Evaluation of Music Teachers

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Evaluation of Music Teachers

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Evaluation of Music Teachers

Colleen Conway, University of Michigan, conwaycm@umich.edu Phillip Hash, Calvin College, pmh3@calvin.edu ACCESS PPT NOTES AT WWW.PMHMUSIC.WEEBLY.COM


Session Overview

Voices of Michigan Music EducatorsEffective Standards-based Music InstructionMusic teacher Evaluation-Who? What? How?Individual versus Group Assessment in Performance-based Music CoursesModification to Typical Teacher Evaluation FrameworksResources for Music Teachers For Measuring Student Growth


Survey of MMEA/MSVMA Members [see handout]

QUESTION: What would you like your administrator to know and understand about evaluating music teachers in the state of Michigan?N = 86 ResponsesFive themes emerged from coding the data


Theme I – Knowledge/Understanding of Music as an Academic Discipline

Music Standards & ContentWhat are students learning? (“It isn't all for fun. Fun is the bonus!”)How does the lesson connect to curriculum & standards?Authentic, Performance-Based Assessments (vs. pencil/paper)


Theme II: Uniqueness of Music Learning

Format – Build from one class to the next vs. self containedObservation might occur in the middle of the lessonBuild on reoccurring music concepts & knowledgeComposer of the Month – Listen/MoveLearn a song by rote and dictate rhythm w/ ta, ti ti, tikitikiCompose ostinato for the song using Orff instrumentsActive, performance based nature of musicGroup vs. individual focus (esp. performing ensembles)


Theme III: Uniqueness of Music Teaching

Number of Students (700+ per week)Lack of Instruction TimeLack of Prep TimePerformance Requirements


Theme IV: Need for Music Teacher Specific Evaluation Format

Based on actual music teaching and learning vs. (standardized test scores in math & reading, management, etc.)Danielson and other standardized measures not intended for music educatorsIncrease Relevance for Music?


Theme V: Need for Communication

“We are not just here to put on ‘shows’. There is material we are teaching and benchmarks we are trying to hit just like every other teacher. If you don't understand what we are doing, please ask us. Don't just assume all we do is play games. Those ‘games’ have a purpose.”


Effective Standards-based Music Instruction

Students need to be actively engaged in standards-based musical activities: Perform (move, chant, sing, play, read)Create (compose, arrange, improvise)Analyze, Describe, Evaluate (listening - moving, discussing, writing)Analyze in Context (historical, cultural, social)Analyze and Make Connections (other arts and disciplines outside the arts) This notion of musicianship is different from simply the ability to sing or play an instrument well.


Effective Standards-based Music Instruction


musicians have:Sensitivity to musicThe ability to respond both tonally and rhythmicallyThe ability to perform, compose, and improvise with and without musical notation


Effective Standards-based Music Instruction

Need for vertical alignment of P-12 music curriculumMeasurement of musical skills versus cognitive skills Skills development over time (fine motor, etc.)Resource issues for music development


Music Teacher Evaluation-





MTE- Who?

Only trained specialists should evaluate music instruction and curricular materials (items such as recordings, written assessments, compositions, analytical reflections, etc.) used as part of a music teacher’s evaluation. These evaluators should have considerable and successful teaching experience.Other areas of a music teacher’s professional performance (promptness, ability to work with colleagues, communication with parents, dedication to the profession, etc.) may be better evaluated by a building administrator(PMEPD TE Position Statement)


MTE- What?

Skills in tone, intonation, rhythm, technique and interpretation Music-making through: -singing, playing, moving, reading, composing, improvising, and listening








MTE- What not?

Student growth data from other disciplines (e.g., math, language arts, etc.) should not be used to evaluate the music educator.


MTE- What not?

For those classes in which large ensemble performance (e.g., band, orchestra, and choir) is a primary part of the curriculum:Group performance assessment might be taken into consideration BUT NOT as the sole criterion


Festival Ratings: Advantages/Disadvantages

AdvantagesThird party assessment - CredibilityFocuses on a major aspect of ensemble curr.Final ratings are likely reliable over timeMeaningful as one of multiple measures


Narrow: 3 pieces & sight reading at one point in time vs. broader musical concepts & skills

Group vs. individual measure

Pre- post-test?

Ceiling effect

Subject to outside influences



Ratings Growth Example

Hypothetical Contest Ratings for One Ensemble over a Three-year Period

Judge 1Judge 2Judge 3Sight-ReadingAverageAnnual IncreaseaFinalYear 1IIIIIIIII2.25-2Year 2IIIIIII1.7522%2Year 3IIIII1.2529%1



increase from year 1 to year 3 =


. (assuming 2.25 = 100%)


MTE- How?

It is imperative that evaluation parameters be established at the local level with input from all stakeholders and with locally constructed criteria, based on locally established curricula. This provides the most appropriate and effective means of gathering and analyzing student-growth data.




Scheduling, instructional time limits, staffing, class size, student/teacher ratio, instructional materials, and facilities are outside the control of the teacher.However, they can have a significant impact on student growth and should be carefully considered by the evaluator.(PMEPD, TE Statement)



MTE- Building Administrators

Work with music educators at the beginning of each evaluation cycle to identify:objective measures of student MUSICAL learning and develop a timeline for data collection that will be part of the evaluation system.



- Building Administrators

Consider factors (e.g., scheduling and allotted instruction time, staffing and student/teacher ratios, materials, equipment, and facilities) that may impact student growth and achievement when evaluating teacher effectiveness.

For additional information, see

Opportunity-to-Learn Standards for Music Instruction

(MENC, 1994) available at the National Association

for Music

Education website



MTE - Building Administrators

Recognize the time these assessments and new approaches to instruction will require and, as needed, reconsider the number and types of performances presented by music programs (e.g., pep band, marching band, musical pit orchestra, elaborate concert performances, and other community service appearances).  



Building Administrators

Become familiar with the Michigan Music Content Standards and Benchmarks (Michigan State Board of Education, 1998, see References for link) and local (district) music curricula. 



MTE - Building Administrators

Consider carefully the use of large-group and solo-ensemble festival ratings as part of teacher evaluation. (see Michigan Society for Music Teacher Education Teacher Evaluation Statement) 


Adapting to Teacher Evaluation Frameworks:NAfME Evaluation Workbooks [see handout]

Philosophical Premise“Good music teacher evaluation is not only about valid & reliable summative evaluation, but it is also about quality formative professional development.”“[Intended] to provide a helpful tool to music educators, principals and/or supervisors engaged in the entire process of professional development. It should be used as a guide to personal reflection and improvement.”

Part 1: Instruction ManualPart 2: Ensemble Teacher Evaluation Summary Form: Criteria for Evaluation & Examples (based on Danielson)Part 3: Evaluation WorksheetsAppendix – Resources$35.00 from Rowman & Littlefield Education


Music Educator Evaluation Strategies

Study the evaluation form Schedule PD around the evaluation instrumentAlways have lesson plans connecting to standardsPlan lessons using evaluation rubric as a guideBe prepared to provide evidence of instructional & professional practices

Use a variety of instructional practices. Focus on student engagement.Don’t try to put on a show for evaluator[Is it time to reconsider the number of performances per year??]


Additional Resources

Music Teacher Evaluation Resources (info & assessment samples)www.pmhmusic.weebly.com

Excellent Elementary General Music LessonWalker Charter AcademySteve Wideman – Music Educatorhttps://youtu.be/1D-JcPKgo4k


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