Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Teaching & Learning


The recent movement in academic reform and accountability has brought assessment and grading to the forefront in most academic disciplines. While assessment and grading appear to be important topics in music education professional journals, little is known about actual practice or local satisfaction with current practices. Findings from a few small regional assessment and grading studies indicated that assessment practices tended to diverge from currently understood best practices; for example, attendance was the primary source of grading information.

The purposes of this study were to (a) examine current assessment and grading practices in American high school bands, (b) gauge local satisfaction with current assessment and grading practices, and (c) investigate variations in practices and satisfaction based on regional, school, and band director variables.

Data were collected (via surveys) from 202 high school band directors using a regionally stratified sample the six regions comprising the Music Educator's National Conference [MENC]. Findings indicate that while few band directors' assessment resembles what MENC representatives fist as best practice and grades are made up primarily of non-musical criteria, subjects expressed a high degree of satisfaction with current practice.

Assessment was found to be closer to best practice in smaller bands and among band directors with graduate degrees. Time spent on assessment and use of grading criteria were found to vary regionally.

Further research was recommended to examine (a) the roles of assessment and grading in high school bands from the perspectives of students, parents, and principals, (b) the effectiveness of formal and informal assessment strategies, (c) the effect of band size and teacher background on assessment and grading, (d) factors influencing regional differences in assessment and grading practices, and (e) changes of assessment and grading over time.

Included in

Psychology Commons