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

Assessment in Music

Anticipated outcomes

The project sought to clarify the alignment between assessment in higher music education in Australia and the Creative and Performing Arts Threshold Learning Statements (Holmes & Fountain, 2010). It has done this for a range of programs in the lead institution and the process employed is able to be adapted and adopted elsewhere.

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Consensus moderation was to be adopted in various aspects of the project and has proved to be effective as a working form. For the AiM project, consensus moderation enabled agreement on equivalencies and overlaps between learning outcome statements of various kinds, which was a necessary precursor to mapping assessment items efficiently.

A collection of recorded exemplars of student performance assessments for inter-institutional exchange was also an anticipated outcome, and this has been achieved with contributions from project partners and others expected to add to the existing QCGU collection.

It was anticipated that the approach and outcomes of the AiM project would have significant applications in programs within the host institution, and this has proved to be the case. Outcomes of the project also had particular relevance for the University of Newcastle and the University of Tasmania which have both implemented reformed Bachelor of Music programs. The inclusion of National Council of Tertiary Music Schools (NACTMUS) members as part of the project’s reference group ensured the 23 Australian Universities who are NACTMUS members were familiar with the project and its outcomes.

European colleagues have expressed interest in the AiM project because the need to articulate assessment standards is common in the European context. Indeed, the European Association of Conservatoires Polifonia Working Group on Assessment and Standards were engaged in an equivalent project and the maintenance of the closest possible relationships between these projects had a mutual benefit. The AiM project leader delivered a keynote address at a Working Group Seminar in Vienna, and a member of the Working Group provided a report on their project at the AiM International Symposium, as well as a chapter in the forthcoming book publication which was an unanticipated outcome of the project.


Holmes, J., & Fountain, W. (2010). Creative and Performing Arts Learning and Teaching Academic Standards Statement. Sydney: Australian Learning and Teaching Council.

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