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Friday, February 20, 2015

Spotlight on Research in Music Education

Important research in music education assessment practices was presented at the fifth International Symposium on Assessment in Music Education (ISAME5) held in Williamsburg, Virginia. Only in its third year, the doctoral program in music education at George Mason University was represented by two paper presentations dealing with the measurement and evaluation of effective teacher practice. The first paper proposes a theoretical model that attempts to identify the essential teaching and musicianship skills needed to help pre-service teachers boost their effectiveness as they transition into the first-year of their teaching career.  The model is based upon findings from prior research as well as a more recent survey involving teacher-practitioners who helped identify which observable traits they believed were essential skills that would lead to improved music instruction.

Smith, T. and Wuttke, B. C. (2015). Developing a model of the effective first-year secondary music teacher: Musical and teaching skills. DOCUMENTS: Abstract and References,  Presentation

Another paper investigated the idea of basing student achievement grades in music through rigorously assessing mastery of standards as opposed to a traditional approach to grading (TG) that focuses on basing grades on a "hodgepodge" of extra-musical attributes such as attendance, effort, and participation. This study looked specifically at how pre-service teacher attitudes can change in favor of accepting and presumably adopting a standards-based grading (SBG) approach. The process for attempting to accomplish this goal was two-fold: 1) through instruction primarily in terms of how SBG differs from a TG approach by focusing on measuring and improving student growth through the idea that the standards are the focus of learning, and 2) through emphasizing the idea that if the profession is serious about adopting a standards-based approach to grading, then the design should be implemented and modeled for preservice teachers enrolled in teacher preparation courses.

Wuttke, B.C. and St. Pierre, N. (2015). The effects of instruction and experience on preservice teacher attitudes toward accepting a standards-based grading (SBG) paradigm. DOCUMENTS: Abstract and References, Presentation,  SBG Policy (in syllabus),  Effective Grading Practices (Reading Assignment),  Assessment Exemplar 1,  Assessment Exemplar 2,  Assessment Exemplar 3,  Assessment Tracking Sheet

Pictured from left to right: Nathan St. Pierre, Brian C. Wuttke, and Timothy Smith.