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University of Florida Brings Together the Top Minds in Music Education Assessment

February 28, 2019

The University of Florida will host the 7th International Symposium on Assessment in Music Education, March 19-22, 2019. The event brings together music educators from all levels of teaching, from elementary school to higher education, to explore the complex issue of assessment.

Music educators have faced increased legislative and cultural pressure to assess the progress of their students as well as the value of music education in general. This is not a new concern, but the elements of this challenge and how we talk about it have evolved. In 2014, for example, the need to balance quantitative assessment while recognizing the cultural and emotional value of learning music was one of the most prominent challenges in the music education field.

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Issues surrounding assessment have persisted throughout the music education community, and the International Symposium on Assessment in Music Education is a one-of-a-kind event designed to develop solutions to challenges faced by music teachers everywhere.

“We started the International Symposium in 2007 with the intention of it being a one-time event,” said Timothy S. Brophy, Professor of Music Education and Director of Institutional Assessment at the University of Florida. ”However, Interest was so great that we have continued it biennially since then and have already planned for the 2021 symposium to be held in Hanover, Germany. The atmosphere is collegial, and the event has gained international respect in the field.”

Quantitative assessment is still important, but the conversation has transformed to look at, more specifically, how music educators can use data to draw meaningful and accurate insights without taking importance away from the qualitative experiences and benefits of learning music. The International Symposium on Assessment in Music Education offers music educators and scholars an opportunity to enrich their understanding of potential unintended consequences and to form solutions for some of the largest challenges in music education.

Attendees take away ideas for how to modify and improve their assessment practices in music education, interact with international colleagues on common assessment problems, and expand their knowledge of assessment in music education.

“We are particularly pleased that we will have a panel of technology leaders to share their work to advance the meaningful use of technological tools to enhance data collection in the assessment of student learning in music,” Brophy added.

Another key component of making music education assessment a focus is building on skills for how educators communicate results to their communities — parents, school administration, etc. — so that assessment practices can be further refined. Core themes that will be explored in the symposium help to achieve this; for example, by developing a shared language and common definition of what assessment means, the music education community can better articulate and be understood when they discuss their objectives behind specific assessment mechanisms.

“The relationship between the assessment of student learning and cultural and governmental/political educational expectations is a major challenge,” said Brophy. ”We address this head-on in our work group sessions at the symposium, where the entire set of participants breaks into groups to discuss and address major challenges. In 2017, we focused on development of international principles for assessment in music education; in 2019, we will focus on the development of assessment literacy standards for music educators.”

The first International Symposium on Assessment in Music Education was held in March 2007, and it marked the first gathering of music education scholars and teachers of its kind. The event continues to bring together leading scholars from a variety of backgrounds. Previous events, for example, have featured academic explorations of and research on topics such as:

  • The effect of music education on the development of social skills in preschool children
  • Student learning measurement case studies
  • Behavioral and electrophysiological evidence of music learning
  • The development of identity as a music teacher

Visit the event registration page for more information on specific fees and how to attend the event. In its effort to make the symposium accessible to music educators around the world, registration fees are scaled according to the United Nations Human Development Index. Attendees have the option to register for one day of the event or attend all days. In addition to the workshops and discussions, attendees are welcome to purchase tickets for the symposium banquet, which will be held at The Earl and Christy Powell University House at the University of Florida on March 21.

About the University of Florida’s online MMME Program

The University of Florida’s Online Master of Music in Music Education program is designed with the evolution of music education in mind. With this philosophy as the driving force behind the program, our music education master’s degree provides graduates with opportunities to build their knowledge in numerous core areas, including the evolution of music technology, exploration of different musical genres.

The issue of music education assessment is explored through online courses such as MUE 6747: Assessment in Music Learning, which offers a broad foundation for students to build their own rubrics and other assessment mechanisms, which they can then use in their classrooms.

The faculty teaching in the program include instructors from a diverse range of professional backgrounds— from professional musicians to internationally recognized music education researchers and authors. Their work covers a full breadth of musical education scholarship, including both national and international perspectives.

About University of Florida

For over 150 years, the University of Florida has grown and solidified its reputation as a leading public research university with a focus on excellence in research, teaching, and technology. The University of Florida’s dedication to academic achievement and ongoing leadership is demonstrated by the University’s numerous awards and its place as the official, preeminent institution of higher learning in the state.

Some notable accolades include:

  • U.S. News & World Report Top Public Universities: No. 8
  • U.S. News & World Report National Universities: No. 35
  • Forbes Best Value Colleges: No. 20
  • Kiplinger’s Best Values in Public Colleges: No. 2
  • Fiske Guide to Colleges, Best Buys Among Publics: No. 2

At the University of Florida, we are a people of purpose. We’re committed to challenging convention and ourselves. We see things not as they are, but as they could be. And we strive for a greater impact: one measured in people helped and lives improved.

At UF, we have some of the top faculty in the country. In addition to attracting over $700 million in research each year, they foster the uniquely collaborative environment that transforms potential into actual results.

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