Aligning assessment with Threshold Learning Outcomes in the Creative and Performing Arts

Assessment in Music

Partner Institutions

The three team members from Partner Institutions were Dr Jim Chapman and Helen English (University of Newcastle) and Dr Heather Monkhouse (University of Tasmania). Representing the liaison points with the Partner Institutions, each contributed specific areas of skill and expertise to the project, as detailed below. They were responsible for implementing, monitoring, and leading the evaluation of the project at the host institutions, and also played a key role in their institutions.



Dr Jim Chapman is current Deputy Head of School, Teaching and Learning, in the school of Drama Fine Art and Music, Faculty of Education and Arts at the University of Newcastle. He has worked in on-line delivery projects including the development of online courses in orchestration and arrangement, and the use of podcasting in tertiary delivery. He was the content designer for the interdisciplinary project “Team-Learning”, which was developed over a five year period at QUT. His current research areas include rhythm analysis and the development of an inclusive curriculum for music theory and musicianship at the tertiary level. Most recently he has been responsible for coordinating the development of over 30 new courses in the Bachelor of Music at UoN, and is currently assisting the Head of School in a post-review redesign of Drama and Fine Art programs in the school.

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Helen English brings to tertiary teaching considerable experience and expertise from working in a wide range of music environments at diverse levels of the profession. From 2003 to 2008 she was Executive Officer for NACTMUS (National Council of Tertiary Music Schools) where she gained considerable insight into Teaching & Learning across the tertiary music sector. Helen English’s first appointment as lecturer was at the University of Tasmania in 1997. She is currently at the University of Newcastle where she is Program Convenor for the BMUS degree, and where she has been closely involved in the design of a new BMUS program, including a more inclusive and diverse syllabus for performance courses and new ways of assessing Principal Study students. In 2009 she trialled new modes of teaching and assessing keyboard skills for incoming students, for which she received a Faculty teaching award in the same year. She is currently working on a project (in collaboration with ANU) to enable students from low socio-economic backgrounds to study music at tertiary level.

Heather Monkhouse

Dr Heather Monkhouse lectures in clarinet performance, chamber music and music history at the Tasmanian Conservatorium of Music. As Director of Classical Music, she coordinates the major study undergraduate performance units. She is the course coordinator for undergraduate degrees at the Conservatorium and is the Director of Academic Programs. In 2006 she was the recipient of the Vice Chancellor’s Teaching Excellence Award and in 2008 was awarded a University of Tasmania Teaching Fellowship. She has just completed an Australian Learning & Teaching Council Fellowship (2008-2010) in which she investigated performance assessment in tertiary music schools.

The Project’s Reference Group includes:

  • Member organisations of NACTMUS comprising 23 Australian institutions of higher music education;
  • Emeritus Professor Royce Sadler, an internationally respected scholar in the field of education with particular focus on assessment;
  • Professor Jonathan Holmes, ALTC Discipline Scholar who was responsible for the development of the Threshold Learning Outcomes Statement for the Creative and Performing Arts;
  • Professor Helena Gaunt, Assistant Principal (Research and Staff Development) at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London, an internationally recognized leader in research into learning and teaching in the Conservatoire context;
  • Professor Heidi Westerlund, head of Music Education Research at the Sibelius Academy, Helsinki, a leading institution in the European conservatoire context; and
  • Professor Glenn Finger, Dean, Learning and Teaching, Arts, Education and Law, Griffith University, an award-winning teacher and widely published author.

The Reference Group provided the project expert advice, guidance, and feedback on the design, delivery, and evaluation of the project. The inclusion of NACTMUS members (National Council of Tertiary Music Schools) as part of the reference group ensured the project had maximum impact within the 23 Australian Universities who are NACTMUS members.

International Partners:

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The project team has strong collegiate relationships with international partners, which was important for the international profile of the project and engaged dissemination of its outcomes. The team leader has well-established collaborations with academics at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama (London) and Sibelius Academy (Helsinki), and has given numerous invited presentations in Europe, including at the Royal College of Music and the Guildhall School in London, the Sibelius Academy, and the Royal College of Music in Stockholm. He has also presented at several events sponsored by the Association of European Conservatoires (AEC), including the Annual Congress in Denmark, and at meetings of the Innovative Conservatoires project, developed as part of the European Polifonia project. In addition to these extensive collaborative relationships, QCGU itself was a member of a collaborative group called the Pentacon, which includes the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London; Schulich School of Music, McGill University, Montreal; Royal Conservatoire, The Hague; and Sibelius Academy, Helsinki. This collaborative group was expanded in 2014 and is now known as ConNext.

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