Assessment practices of secondary music teachers

Joshua A. Russell*, James R. Austin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


The purpose of this study was to survey assessment and grading practices employed by secondary music teachers throughout the southwestern region of the United States. Three main research questions guided the study: (1) What types of school district frameworks and classroom contexts are secondary music teachers operating within? (2) Which specific assessment and grading practices are employed most commonly by secondary music teachers? (3) Do any contextual or individual difference variables influence secondary music teachers' assessment and grading practices? Two mailings yielded 352 total usable questionnaires (36%) with a sampling error of +/-5%. Participants reported that their school districts emphasized letter grades and that music course grades were equally weighted with other course grades in calculating student grade point averages and generating credit toward graduation. Yet, music teachers seldom received administrative guidance or altered assessment approaches due to standards-based curriculum adoption. Participants based grades on a combination of achievement and non-achievement criteria, with non-achievement criteria receiving greater weight in determining grades. Although instructional time, number of students taught, and number of concert performances prepared/given had no substantive relationship with assessment decisions, grading practices were influenced by teaching level and teaching specialization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-54
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Research in Music Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • music assessment
  • secondary music educators


Dive into the research topics of 'Assessment practices of secondary music teachers'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this