Graded music examinations: what do the reports tell us?

Holmes, Ivan, and Davis, Diana (2006) Graded music examinations: what do the reports tell us? In: Proceedings of the 27th World Conference of the International Society for Music Education. pp. 567-582. From: 27th World Conference of the International Society for Music Education, 16-21 July 2006, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

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This paper probes the thorny issue of examination feedback, in the context of the graded public music examinations offered by the various music examination boards whose diverse and separate missions nevertheless all see education as central to their endeavour. It is argued that, while public music examinations can never be formative in terms of the feedback they offer, nevertheless their summative role does not preclude the potential to create a constructive and stimulating learning environment for students. The research thus addresses the question What do music examiners' reports tell students, teachers and parents? The data for the study derive from 400 onsite computer generated and archived piano examination reports. These comprise 50 reports from each of eight examiners who had examined consistently and at volume across the period 1995-2002; five were male and three female. This paper discusses the analysis of the Technical Section of the reports. Each report was segmented into idea units as basis for categorization. The categories were derived from the reports themselves and offer a descriptive frame within which to explore the research question and to compare the examiners, their ways of working and communicating. A second level of analysis investigates the extent to which examiners, under the pressures of the examination room, utilize Repeated Comments referencing the candidate. Over the total group these fall into three groups: preparation and exactitude; diagnostic approbation; and analytic advice - and are used by examiners in that order. The marks awarded by examiners for the Technical Section are presented and the pattern discussed. Utilizing the retrospective data from the 400 reports, the consequences for a candidate of having individual examiners are considered, both in terms of marks awarded and the extent to which the verbal comments of the examiner indicate the thinking that led to the award of the marks as well as providing a basis for subsequent constructive action by teacher and student.

Item ID: 4330
Item Type: Conference Item (Research - E1)
ISBN: 978-0-9752063-6-2
Keywords: music education
Date Deposited: 30 Nov 2009 23:34
FoR Codes: 13 EDUCATION > 1399 Other Education > 139999 Education not elsewhere classified @ 50%
19 STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING > 1904 Performing Arts and Creative Writing > 190499 Performing Arts and Creative Writing not elsewhere classified @ 50%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9501 Arts and Leisure > 950199 Arts and Leisure not elsewhere classified @ 51%
93 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 9399 Other Education and Training > 939999 Education and Training not elsewhere classified @ 49%
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