Classroom Assessment in U.S. High School Band Programs: Methods, Purposes, and Influences
Kancianic, Phillip M
McCarthy, Marie F
Hewitt, Michael P
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The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationships among characteristics of high school band directors and their school settings, purposes and uses of classroom assessment methods, and factors that influence the use of classroom assessment. MENC: The National Association for Music Education provided a membership list from which 2,000 U.S. high school band directors were selected by simple random sampling. Participants received a postcard via mail inviting them to complete an online survey. Non-respondents received a second postcard two weeks later and a paper version of the survey four weeks later. The independent variables included 11 personal and 11 school characteristics. The dependent variables included 23 assessment methods, 19 purposes of assessment, and 23 factors that influence the use of classroom assessment. The overall survey return rate was 39.75% (<i>N</i> = 795); the usable response was 31.7% (<i>N</i> = 634). Descriptive statistics illustrated the respondents' use of classroom assessment methods, the level of importance they attributed to purposes of assessment, and the level of influence they attributed to factors that affect assessment. Pearson product-moment correlations and multiple analyses of variance were performed on the data to test 22 null hypotheses. Excepting the MANOVAs (&#945; = .05), the experimentwise alpha was set at .01 to reduce the risk of Type I error. Classroom assessments focused primarily on the evaluation of student performance skills. Lack of time was viewed as a major impediment to assessment. Teachers were more influenced by internal factors (e.g., philosophy of education and class goals) than by external factors (e.g., school requirements and local, state, or national standards). Music colleagues were influential among less-experienced teachers and those who had district-wide assessment training. Three prevalent issues emerged from the results: teacher autonomy, the role of assessment training, and teacher workload. Recommendations included investigating the relationship between teacher autonomy and classroom assessment, examining and improving current assessment training for pre-service and in-service teachers, and developing efficient assessment strategies that have a minimal impact on teacher workload. It was also recommended that the many non-statistically significant findings be examined by future researchers.