Electronic Theses and Dissertations


Open Access Thesis


Music--Study and teaching (Elementary)--Iowa; Educational tests and measurements--Iowa;


Assessment, leading to informed decisions, is an integral part of music education and may be a means to justify the importance of music as a valued content subject (Brophy, 2000). The purpose of this study was to describe the elementary general music assessment practices in Iowa. The study was framed using Stiggins’ (2005) categorical definition of assessment as gathering, organizing, summarizing, and reporting data. Mixed methodologies were utilized to gather data regarding these four categories through survey questions (N=211) and two focus group discussions. The participants were from a variety of school district sizes as well as teachers with varying years of teaching experience,

Through the survey and focus groups, data were collected and analyzed to describe the (a) characteristics of data gathering, organizing, summarizing and reporting assessment practices; (b) demographics or teacher characteristics that relate to assessment practices; and (c) beliefs or opinions related to assessment in elementary general music in Iowa.

Findings from this study indicate that observation was the most prevalent means of gathering assessment data. Organizing and summarizing practices were variable, with no common standard reported by respondents. Both academic content and non-academic behavioral aspects were summarized by a majority of the respondents. Report cards were the most frequently used reporting tools with a majority of the respondents required to attend parent-teacher conferences. Statistical significance was found between certain demographic variables and other reported practices. As the school size of the respondents increased, so did the reported level of challenges with assessment. As the years of teaching experience increased, so did the overall quantity of organizing and summarizing practices as well as the reported abilities in completing assessments in general. Attitudes toward assessment, in general, were negative, with barriers to assessment reported as large class sizes, demanding teaching schedules, large total numbers of students, and lack of preparation time. The focus groups also identified student misbehaviors as a barrier to gathering assessment data. Results from this study add to the literature on how elementary general music teachers (in Iowa) assess students.

Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Department of Educational Psychology and Foundations

First Advisor

Robert Boody

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (xii, 274 pages)



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