ERG SES G 04, Arts and Education
This paper is part of a PhD project with the objective of developing knowledge on assessment practices in music performance in a Norwegian secondary school, with particular focus on assessment of different types of music performance within a framework of national curriculum requirements.
The international discourse of assessment has developed a strong focus on measurement of learning outcomes and accountability (Stobart, 2008), placing pressure on teachers to make assessment procedures comprehensive and transparent, so that students more readily can use them as a tool for further learning. This holds particular challenges for the assessment of music performance, which is complex and subject to multiple contextual conditions (e.g. Bergee, 2007; Lehmann & Kopiez, 2013; Prince & Hallam, 1996; Wapnick, Campbell, Siddell-Strebel, & Darrow, 2009). While music as a school subject has been to some extent emancipated from the cultural hegemony of Western art music and a bourgeois aesthetic (Spruce, 2001), the potentially broad range of genre and repertoire may make it difficult to define criteria and to construct assessment procedures that are experienced as valid and reliable. Added to this, there is often no requirement for students to present core or obligatory repertoire for their instrument, reflecting the trend in curriculum of ‘culture for learning’, where common content is disregarded in favour of individualisation (Karseth & Sivesind, 2010).
In a context of assessment dialogue, the commission of the arts teacher resembles that of the critic, in being expected to re-form an aesthetic experience in verbal utterance, making use of and contributing to a discursive repertoire (Weisethaunet & Lindberg, 2010). But differing views of performance as representing learning outcomes give scope for a range of positions, e.g. to what extent value is placed on certain knowledge types (Shulman, 1986), or why a criterion might be central to one performance but peripheral to another (Sadler, 1989). It might be that criteria for assessment are implicitly rather than explicitly held (Davidson & Da Costa Coimbra, 2001), but that teachers share a code of assessment criteria, albeit not precisely articulated (ibid.). However, it seems pertinent to ask if the difficulties of articulating criteria for a range of genres lead to teachers emphasizing aspects such as physical expressivity more than sounding performances (Zandén, 2010).
This paper explores the assessment dialogue of three groups of teachers, distinguished by primary instrument, with the aim of identifying how criteria are selected and adapted for various genres. The research questions I seek to answer are therefore: In what ways do teachers select and adapt criteria for the assessment of different genres? and How are these priorities related to the broader discourse of arts assessment and performance theory research?
The paper combines theoretical perspectives from the field of assessment (Eisner, 2003; Sadler, 1989) with perspectives on performance theory and criticism (Cook, 2013; Moore, 2002). Results are discussed using a reflexive analytical framework as described by Alvesson & Sköldberg (2009:273).
Alvesson, M., & Sköldberg, K. (2009). Reflexive methodology: new vistas for qualitative research. London: Sage. Bergee, M. J. (2007). Performer, Rater, Occasion, and Sequence as Sources of Variability in Music Performance Assessment. Journal of Research in Music Education, 55(4), 344-358. Cook, N. (2013). Beyond the score: music as performance. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Creswell, J. W., & Plano-Clark, V. L. (2011). Examples of mixed methods design. J. W. Creswell & V. L. Plano-Clark (Eds.), Designing and Conducting Mixed Methods Research (pp. 107-142). Los Angeles, CA: Sage. Davidson, J. W., & Da Costa Coimbra, D. (2001). Investigating Performance Evaluation by Assessors of Singers in a Music College Setting. Musicae Scientiae, 5(1), 33-53. Eisner, E. (2003). Educational Connoisseurship and Educational Criticism: An Arts-Based Approach to Educational Evaluation. In T. Kellaghan & D. L. Stufflebeam (Eds.), International Handbook of Educational Evaluation (Vol. 9, pp. 153-166). Dortrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers. Karseth, B., & Sivesind, K. (2010). Conceptualising Curriculum Knowledge Within and Beyond the National Context. European Journal of Education, 45(1), 103-120. Lehmann, M., & Kopiez, R. (2013). The influence of on-stage behavior on the subjective evaluation of rock guitar performances. Musicae Scientiae, 17(4), 472-494. Moore, A. (2002). Authenticity as authentication. Popular Music, 21, 209-223. Morgan, D. L. (1997). Focus groups as qualitative research. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage Publications. Prince, V., & Hallam, S. (1996). Cognitive, technical and expressive music skills: pupils' and teachers' perceptions of the relative emphasis given to each in instrumental music lessons. Paper presented at BPS Education Section Conference, Reading, UK. Sadler, D. R. (1989). Formative assessment and the design of instructional systems. Instructional Science, 18, 119-144. Shulman, L. S. (1986). Those Who Understand: Knowledge Growth in Teaching. Educational Researcher, 15(2), 4-14. Spruce, G. (2001). Music assessment and the hegemony of musical heritage In C. Philpott & C. Plummeridge (Eds.), Issues in music teaching (pp. 118-130). London: RoutledgeFalmer. Stake, R. E. (1995). The art of case study research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Stobart, G. (2008). Testing times: the uses and abuses of assessment. London: Routledge. Wapnick, J., Campbell, L., Siddell-Strebel, J., & Darrow, A.-A. (2009). Effects of Non-Musical Attributes and Excerpt Duration on Ratings of High-Level Piano Performances. Musicae Scientiae, 13(1), 35-54. Weisethaunet, H., & Lindberg, U. (2010). Authenticity Revisited: The Rock Critic and the Changing Real. Popular Music & Society, 33(4), 465-485. Zandén, O. (2010). Samtal om samspel: Kvalitetsuppfattningar i musiklärares dialoger om ensemblespel på gymnasiet. (PhD) University of Gothenburg.
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