From Birmingham City University:
A lack of consistency in A-level music assessment could mean some students are missing out on top grades, warn researchers at Birmingham City University.
The team from the University’s School of Education discovered that music teachers have little confidence in the external examination of composition units at both AS and A-level, with many claiming that grading is inconsistent and unreliable.
The composition element of A-level music typically makes up 30 per cent of the overall grade, meaning inaccurate marking could have a significant impact on a student’s final grade.
The nationwide survey gained responses from teachers with experience of A-level music exams across both state and independent schools and looked at their experiences in the external assessment of composing in UK A-Level music examinations.
From those interviewed, 74 per cent said that they did not feel results from examination boards were consistent, whilst 66 per cent said they felt assessment requirements were unclear, leaving some feeling unconfident in predicting students grades.
One participant commented on their own experience: “The mark was significantly lower than I had expected. The student, I felt, had real flair and talent in composition and this was not recognised. I had the work remarked and the mark went up significantly.”
Another respondent added that the assessment criteria needed to be improved: “The assessment and marking criteria are too vague to be a constructive tool for both the teacher and the student. The criteria are far too ambiguous and need to be considerably more detailed with more quantitative guidelines and targets.”