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Title:The construction of a holistic, criterion-referenced sight-singing test for high school sopranos based on the voluntary national standards for music education
Author(s):Scott, Tina Bull
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Boardman, Eunice
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Tests and Measurements
Education, Music
Education, Secondary
Abstract:The purpose of this study was to construct a holistic, criterion-referenced sight-singing test for high school sopranos based on the voluntary national standards for music education. To accomplish the purpose of this study, four research questions were addressed: (1) Through what means can test items be selected that accurately measure sight-singing performance as delineated by the national standards while incorporating the musical elements of melody, rhythm, harmony, and tonality within a holistic context? (2) Does the test provide valid and reliable data without extensively encumbering the test administrator or scorer? (3) What relationship, if any, exists between high school choral experience, instrumental experience, private piano experience, and test scores? (4) How well do high school soprano choral students sight-sing holistic choral excerpts in comparison with the achievement standards set forth as part of Content Standard Five, reading and notating music?
A pilot test was developed to reflect four levels of difficulty as established in the national standards for music education. Each item consisted of 16 measure excerpts of four-part choral music. The alto, tenor, and bass parts were digitally recorded to produce the test tape. Subjects sang the soprano line while listening to the alto, tenor, and bass parts. After administering the pilot test to 18 high school sopranos, the data were analyzed and the test was reduced to eight items.
The final test was administered to 120 volunteer sopranos from four Illinois high schools. Subjects were evenly divided into a 3 x 4 matrix consisting of one, two, three, and four-year choral students with no instrumental experience, private piano experience, and instrumental experience other than piano.
Content validity was established through the evaluations of five expert judges who rated and ranked 20 musical excerpts. The 12 found to be most appropriate were used in the pilot, and then reduced to eight items for the final study. Scoring appeared to be highly consistent between raters. The final test was administered and scored on an average of 20 minutes per student, making it relatively easy to use.
Test results showed a significant difference in pitch scores between first and fourth-year students in high school choir. There were also significant differences in the pitch and rhythm mean scores of students with instrumental experience and students with only choral experience. There were no significant differences between scores of pianists and other instrumentalists.
Finally, the findings indicated that singers were not singing at the achievement levels as established by the national standards, although most students were able to accurately sight-sing difficulty level one music.
Issue Date:1996
Rights Information:Copyright 1996 Scott, Tina Bull
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9712431
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9712431

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