ICONgo Seminar 2
Assessment of music performance in higher education has particular challenges in times of increasing regulation and scrutiny. Whether driven by external factors such as national requirements or by an intrinsic desire to improve the efficacy of assessment and the feedback students receive, conservatoires have demonstrated a growing interest in such activities as developing a shared understanding of the standards applied to students’ performance examinations, and in sharing information about the processes and products of performance assessments in music. The Polifonia Working Group on Assessment and Standards has been engaged with this topic in Europe for some time. The Queensland Conservatorium is leading a national Assessment in Music project (AiM). It is clear, however, that more work needs to be done, not least in how assessment informs learning, and in the development of shared understandings of standards that are applied in performance assessment. In some locations, for example, an ability to demonstrate at least some degree of bench marking between institutions is now a regulatory requirement.
The purpose of this seminar is to provide an opportunity for programme leaders, managers of assessment processes and teachers in institutions to share their practices, processes, successes and challenges. Some recent publications on assessment will be distributed prior to the symposium to stimulate discussion, particularly about the range of options for assessment approaches and processes, including the most recent work from Professor D. Royce Sadler, who challenges micro specification of assessment, and even the notion of pre-set criteria. The AiM project has developed a collection of audio recordings of examination performances in a variety of genres and at different stages of degree programs, and it is hoped that other participants will also be able to contribute examination recordings to enable the development of better understandings of the standards that we apply in our various contexts.
We expect to find a variety of approaches to assessment and feedback among participating institutions. Hearing about the ways others have met their own particular challenges may well help each of us to meet those challenges we find in our own institutions. In addition, national and institutional policies/regulations impact directly on assessment practices. Gaining a better understanding of these contexts may result in us being able to move towards assessment in music that can demonstrate the comparability between countries that seems to be at the heart of much of the current thinking on assessment at the policy level.
Resources associated with this spin-off event, including programmes and reading materials, are displayed here. ICON members can access private resources by logging in at the top of the page.