Major Assessments in the Music Department (October 2008)

During 2007-2008 academic year, the faculty in the  Music Department conducted a department-wide evaluation and invited an external reviewer to look at the music curriculum and procedures.  An important outcome of that review has been the identification of specific assessment procedures related to the major programs and courses offered. 

Assessment in the Music Department

On a fundamental level, the courses in the Music Department rely on the same kinds of assessment as many other courses at the college. Objective evaluation is performed in most courses, including graded homework assignments, in-class quizzes and examinations, term paper assignments and exercises, and final examinations. Departmental learning objectives have been identified and coordinated on a course by course basis throughout the music curriculum and are posted on line within the course syllabi with related specific assessments in each course. Any specific rubrics or assessment guidelines are associated with specific courses.

Beyond these objective assessments, the Music Department offers department wide assessment for Music Performance and specific assessment as a capstone requirement for Senior Evaluation within each degree program. These major assessments monitor ongoing performance levels within the music program and take a cumulative measure of academic performance near the end of students’ studies. Finally, these assessments provide ongoing data for understanding the state of the department programs and can suggest curricular and budget adjustments.

     Music Performance

Due to the nature of the discipline, the Music Department performs progressive and cumulative assessments related to musical performance that are the object of qualitative evaluation. Solo musical performances of our students are evaluated periodically: by audition before acceptance to the music major, each semester as a part of their applied music lessons, and finally as a part of the senior evaluation for students in our performance intensive programs—a required Senior Recital for the B.A. in Music, the B.Mus. in Music Education, and the B.A. in Music with a concentration in Musical Theatre.

Entrance Audition: The Entrance Audition is carried out by panels drawn from the full-time faculty. It is required for prospective students in the B.A. in Music, B.Mus. in Music Education, and the B.A. in Music with a concentration in Musical Theatre. The entrance audition measures performance training and attempts to predict a student’s timely success towards accomplishing an eventual Senior Recital. This qualitative evaluation is also used to recommend scholarship awards for incoming students.
Applicants are required to perform three selections which should generally be of three types and by different composers. Pianists, vocalists, and string players are asked to perform at least one work from memory. Applicants are evaluated by a panel of two to four faculty members on the following criteria: musical comprehension, technical ability and level of preparation. The panel recommends acceptance, provisional acceptance, or rejection as a major. They also, as a group, recommend a scholarship rating on a scale of 0-10.

Information on audition procedures can be found at:

Jury: At the end of each semester, students taking applied music lessons are required to perform a jury for faculty members instructing related instruments, e.g., piano and organ students perform for the keyboard faculty, string players for the string faculty, jazz players for the jazz faculty, etc. The members of the jury panel each provide students with a written qualitative evaluation and each juror grades the performance individually. The semester grade is determined as follows: 70% by the instructor and 30% by the average grade of the jury panel.
The applied music faculty in the department is in the process of implementing a uniform rubric based form for evaluating music juries to replace the qualitative free form. The first testing of a jury rubric will take place in December 2008.

Information on Applied Music lessons can be found at:
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Junior and Senior Recitals: The B.A. in Music, B.Mus. in Music Education, and the B.A. in Music with a concentration in Musical Theatre programs require a Senior Recital, which is evaluated by the full-time faculty along with the applied music teacher. The program selection is developed under the guidance of the applied teacher and the written concert program material is developed under the guidance of one of the full-time faculty. The recital evaluators provide a written qualitative critique of the concert for the student, as well as a quantitative grade, decided by consensus, for the course. The program note preparation is evaluated as 10% of the grade.
Upon recommendation of the applied music teacher, some students are asked to perform a Junior Recital based upon demonstrated excellence in performance. The evaluation process is the same as for the Senior Recital.
Upon successful implementation of the performance rubric for music jury exams, the music department will consider implementing a similar assessment tool for the Recitals.

Information on the procedures for Junior and Senior Recitals can be found at:

     General Capstone Assessments

Senior Evaluations are specific to individual programs in the Music Department. Students in performance intensive programs must perform a Senior Recital, as described above. In addition, to the recital requirement, students in the B.A. in Music and the B.Mus. in Music Education programs must take the Senior Comprehensive Examination. The students in the B.A. in Music with a concentration in Music Management also take the Senior Comprehensive Examination.

Senior Evaluation requirements for each music degree program can be found at:

·     The Senior Comprehensive Examination tests students on a representative list of musical works presented by the class itself in a seminar format and assessed by three objective examinations. The seminar tests specific knowledge of the works, as well as general contextual knowledge for each major program.
Each semester, students provide materials for a shared study bibliography and develop an on line site that incorporates additional study materials and presentations for the seminar. In addition, the B.A. in Music and B.Mus. in Music Education students in the seminar undertake an analysis assignment, while the B.A. in Music with a concentration in Music Management students respond to a problem set based upon typical industry challenges. The in class presentations are evaluated based upon a presentation rubric.

Information on the Senior Comprehensive Examination and associated rubrics can be found at:

     Program Specific Capstone Assessments

All music students also undertake a program specific component of senior evaluation. The nature of these undertakings emphasizes personal responsibility and independent professional development. Senior Projects are presented and evaluated in discipline-based seminars, and both the Internship and Student Teaching experiences require seminar participation and draw upon external evaluation in offsite assignments.

·     Senior Project: Students in the B.A. in Music and B.A. in Music with a concentration in Musical Theatre programs prepare a major research based project. Two Senior Projects course options are offered.
Students in both major programs may register for MUH 3998: Music Senior Projects. This seminar based course requires a significant research project approved by the music faculty and completed under the supervision of a full-time faculty member. The project must demonstrate expertise in research, writing, and documentation appropriate to the level of a baccalaureate degree. The final presentation of the project may be linked to a vocal or instrumental performance. Students in the combined B.Mus./MAT degree in Music Education are required to take this Senior Project course.
Students with a Concentration in Musical Theater have the option of registering for DTH 3320/3321: Dance Theatre Senior Project. This course also requires a significant research project, but approved and completed under the supervision of a faculty member in the Dance/Theatre Department. The project must also demonstrate expertise in research, writing, and documentation appropriate to the level of a baccalaureate degree. The final presentation of the project may be linked to a theatrical performance.
Assessment for the senior project is based upon the following criteria: 

bulletLevel and consistency of preparation
bulletWritten Preliminary Project Proposal
bulletPreliminary Project Bibliography and/or Survey of Materials
bulletInterim Project Report with Outline and Final Bibliography
bulletPresentation of Final Project whether in class or in a public venue

Information on the Music Senior Project can be found at:

·       Student Teaching: B.Mus. in Music Education students are required to complete a full semester of supervised student teaching with an associated seminar, EDU 3387: Student Teaching and Seminar: Music Education. They are placed in both an elementary placement (grades preschool through upper elementary) and a secondary placement (middle school or high school). Student teachers work with an on-site cooperating teacher and are supervised by college faculty. Students typically participate in general music, choral music, and/or instrumental music environments. One of the student teaching placements must be in an urban setting and the other in a suburban setting. Assessment is made based upon on site evaluations, cooperating teacher recommendation and a series of rubrics based assessments undertaken in the seminar. Topics for assessment and associated rubrics include the following:


Reaching the expectations of the profession and of the school of education

bulletWriting curriculum with reference to national and state standards
bulletWriting a personal philosophy of the teaching and learning of music
bulletWorking through pedagogical process and materials
bulletKnowledge and application of voice pedagogy
bulletKnowledge and application of instrumental pedagogy

Information on student teaching in music education can be found at:

Rubrics for student teaching in music education can be found at:

·     Internship Seminar: Students in the B.A. in Music with a concentration in Music Management program undertake a semester of supervised internship associated with a seminar. Students are responsible for finding, and participating in an internship at a placement associated with the music industry. Students will be evaluated by an onsite supervisor and a faculty member, and will be required to submit an ongoing log of activities to the faculty member.
As part of the seminar assignment for the course, students choose current controversial issues in the music business to research, document in a paper, and present to the class. 

Procedures for the internship experience in music management can be found at:

Information on the requirements for the Internship Project Seminar and assessment procedures, including a rubric for class presentation, can be found at: