Successful Assessment Grant Proposal: Music

Focus: Creating a user-friendly data collection process that facilitates data aggregation across instructors and specializations

Project information

Project title: Development of Online Jury Assessment Platform for Applied Music Instruction

Contact person: James Fusik, PhD
Role/Position: Lecturer, Music; Director of Athletic Bands and Coordinator of Woodwind Area
Department/Unit: Music
Program name: Bachelor of Music; Bachelor of Arts in Music
Participating colleague/collaborator: Jeremy Peters, Music/Music Business

Reason for proposal:

1. How is program-level assessment currently done in your program?

Currently our applied instruction is assessed through end-of-semester juries. All undergraduate music students take applied lessons for 4-7 semesters and juries are required either two or three times throughout their collegiate study, depending on the specific degree program. The jury panels consist of full-time and adjunct professors who evaluate live performances, and are divided by area of specialization (Woodwinds, Brass and Percussion, Voice, Keyboard, Strings, Jazz, and Guitar). The feedback is all written and filed in the Music office for comparison and documentation as a student matriculates.

2. What, specifically, needs development or improvement with respect to those assessment practices, processes, or instruments?

The rubrics used for performance assessment have largely focused on fundamentals of musical performance, such as technical facility, rhythmic accuracy, intonation, interpretation, etc. Students are given 10 minute slots for their roughly 7-minute performance, with precious little time for the jury to deliberate after. As a result the general grade is usually given and the rubrics are abandoned. With a convenient and simple Online Assessment Tool developed, the data can be collected simply, and language for evaluation can match the SLO's adopted by our WSU Assessment office and also suggested in line with the NASM Accreditation, completed at WSU in Spring of

3. What factors or conditions have contributed to the area(s) needing development or improvement?

The pandemic and jump to remote instruction only made clearer the need for revision of assessment tools. Each area put together an independent jury process for online submission, making difficult any assessment data that could be used across the whole program and department. In addition, applied instruction faculty are overwhelmingly adjunct teachers, and they will not complete time-consuming or confusing form-filling if not compensated. Being able to deliver a simple system where they click a link, a student, and a series of boxes to rate would greatly improve time efficiency, resulting in meaningful feedback to both students and teachers as applied lessons continue from semester to semester.

Proposed actions and expected impact:

1. What steps will you take to improve your program's learning outcomes assessment practices, processes, or instruments if you receive funding? Be as specific as you can about the link between the needed development or improvement(s) and your proposed actions.

The steps taken upon successful awarding of the Assessment Grant will begin immediately at the opening of AY22-23. The Qualtrics platform will be used to create the online tool from a technological end. At the initial music faculty meeting in August 2022, I will present a sample for broad jury questions to the faculty, seeking clarification and revision. The language will be adapted from the current SLOs submitted to the WSU Assessment Office. All applied teachers will be asked to submit their initial assessment of the student's learning outcomes after their first meeting in early September, which could be used as a baseline for comparison at the end of the semester. Upon revision and departmental adoption in September or October, our online system can be tested and introduced to the faculty by the end of November, in time for end of semester juries in December 2022.

In January 2023, at the beginning of the new semester I will solicit feedback from both full-time and adjunct faculty on the ease, effectiveness, and clarity of the new assessment tool, as well as any suggested revisions to language or delivery. I plan to follow a similar timeline for the second semester, and deliver a brief report with data-based conclusions at the final faculty meeting of the year in May 2023, after the conclusion of final juries and exams.

By making the SLO-based Assessment standard procedure for all applied juries, this will ensure data creation to correspond to the learning over the course of students' degree study.

2. How will your assessment practices, processes, or instruments grow or improve as a result of your project?

Whereas currently faculty are aware of all students' performing development through public recitals and their preparation level in  ensemble rehearsals, the adoption of a consistent SLO-based Assessment Tool will more smoothly demonstrate teaching effectiveness in a data-evident manner, offering more evidence for College, University, and HLC reviews. If successful, I foresee straightforward to non-applied musical skills courses such as Aural Skills and Piano Proficiency. The clerical logistics of preparing and filing forms at the end of every semester will be significantly reduced. More broadly, as teachers see and use early and mid-semester assessment, there will be more input and perhaps leadership in additional assessment initiatives. I believe as our music faculty become aware of our SLOs, and evidence in what specific skills they will have as a result of studying at WSU it will only make our recruiting clearer and specific when we are convincing interested students coming for auditions and interviews.

3. If this program has received a WSU Program Assessment Grant in the past, how does the current project differ from the previous grant project?


Assessment expertise:

1. What experience in assessment does your team bring to the project? (NB: The goal of this question is to understand the existing assessment expertise among the collaborators. Prior experience in assessment is not a requirement of the grant.)

I, James Fusik, have served as Music Department Assessment coordinator for one year. Previously, while teaching at Minot State University I served on the Faculty Senate and worked in team with Music Faculty in writing music-specific SLOs for a NASM Accreditation review. For the time at WSU, I have worked closely with my colleague Jeremy Peters, who is the coordinator for the CFPCA. His related experience in defining program outcomes is evident in his getting approval for revision of the Music Business
Degree, and his knowledge of Qualtrics will be of great help to me as I design the assessment tool. The whole music program has just completed our NASM review, so the ideas generated through that review process are fresh in our collected memory. I anticipate hearty support and cooperation from Music Department Chair Dr. Norah Duncan, IV and Associate Chair Russell Miller, and guidance on their many years of experience leading the initiatives of the Music Department.

2. What assistance, if any, do you need from experts in assessment or in other areas to carry out your project? Examples might include survey, test, or activity design support, statistical analysis, etc.

Since data analysis is not my specific area, I will seek out support in seeing how I can most effectively convey the data generation. Testing the online tool on a variety of platforms (phone, tablet, PC, laptop) could also best be done by tech experts. However, I
do not foresee large-scale assistance from other areas.

Deliverables, responsible parties, timeline:

Deliverables: Responsible party: Completion date:
Initial proposal of assessment language to music faculty and applied teachers James Fusik 9-01-22
Revised questions presented in online form to music faculty. James Fusik 11-01-22
Completion of Juries with feedback in online form during finals week James Fusik 12-31-22
Presentation of Fall 22 results and feedback to music faculty James Fusik 1-31-23
Completion of Juries with feedback in online form during finals week James Fusik 05-15-23
Final report and suggestions on adaptation to other areas within music James Fusik 06-01-23


Funding request:

Cost Item
$3000 Salary/piloting honorarium for developing the online assessment tool as
well as unifying process across all areas of applied music
$3000 Total amount requested

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