look at the narrative feedback, not the number. A number (on what scale? 1 to 10? 1 to 5?) is a fairly blunt instrument - even a percentage mark (ie out of 100). The written feedback is the important thing, not the number.

 

The further thing I say to students is that "Feedback is a gift" - it's up to the receiver to decide what to do with it. If we are never told what is deficient, as well as what we're good at, how can we improve?????

Thanks for this useful comment.... so why oh why does the RAD - so often the benchmark of achievement - persist with marking by score alone with absolutely no feedback or useful critique? I think it is actually a bit of an insult when exams can cost over £100 for higher levels (& still a huge sum for younger pupils too) for them to give no feedback or indication of what may have been good or what needs work...I recall when younger that the feedback or ‘constructive criticism’ was really helpful. Invariably it backed up teacher comments & quite possibly actually got through to me to actually assist in making improvements! ‘Now show you enjoy it’ on an exam report I felt as a very shy 14 year old gave me permission to perform & smile (whereas hearing it from teacher alone I was still stifled as scared to appear a show off!)

LAMDA/ABRSM/Trinity exams for drama/music etc all cost similar sums yet on the whole these exams are taken 1 at a time so a) examiner gets more direct knowledge of each candidate & b) you get written comments scribed at the time for almost every section/aspect judged. The marks can then make sense etc etc. I could go on but you get my drift...

Yes, msny ballet exams last longer to show syllabus & possibly to take an exam one at a time may be too exhausting (ah the relief to take a breather when other candidates perform!) but really, the RAD are getting a huge hourly rate for exams & giving very little back by way of comments shared with candidate. They seem to write in the exam....for 4 or more people this must mean much time not spent actually watching so could miss the good the bad & the ugly!  So do they then go away, re-read then mark? It seems very hard to accept a mark with no back up text  whatsoever & leads to far too much emphasis (esp by Parents) in scores & comparing these.... not helpful & not going to really aid improvements of growth as an artist IMHO....

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I’m a BBO girl through and through, so I was utterly bewildered earlier this year when I entered a student for an RAD exam and there was absolutely no written feedback! It made no sense to me at all! The comments are considerably more valuable than the marks even before examiners had to type reports and the handwriting was illegible! 

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From personal experience of a similar situation my advice is don't over think it, this is the world of ballet, not peer reviewed science. Speak to the teacher, sooner rather than later, it's their job to teach and support if improvement is needed. Don't forget you are also paying for this.

 

It was one of the academic staff we connected with initially but with their help things went from very arms length to some much constructive critique and more personal attention which rapidly improved DDs dancing. Still got this years appraisal to get through so things might still come up.

 

Year 7 its still very early days, plenty of time to improve, mature and progress. Engage with the school., they can feel very remote, judging and intimidating, I don't think this is intentionally in most cases but it will get in the way unless you make that first contact.

 

Final thought, knockbacks can make the most resilient dancers of the future, it's not all about sparkle, dogged determination is also a vital skill to cultivate.

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On 03/12/2018 at 09:51, Kate_N said:

Oh and the other thing to say ... (gosh, I am full of advice today !!!  😋 ) is that it's particularly tricky examining & assessing performance. Performance is often very closely connected with a sense of self - it's about one's body, one's voice, one's feelings as expressed in performance.

 

Students getting a 55% for an essay, students will often say "Oh well, that's fair enough, I wrote it the night before." 

 

Whereas, a 55% for a performance is interpreted as a slight against them as a person.

 

But it is not. Marking is always about the work. Not the person. The difficulty is that "the work" is the pupil's own body - and their sense of self. So could your DD start to think about her body as her tool or instrument, and feedback is about how to use that better? It's not that she is an insufficient person, but that her teachers believe she can improve how she uses her tool of communication. And that her aim as a performer is not to show her feelings, but to perform in such a way as to make the audience feel

 

Take away the personalisation. Assessment isn't an expression of personal feelings - teachers really don't have the emotional energy to hold strong feelings about individual pupils.

 

Brilliantly put Kate, I have to say that I think this is one of the best posts I have ever read on this forum.

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