Student grades provide feedback and encouragement for students involved in any of the department’s programs. The evaluation of students’ efforts and the measurement of their participation should provide opportunities for students to continue to excel in musical studies, performances, or other forms of musical expression. As all students enter the music area’s performance-based courses with a unique baseline ability, growth is strongly favored in grading, while the standards and procedures involved in attainment (performance) are modified in ability-based situations. Music area courses are conducted with the “whole” student in mind; opportunities for leadership, independence, responsibility, time management and social adaptation growth are at the core of curriculum, and in turn, grading. Wherever possible, attainment-based grading falls in line with state and regional level rubrics and performance expectations. While attendance and meaningful participation are part of every course, individual and group growth and achievement also are assigned grades.