FORMAL APPROACHES TO THE EVALUATION OF MUSIC COMPOSITIONS OF CHILDREN BY EXTERNAL JUDGES: RATING SCALES, RUBRICS AND OTHER TECHNIQUES
Dr. Peter Webster
Developing effective systems of formal feedback to children about compositional efforts is a difficult problem for music teachers. For example, the state of New York in the USA is currently attempting to develop a system of evaluating student compositions as part of their state standards effort. It is possible to easily evaluate whether a composition has met the technical demands of the task (i.e. the number of measures, the presence of certain rhythmic and melodic structures, the correct notational rules, and so forth), but the development of more aesthetic-based assessment concerns (i.e. effective use of expression, aesthetic appeal, craftsmanship, musical syntax) is much more problematic.
The aim of this paper is to provide an overview of the major research-based and conceptual work that is available on the evaluation of children's music compositions which use rating scales, rubrics, checklists and other psychometric techniques. Open-ended items will also be considered in this analysis. Problems and opportunities of these approaches will be summarized. Work from the international literature will be reviewed including the studies from the British Journal of Music Education and the Australian literature. Work from various state committees in the United States will be included as will evaluation efforts like Harvard's Project Zero and the National Assessment of Educational Progress. The emphasis of the review will be to spotlight the more aesthetic-based assessment efforts.
Data from this review will be useful in designing new assessment tools and for evaluating their effectiveness more rigorously.
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