Assessment in Music Education

MQF Level: 7

ECTS Value: 4 ECTS

Self Study Hours: 48

Contact Hours: 20

Assessment Hours: 32


Overall Objectives and Outcomes

Through this module, course participants will gain additional knowledge, skills and competences applicable to assessment within music education.

As Swanwick observed in 1988, “to teach is to assess”, and considered in this way, assessment becomes an integral part of teaching and learning process. This module therefore offers course participants the opportunity to understand and use assessment not only as a way to measure and determine students’ achievement but also to aid and develop their musical learning.

Music educators, advisors and researchers have long puzzled about what

valid, reliable, manageable and effective assessment in music education should look like. It is a vast topic that requires a deep understanding of how music learners learn and how effective use of assessment for learning will develop the students’ musical progress.

The module also highlights the importance of informal feedback that music teachers naturally use in practical music lessons and encourages ways in which this can be applied in the classroom. This effective formative assessment method will also offer course participants the opportunity to encourage the use of constructive feedback in the classroom, involving all participants in the learning process.

By the end of this programme, participants should be able to:


a. Manage the combined use of formative and summative assessment for effective progress and development of their music students;

b. Ensure a holistic approach to learning and assessment in music education appropriate to level;

c. Develop traditional and innovative assessment techniques and criteria each appropriate to the level of music students;

d. Create musical activities and tasks that can be assessed according to abilities and learning outcomes;

e. Employ reflective processes which serve as continous evaluation of both teaching and learning;

f. Design a portfolio of evidence to evaluate students’ learning and progress.


a. Define and describe evlauative, formative and summative assessment methods in music education;

b. Demonstrate an understanding of the importance of assessment an integral part of teaching and learning;

c. Identify which musical skills can be evaluated effectively and demonstrate a knowledge of how to encourage their development;

d. Describe appropriate vocabulary which can be effectively used in formative assesment to encourage learners’ continuous development;

e. Develop knowledge of rubrics as an assessment tool to faciliate the understanding of different learning outcomes and criteria.


a. Apply different assessment methods as an integral part of the music lesson;

b. Monitor and evaluate students’ musical progress and continuous development throughout the year(s);

c. Create appropriate music tasks and activities that can be used simultaneously for effective learning and assessment;

d. Use constructive feedback effectively in a way which encourages learners’ continuous progress and development;

e. Create appropriate criteria for assessment that may be used to guide teachers and students in their learning progress;

f. Lead and facilitate class discussions and feedback sessions with the aim to build confidence and encourage students’ efforts and self-expression.

Assessment Methods

This module will be assessed through: Presentation & Assignment.

Suggested Readings

Core Reading List
  1. Brophy, T., ed (2019): The Oxford Handbook of Assessment Policy and Practice in Music Education, Volume 1, Oxford University Press.
  2. Fautley, Martin (2010), Assessment in Music Education, Oxford University Press.
  3. Lebler, D., Carey, G., Harrison, S., eds (2014), Assessment in Music Education from Policy to Practice, Springer (2014).
  4. Parkes, K. & Burrack, F. (2020) Developing and Applying Assessment in the Music Classroom, Routledge.
  5. MENC: The National Association for Music Education (2001), Spotlight on Assessment in Music Education: Selected Articles from State Mea Journals, R&L Education.
Supplementary Reading List:
  1. Brophy, T., Ed, (2019), The Oxford Handbook of Assessment Policy and Practice in Music Education, Volume 2, Oxford University Press.
  2. Fautley, M. (2007): ‘Lost in Translation: The Changed Language of Assessment in Music Education’, NAME (National Association of Music Educators), Journal, 2-4.
  3. Fautley, M. (2009): ‘Assessment for Learning in Music’, in J. Evans & C. Philpott (eds)., A Practical Guide to Teaching Music in Secondary School, Abingdon: Routledge.
  4. OFSTED (2003), ‘Good Assessment Practice in Music’ (HMI Document 1479); London Ofsted.
  5. Philpott, C. (2007), ‘Assesssment in Music Education, in C. Philpott & G. Spruce (eds.), Learning to Teach Music in the Secondary School (2nd edn); London, Routledge Falmer.
  6. Mills, J. (2005), Music in the School, Oxford University Press.
  7. Mills, J. (2007), Instrumental Teaching, Oxford University Press.
  8. Sloboda, J. (2005), Exploring the Musical Mind, Oxford University Press.
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