Tonal Reading

Two versions of this assessment are provided to check student music reading skills. Teachers may choose to use one or both of these versions.

Version 1 is a sight-reading assessment in the key of G major or in the key of E minor. This assessment can take place at the beginning of each class period over several days. Each day, the teacher will listen to three or four students. Alternatively, the teacher can administer the assessment to individual students in a single class period, while the rest of the class is engaged in other music activities.

Version 2 of the assessment is a listening assessment. It is administered to the entire class at the same time. In this version, students listen to a pattern performed by the teacher and select the music notation pattern that they hear. Students will circle their answers on worksheets in the Student Booklet.

The tonal patterns in these assessments are in G major and E minor. The teacher can use the same patterns in another key and/or tonality of his or her choosing. However, this will require the transposition of the patterns in the Teacher Booklet and the Student Booklet prior to the assessment.

Students should have had previous experience reading and singing patterns in G major, E minor, or a key/tonality of the teacher’s choice. Also, students’ previous experience in writing these patterns will support their ability to read and sing patterns for these assessments, although this is not essential in order to engage in these assessments.

This item has been voluntarily field-tested by Michigan teachers with a non-representative sample of students.

This is an analytic rubric. The column on the left shows the dimension that is being measured in the student’s performance. The levels across the top row indicate the performance level in the dimensions. Occasionally all dimensions and performance levels are exemplified by multiple students in a single recording.


  • Dimension
  • Sing the Pattern

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • Student does not sing the pattern accurately.

    N/A at this time.
  • Student sings pattern with two or more errors in pitch or singing system.

    N/A at this time.
  • Student sings pattern with a single error in pitch or singing system.

    N/A at this time.
  • Student sings pattern with accurate pitches and singing syllables.

    N/A at this time.
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