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Evaluating music creativity through an assessment rubric

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When a university puts in place, across all disciplines, a new assessment model, this is done with notions of fairness in mind. Each discipline is required to make the model work for the assessment purposes. This seminar discusses our use of assessment rubrics in music performance and sound technology in a B. Music program, all focusing on creative outcomes – 2nd year group rehearsal process, 3rd year solo performance outcome, 2nd year electro-acoustic sound work using Max/MSP and one or more musical control devices, a 1st year group Sound Stereo Recording. While we focus on our experiences, rather than that of the students, from our rubric designing and use of the rubric as an evaluating tool we find it plays several roles – pedagogical; offering more readily understood numerical results for students; aiding the defensibility of decisions made by assessors with respect to those results within a framework of responsibility and accountability; marking efficiency; streamlining integration of multiple assessors engaged in a single assessment task; marking fairness; peer and self-assessment; and, through constant tweaking of the rubrics, keeping it highly relevant. Some of these marry with experiences describe in the literature while others add further to the argument for such an assessment approach.

Diana Blom, Ian Stevenson and John Encarnacao teach into the B. Music program at the University of Western Sydney. Diana Blom is Associate Professor in music in the School of Humanities and Communication Arts, University of Western Sydney. Research interests focus around tertiary music education – interpretation, collaboration, assessment – and practice-led research drawn from composing and performing. She plays harpsichord and piano in a chamber trio, ‘Three in a Boat’, which performs contemporary classical repertoire for voice, cello and piano. As a composer, she has several works and performances released on CD. Music Composition Toolbox, a composition textbook co-authored by Matthew Hindson and Damian Barbeler is published by Science Press.

Ian Stevenson is music course advisor and coordinator of sound technologies in the School of Humanities and Communication Arts at UWS . He has worked as an artist, engineer, sound designer and production supervisor in galleries, theatre, live music, broadcast and post-production in Australia, Europe and the UK. His research interests are in sonic communication, and new musical interfaces.

John Encarnacao is a performer, composer and educator, and has taught music analysis, music performance and composition at the University of Western Sydney since 2004. His first book, Punk Aesthetics and New Folk: Way Down The Old Plank Road, will be published by Ashgate in September 2013. Notable recent projects include the composition of the score for Alana Valentine’s play Tinderbox, recorded by his trio Espadrille, and Spider and Lamb (2011), the third album by his song-oriented project, Warmer. April will see the release of the debut album of new rock group The Nature Strip. John has also just completed Tarantula Variations for viola and piano, commissioned by Diana Blom and Dawn Bennett. Contact Pam Burnard (pab61@cam

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