Music Discipline Assessment 2006-2007


Scope of assessment activities

         ___√__Course-embedded assessment

                     ___√___ Pre- and post-testing

         ______ Outside the classroom

         ______ Across the discipline

Direct measures of student learning

         ___√__ Capstone experience

         ______ Portfolio assessment

         ______ Standardized tests

         ______ Performance on national licensure, certification or

                     preprofessional exams

         ___√__ Qualitative internal and external juried review of

                     of comprehensive senior projects

         ______ Externally reviewed exhibitions and performances in

                     the arts

         ______ External evaluation of performance during internships


Discussion and Description

Discipline goals, direct measures, and improved student learning


         1. Music discipline objectives. The music curriculum

Š      cultivates familiarity with the traditions of Western and non-Western music through theoretical analysis, research, performance, and historical survey

Š      fosters the development of the critical ability necessary to understand those traditions

Š      cultivates the experience of the unique relationship between research and performance in music.

Theoretical and practical courses that provide a sound academic background in music are available for those who intend to pursue graduate study, teach, or fulfill general education requirements.


         2. Course-embedded assessment. Pre-test/post-test

         Conducting techniques: instrumental and choral conducting skills. The course learning objectives are:

Š      The ability to conduct various meters and tempos, i.e., the fundamentals of conducting movements

Š      Identify and demonstrate clear cues and musical expression

Š      Gain the ability to hear the music on the printed score and identify errors or inaccuracies in performance by ensemble

Š      Have a clear reference to music terms found on the respective music score

Š      Communicate through gestures the needed musical expression indicated by the score

Š      Make the critical decisions needed to interpret the composer’s intentions as seen in the score of music

Š      Develop a clear perspective of musical analysis enabling one to interpret the musical score.

         Conducting project examples. There textbook has a series of “conducting project examples” with benchmarks to be attained for each. The instructor prepares students in the basic skills for each example.

         Pre-test phase. The student conducts the example, which is video-taped. The instructor, the student-conductor, and other students in the class rate the student-conductor’s performance from one to ten for each benchmark.[1]

         Improving student learning. The instructor and student-conductor review the video-tape in light of the numerical ratings, and work to reinforce successful moves and analyze unsuccessful ones. If many students in the class displayed the same shortcomings, the entire class focuses on these.

         Post-test phase. There are three parts.

1.     The instructor and students come to an agreement on the benchmark ratings for each example.

2.     The instructor provides comments on each student’s progress.

3.     As part of the final exam, students review all of their videos and write a narrative on their progress in conducting.


General education categories spanned by the discipline


            Each music course bears one of the following general education designators: FA, fine arts; ArtP, artistic performance; M/SR, mathematical/symbolic reasoning; Hum, communication, language, literature, and philosophy; or Hist, historical perspectives. Exceptions are concert attendance, five techniques courses, two conducting courses, form and analysis, directed study, and senior project, which carry no general education designator.


[1] In the full report in the appendices, the instructor reflects on the superiority of the numerical rating scheme over comments alone from other class members.