An Examination of Admission and Assessment of Music Teacher Education Candidates in Higher Education


Jeffrey T. Ward, Kansas State University

Phillip D. Payne, Kansas State University


As stated in its Handbook 2016-17, the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) states, “as a matter of sound educational practice, institutions recruit and admit students only to programs or curricula for which they show aptitudes and prospects for success (National Association of Schools of Music, 2016, p. 68).” Ward and Payne (2017) found that 96% of 185 respondents representing member institutions of the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) use audition on a primary instrument as a factor in their music admissions process. Alternatively, only 51% reported an interview as a factor in the music admissions practice, used predominantly as a factor in the admission of prospective music education majors. As a higher education musical curricula includes outcomes beyond performance, an admissions process limited to an audition of prepared repertoire does not seem adequately able to assess the aptitudes and prospects for success of prospective students.


The present study is an examination of the practices of higher education music programs in the admission, promotion, and recommendation of licensure for music education candidates. Using a Qualtrics© online survey instrument, respondents from NASM member institutions of varying sizes, missions, and degree program offerings will describe admission procedures and minimum content knowledge and skill levels of qualified students enrolling in a music education degree program. Additionally, the respondents will describe other assessment practices of teacher candidates as they move to upper division courses and apply for teacher licensure. Specifically, the respondents will identify:


·       Admission practices for prospective music education students;

·       Gateway points or barriers that assess teacher candidates readiness for upper division courses and/or student teaching;

·       Assessment instruments used by institutions to recommend teacher licensure; and

·       Assessment instruments used by licensure agencies in granting teaching licenses to teacher candidates.

The resulting analysis should allow the researchers to compare and contrast these four categories in light of previous research of higher education music admission practices.




National Association of Schools of Music (2016). Handbook 2016-17. Reston, VA: National Association of Schools of Music.

Ward, J. and Payne, P. D. (2017). A survey of admission standards and procedures of higher education institutions in the United States in comparison to national core music standards. Sixth International Symposium on Assessment in Music Education. Symposium conducted at the Birmingham City University, Birmingham, England, UK.