Saskatchewan Secondary Band Teachers' Rationales For Assessment and Evaluation Strategies
Upon hearing a beautiful piece of music, one can find it difficult to express in words the most appropriate assessment of it. More challenging would be to quantify the performance with a numerical value. Assessment assists learning, while evaluation judges and assigns a grade to it. Secondary school band teachers are faced with this dilemma of quantifying musical achievement and knowledge in schools. It was from an interest in how music teachers can use assessment (as opposed to evaluation) to guide their teaching, and to learn more about how they do assign a number to students’ music, that I posed the following questions: (a) What are the participants’ rationales for the assessment strategies they choose and the evaluative measures they make for students? (b) What influences have led teachers to have these particular rationales? This study used interviews within a grounded theory method to conduct qualitative research. The research sample was limited to a selection of secondary band teachers in Saskatchewan. Eight teachers volunteered to participate in interviews which inquired into their current assessment and evaluation practices. Research revealed several themes impacting teachers’ rationales. Themes emerging through analysis were: the impact of the set-up of the band, performance versus best practice, issues around subject legitimacy, impact of school division policy, and held values specific to instrumental music education. The theory arising from data analysis is that when a band teacher is reluctant to fully adopt best practice methods, this is based on fears of producing less than adequate group performances which is a response to a fear of losing the band program all together. The significance of these findings lies in the implication that existing underlying issues need to be addressed that best practice expectations and/or policy cannot fully encompass.
DegreeMaster of Education (M.Ed.)
CommitteeMcVittie, Janet; Kutz, Skip
Copyright DateApril 2013