The University of St. Thomas


Sween, Katharine

Sween, Katharine

Assessment Portfolios and Grading: An Examination of Student, Parent and Administrator Views Related to Processes Used in an Eighth-Grade Band Classroom
Katharine C. H. Sween

The present study investigated assessment portfolio processes used in an eighth-grade band classroom from the perspectives of students, their parents and an administrator. Utilizing an open-ended interview format, the opinions, views and perspectives of one administrator, 8 eighth-grade band students and one parent of each of these students were presented under two main categories. The first category dealt with education and background experience, and the second category included perspectives on the portfolio process as described by the participants. Two themes emerged from the data: (a) portfolio organization and development as a life skill and (b) enjoyment of the portfolio experience.

Implications for middle-level (grades 6-8) educators were summarized from the responses of the participants and related literature and discussed as responsibilities of the music educator in the development of an assessment portfolio process. The results of the study suggest that when developing assessment portfolios, middle-level music educators should: (a) research current literature on the subject of portfolio assessment; (b) investigate school policy and professional development regarding portfolio assessment; (c) develop an awareness of studentsí previous portfolio experience; (d) study the components of an educative portfolio process; and (e) encourage students to link skills used in developing a portfolio to skills used in other courses, subjects or the workplace. Recommendations for further research included: (a) a need to examine other types of music portfolio processes; (b) a need to garner a wider variety of responses related to assessment portfolios through the use of a survey instrument; and (c) a focused investigation designed to ascertain the impact of the portfolio process on student metacognitive awareness with regard to music learning.

Thesis Advisor
Dr. Bruce P. Gleason