Department of Music Assessment Overview
Utah State University
We evaluate the effectiveness of our PROGRAMS in several ways:
We evaluate STUDENT PROGRESS ON LEARNING OBJECTIVES through both formative assessment (ongoing mentoring, advising, and regular feedback from faculty in the Music Department as well as through feedback from guest artists and teachers) and through summative assessments.
Formal, summative assessment takes place regularly through two independent means:
The Music department has agreed that the following equivalencies are to be applied in the evaluation of student achievement:
|Disengaged:||D or F||below 70% (D 60% - 69%; F below 60%)|
|Emerging:||C-, C, C+||70% - 79%|
|Developing:||B-, B, B+||80% - 89%|
|Engaged:||A- or A||90% - 100%|
Data is analyzed through review of individual grades in each course.
Juries, Recitals, Proficiency Exams, Functional Skills Level Exams
Individual Instruction (Juries, Recitals):
Undergraduate music majors in performance and education are expected to take individual instruction on their major instrument/voice each semester they are enrolled at Utah State University. Undergraduate music majors in music therapy and in the BA degree in music, are expected to take individual instruction on their major instrument/voice for at least the first four semesters in their degree programs. Graduate students in performance or performance and pedagogy are expected to take individual instruction on their major instrument/voice each semester they are enrolled. Graduate students in choral conducting are expected to take individual instruction on their major instrument/voice for at least one semester.
A number of assessments, both formative and summative, are a regular part of the individual instruction courses, both undergraduate and graduate.
Weekly Lessons: Because music majors receive a weekly hour of one-on-one instruction on their primary instrument, instructors have regular and ample opportunity to make formative assessments of each student’s progress. A variety of specific weekly technical and artistic benchmarks are assessed in each lesson. For example, all woodwind students must meet specific technical levels to complete their degrees, and these technique levels are checked at every lesson. In the voice area, skills specific to singing in foreign languages (translating, transcribing, and pronunciation) are assessed at each lesson.
Weekly Studio Classes: In these small groups, usually organized by studio or area (flute, violin, piano, voice etc.), students perform for area faculty and their peers. Students receive immediate feedback on their performances from faculty and peers. These studio classes allow students to practice both the technical and performance skills in a setting that is similar to a jury or recital.
Guest Artist Master Classes: Each year students have opportunities to perform for and receive feedback from outside experts in the field.
Area Recitals: In addition to weekly studio classes, some areas also have weekly recital hours. Music majors perform repertoire they are preparing for juries, competitions, and/or recitals. Students receive verbal and/or written evaluation after the conclusion of the recital from faculty.
Midterm Technical Levels: In many studios, students perform all of the required technical etudes for their upcoming juries at a non-graded midterm level exam. Each student’s performance is evaluated by the instructor or a panel of instructors, and feedback is provided to help her/him prepare for juries.
Pre-Jury Memorization Exams: In the voice and piano areas, where the ability to memorize music quickly and accurately is an important skill, memorization exams are administered at least a month before juries.
Mock Juries: The week before juries, students perform a mock jury that includes all required technical etudes and repertoire. Written comments are provided.
Recital Previews: In most areas, students must pass a recital preview before being allowed to schedule a recital. Students receive written and verbal feedback on their performance.
Proficiency Levels: Proficiency in individual performance on a primary instrument is defined by a series of proficiency levels for each instrument and voice, as define by each area (piano, voice, strings, guitar, woodwinds, brass, percussion) or studio. Proficiency levels are determined by the jury performance at the end of each semester of instrument/voice study.
Level 1 Minimum requirement that must be met by end of first year of instrument/voice study in order to move from pre-music major status into full music major status.
Level 4 Minimum graduation requirement for BA-Music, capstone option.
Level 4 Minimum graduation requirement for BS-Music Therapy
Level 6 Minimum graduation requirement for BM-Music Education
Level 7 Minimum graduation requirement for BA-Music, recital option
Level 8 Minimum graduation requirement for BA-Music Performance
Juries: All music majors enrolled in individual instruction must present a jury at the end of each semester. These juries are graded by a panel of faculty members that includes the student’s individual instructor as well as at least 2 other faculty members. Specific requirements for juries are set by each area (piano, voice, strings, guitar, woodwinds, brass, percussion) or studio instructor.
Barrier Juries: At the end of the third semester of primary instrument lessons, students present a barrier jury. This jury determines whether the student may continue in the major. Students who do not pass the barrier jury with a B or better are discontinued in the major.
Note concerning juries: Although students’ semester grades in individual instruction may reflect ‘emerging’, ‘developing’, or ‘engaged’, the jury alone determines the competency required for advancement from one level to the next in the applied music sequence.
Recitals: All performance and education majors are required to present recitals. Performance majors present a junior half recital and a full senior recital. Education majors present a half senior recital. In semesters where a recital is presented, a jury is not required. Recitals are graded by a panel of music faculty members and are presented to the public.
Keyboard Harmony I & II (Proficiency Exams)
All undergraduate music majors are required to pass MUSC 1170 and 1180 (Keyboard Harmony I, II), either by taking the course or passing a series of proficiency exams whose content is mandated by NASM accreditation standards for 4-year professional undergraduate degrees in music. Completion of the two-course sequence indicates that a student has passed all components of the standardized piano proficiency exam.
These courses are taught in piano labs equipped with electronic keyboards that allow the instructor to listen to each individual student’s playing through a headphone system. The teacher can then assess the individual student’s in-class practice, and provide immediate feedback and practice strategies. The instructor can also use this system to listen to and grade the series of individual exams that are given over the course of the semester, while still allowing the other students in class to simultaneously continue their individual practice. The lead instructor notifies the applied faculty in each case if a student does not pass an assessment with a B or better on the first attempt.
Music Therapy (Functional Skills Level Exams)
The AMTA Professional Competencies are based on what knowledge, skills, and abilities are needed to perform the various levels and types of responsibilities to practice music therapy at a safe and competent level. These include one’s ability to: (1) play a basic repertoire of traditional, folk, and popular song with or without printed music,” and (2) to “accompany self and ensembles” demonstrating proficiency with keyboard, guitar and voice. To assist the student in achieving these competency-based standards, the USU Music Therapy Program requires successful completion of three adjudicated functional skill exams. A required repertoire list of 100 songs will be utilized for preparing theses exams, in addition to required content in music therapy core courses.
Level I Exam is to be completed sometime during the student’s first academic year, but no later than the Friday following Spring Break of that same year. Entering sophomore students must complete this exam by the end the Fall semester of their 1st year in the program. Level II Exam is completed during enrollment in MUSC 2320, Music Therapy Treatment II. Level III Exam is completed as one of the course requirements in MUSC 4310, Music Therapy with Adult Populations, preferably taken the fall of the student’s senior year.
Students who do not pass Level I at their first attempt, may have one additional attempt. However, this exam must be successfully completed by the end of the first year or the student will be dismissed from the program.
Students who do not pass Level II will receive a lower than B- grade for MUSC 2320 and will be required to retake the course. The student is also placed on Probation in the degree program until such time that the course is successfully completed. While on probation, music therapy students are not allowed to continue with academic or clinical coursework.
Students who do not pass Level III will receive a lower than B- grade for MUSC 4310 and will be required to retake the course. The student is also placed on Probation in the degree program until such time that the course is successfully completed. While on probation, music therapy students are not allowed to continue with academic or clinical coursework.
Individual course data and cumulative department course data is collected and analyzed annually. The semester databases show percentages of students reaching benchmarks of ‘engaged’(category 1), ‘developing’ (category 2), ‘emerging’ (category 3), and ‘disengaged’ (caregory 4) as indicted by their grades in each course.
Fall 2015 results indicate that 94% of students in music courses were ‘engaged’ (85%) or ‘developing’ (95%), surpassing the department’s goal of reaching 85% of students at the ‘developing’ level or above. For specific percentages, click on the area title below.
Spring 2016 Jury results
Click here for Spring 2016 Jury results.
Both undergraduate and graduate degrees in music are based on one-on-one attention and support, during the academic process, and in the years to follow. Applied faculty members keep close ties with graduates and continue to provide career counseling, and in many cases, continue to provide instruction beyond graduation. Individual faculty keep track of their students’ accomplishments after graduation. Below are selected post-graduation student employment, graduate study, and professional activity highlights.
Instrumental Music Education/Performance:
100 % Placement rate in Music Education jobs for those seeking employment in the field.
The past 7 years of graduates have produced the following:
USU Music Therapy students have demonstrated themselves to be well-prepared to compete with other students from around the country for internship placements. Students from our program have been given opportunities at some of the most prestigious national roster internships, such as the Rainbow Babies and University Hospital system in Cleveland, OH. In addition, during our student’s internships, they seem to move forward quicker than what is expected. Typically the first three months of the internship is more observational and co-treating, but our students are frequently given their own case load well before they reach the 3-month mark.
MM Graduates: (100% are working in the field or pursuing doctoral degrees)
100% Acceptance rate for students seeking admission to graduate programs
90%+ Qualification rate for National YouTube Screening Round of annual National Association of Teachers of Singing National Student Auditions. Students qualify by placing in top 5 in Cal-Western Regional Auditions (California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and Hawaii).
Choral Music Education/Choral Conducting
Based on the data presently available, the Music Department faculty believe that student progress in our programs meets or exceeds expectations. However, the faculty are continually seeking to improve programs and student outcomes based on data from student grades, from student course evaluations, and from other sources of information (i.e. State Office of Education, NASM, etc.)
Music Core Recent Curricular Changes:
Addition of Music Fundamentals to semester one of the Common Music Core
Standardization of Barrier Jury for all undergraduate degrees in music
New courses for Individual Instruction on Primary Instrument courses:
New competency-based exams to assess Computer Literacy in Music.
Piano Area Recent Curricular Changes:
Several recent curriculum and program changes have been implemented, based on needs that piano faculty have observed:
Voice Area Recent Curricular Changes:
Music Therapy Recent Curricular Changes: