How Composing Assessment in English Secondary Examinations Affect Teaching and Learning Practices

Devaney, Kirsty (2018) How Composing Assessment in English Secondary Examinations Affect Teaching and Learning Practices. Doctoral thesis, Birmingham City University.

FINAL PhD Thesis - Kirsty Devaney Jan 2019.pdf

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Composing has been a significant and assessed part of music in the classroom since its introduction into the English National Curriculum in 1988. However, there is very little research into how the assessment of composing influences teaching and learning practices. Within a time of great educational change and uncertainty for music education, this research seeks to uncover complexities within teaching and assessing composing at Key Stage 4 and Key Stage 5.

To investigate this under-researched area, mixed methodology approaches were used. Two surveys were conducted to gather breadth of teachers’ experiences of the assessment and nine telephone interviews with selected participants from the survey were also conducted. Five case studies allowed for in-depth data collection from diverse school settings from teachers as well as students. Case study data were obtained through interviews, focus groups and field observations. As the research sought to capture multiple perspectives, interviews with five composer-educators were also included. Data from participants were analysed through thematic and grounded theory approaches, as well as theorised using Engeström’s (2001) cultural- historical activity theory and Bourdieu’s (1984) notions of field, capital and habitus.
Several contributions to knowledge are presented and discussed such as the significant concerns regarding reliability, subjectivity and bias in the assessment of composing at KS4 and KS5, along with questions regarding validity and real-world usefulness of the teaching and examinations. Due to high accountability cultures many teachers felt they had to alter their teaching to ensure their students passed the examinations. The study uncovered layers of powers, myths and mechanisms used to keep control, which in turn created internal conflict in teachers. Although this study found discontent and conflict, teachers and students were also complicit, not feeling able to openly contest the current systems in place. This exploratory study gives an in- depth overview into the complexities of assessing and teaching composing at KS4 and KS5 outlining the challenges and pressures teachers and students face.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Date: November 2018
Uncontrolled Keywords: composing, assessment, creativity, schools, music
Subjects: W300 Music
X300 Academic studies in Education
X900 Others in Education
Divisions: REF UoA Output Collections > REF2021 UoA23: Education
Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences > School of Education and Social Work
Depositing User: Kirsty Devaney
Date Deposited: 04 Apr 2019 08:05
Last Modified: 01 Oct 2021 15:21

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