Music Assessment in Higher Education


The purpose of this study is to determine the type and level of assessment being done at selected music departments in higher education. A twelve-item questionnaire was developed and distributed to twenty-two universities. Sixteen universities were chosen because they are the peer institutions to the author’s campus. The others do not have music major but possess other strengths including several ensembles, many courses for students to choose from and in many cases, a minor in music. Cover letters and questionnaires were emailed to the Director of each Music Department. The cover letter explained the purpose of the questionnaire and asked that the director forward it to the individual in charge of assessment. Eleven universities responded. Results of this study indicate that assessment is going on in higher education in music. Although there were only eleven institutions involved in the study, every responding university indicated that they were doing some kind of assessment in music. The degree of assessment varied from campus to campus. Assessment training and support was limited. But, eleven music departments nationwide feel the need (and responsibility) to examine what and how they are teaching and then to come up with decisions on how to improve their teaching. Further, they feel that implementation of reviewed assessment techniques will improve students’ learning.

Share and Cite:

Fuller, J. (2014) Music Assessment in Higher Education. Open Journal of Social Sciences, 2, 476-484. doi: 10.4236/jss.2014.26056.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Russell, J.A. and Austin, J.R. (2010) Assessment Practices of Secondary Music Teachers. Journal of Research in Music Education, 58, 37.
[2] Miller, L. and Gronlund (2009) Measurement and Assessing in Teaching. 10th Edition, Pearson Education, Upper Saddle River.
[3] Palomba, C.A. and Banta, T.W. (1999) Assessment Essentials: Planning, Implementing, and Improving Assessment in Higher Education. Jossey-Bass Publishers, San Francisco.
[4] Marchese, T.J. (1987) Third Down, Ten Years to Go. AAHE Bulletin, 40, 3-8.
[5] US Department of Education (2011) No Child Left Behind.
[6] Cobb, S. (2004) History of Assessment Practices in the United States.
[7] Linn, R.L. (2000) Assessment and Accountability. Online, 29, 2.
[8] Habanek, D.V. (2005) An Examination of the Integrity of the Syllabus. College Teaching, 53, 2.
[9] Asmus, E.P. (1999) Music Assessment Concepts. Music Educator’s Journal, 86, 2.
[10] Rudner, L.M. and Schafer, W.D. (2002) What Teachers Need to Know about Assessment. National Education Association, Washington DC.
[11] De Grez, L., Roozen, I. and Valcke, M. (2012) How Effective Are Self- and Peer Assessment of Oral Presentation Skills Compared with Teachers’ Assessments? Active Learning in Higher Education, 13, 129-142.
[12] Falchicov, N. and Goldfinch, J. (2000) Student Peer Assessment in Higher Education: A Meta-Analysis Comparing Peer and Teacher Marks. Review of Educational Research, 70, 287.
[13] Topping, K. (1998) Peer Assessment between Students in Colleges and Universities. Review of Educational Research, 68, 249-276.
[14] Hill, I.B. (1996) Setting the Context for Assessment. Assessment in Practice: Putting Principles to Work on College Campuses. Jossey-Bass Publishers, San Francisco.
[15] Leung, C., Wan, Y. and Lee, A. (2009) Assessment of Undergraduate Students’ Music Compositions. International Journal of Music Education, 27, 250-268.
[16] Bowles, C.L. (1991) Self-Expressed Adult Music Education Interests and Music Experiences. Journal of Research in Music Education, 39, 3.
[17] Standley, J.M. (1984) Productivity and Eminence in Music Research. Journal of Research in Music Education, 32, 149.

Copyright © 2023 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.