Outcome-Based Education (OBE) is based on the belief that ALL students can learn, but not necessarily at the same rate or in the same way. OBE is a philosophy which focuses on the learner and his/her needs. It addresses multiple strategies for teachers in leading students to learning. It also demands many new performance options for students to demonstrate learning.
Outcome-Based Education has been embraced by the Minnesota State Legislature and the Minnesota Department of Education. They are not mandating OBE, but rather encouraging those who are interested in beginning this process. Local ownership and personal input are crucial to OBE.
Early in the project few changes were observed in music curriculum and assessments as a result of OBE. I decided that I must pursue additional OBE training and create my own changes in curriculum, test them, and evaluate the results. Further training helped me to understand that OBE is a process, one that opens teachers’ minds to a multitude of possibilities in the classroom. Building on that foundation, I began the process by writing student outcomes for a composition unit. From there, I wrote lesson outcomes, assessments, and finally lesson plans. Parents were contacted, lesson plans were implemented, and beginning and ending assessments were administered.
With flexibility and keen observation of student behavior and performance, I was able to assess and revise my program to meet individual and group needs of the students. In the process, I learned much about myself, my teaching style, and the assessments I designed. I tried to focus on improving my assessment of student learning and was surprised by the results.
In conclusion, this limited study has led me to believe OBE is appropriate for the music classroom. It has allowed me to take the best of what I’ve done effectively in the past, mold and shape it to meet students’ needs, and more efficiently evaluate, my students and myself.