The Use of Model Cornerstone Assessments in Measuring Student Learning in Music Classrooms


Kelly A. Parkes, Virginia Tech

Frederick Burrack, Kansas State University


This proposal seeks to illustrate the collaborative work of universities and schools, and supports the aims of the School / University Partnerships ASPA. Our research investigates student musical achievement as a means to gauge teaching and learning with the new National Standards for Music Education. This research also involves aligned and purposeful professional development of classroom teachers. This work is of relevance to the SMTE members for two important reasons. Firstly, the new National Standards are being implemented in current P-12 schools in various ways and these are the settings in which our future music educators are immersed as they progress in their education. Secondly, the nature of involving teachers in professional development this research illustrates the need for informing new teachers of appropriate and available classroom assessments to measure music achievement. The MCAs provide models of assessments that can be used in music classrooms by teachers and pre-service teachers together.


Following the publishing of the new National Standards for Music Education in June, 2014, a national pilot for Model Cornerstone Assessments (MCAs) was initiated during the 2014-2015 academic year. During the Fall 2014 MCAs for the Performing process in grades 2, 5, 8, and secondary ensembles were piloted in 128 schools in 43 states. As a result of feedback, revisions to the protocols, tasks, and measures were implemented. In the Spring 2015, MCAs for the Creating process were added for grades 2, 5, and 8, and assessments for the Responding process for 5th Grade were piloted in 86 schools across 33 states.


Student achievement data were collected from all students in all classes with a purposive selection of student work collected via an online mechanism. Student works were anonymously re-scored by other piloting teachers who had used the same MCA in their own classrooms. Data from various demographics and classroom settings were analyzed to determine internal consistencies. Inter-rater reliability analyses were also conducted to identify consistency of scoring within and between classrooms.


Pre and post surveys were used to collect qualitative data, used to identify face and content validity referring to the extent to which the MCAs represent all facets of the process components; face validity, referring to teacherís perceptions comparing student scores to observed student achievement; content validity, referring to the usefulness and applicability of the tasks in a music classroom. Teacher observations of student experience with the MCAs were also analyzed to provide suggestions for revision and improvement.


This session will provide findings from the first year of this pilot, revisions that will be implemented, plans for the 2015-2016 pilot, and future analysis processes to be administered once two years of data are collected.