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Margaret Musmon & Ann Marie Gallo

The role of assessment in dance pedagogy.

Musmon, Margaret & Gallo, Ann Marie: "The role of assessment in dance pedagogy", 16th International Congress on Dance Research, Corfu, Greece, 30/10-3/11, 2002.

1. Abstract

One of the greatest challenges for dance educators is assessing student performance. The authors designed an action research project that led to the creation and implementation of an assessment instrument for use while teaching a dance warm-up in a dance pedagogy class. This paper discusses the practical implications of conducting performance assessments that include self-assessment, peer assessment, and instructor assessment for the purpose of training inexperienced dance teachers. This triangle approach to assessment offered students the opportunity to practice assessing the critical elements of the warm-up while they were performing and while they observed their peers performing the dance. In addition, the students were exposed to the benefits and limitations of using “teacher” designated assessment instruments in a practical setting.

2. Introduction

The Arts Education Consensus Project developed the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) to establish objectives for assessing arts instruction in elementary and secondary schools. The project identified objectives and developed assessment specifications for arts education in general and individually for dance, music, theater, and the visual arts in grades 4, 8, and 12. Dance assessment was field tested by NAEP for grades 4 and 8 in1995 and grade 12 in 1997. In 1999, NAEP published a field test progress report on the development, administration, and scoring of arts tasks for the three grades in all four arts. This report can be seen as a mandate to incorporate dance frameworks into the curriculum and to develop and field test dance assessment tasks.

Assessing student performance in dance education continues to be one of the greatest challenges that dance educators face in their work with students. If the experienced practitioners encounter these challenges, then how will beginning teachers deal with assessing students in their classes? An action research project in a teacher education course introduced students to “real” assessment issues. The students participated in self-assessments, peer assessments, and instructor assessments. This triangle approach to assessment offered students the opportunity to practice assessing the critical elements of the dance while they were performing and while they observed their peers performing the dance. In addition, the students were exposed to the benefits and limitations of using “teacher’ designated assessment instruments in a practical setting.

3. Dance action research project

Initiation Phase: Prior to the project the warm-up routine was taught to the prospective dance teachers who were graded subjectively by the master teacher. They were informed of their final grade but were not given specific feedback as to their performance. Their task would be to go into their own classes and correctly teach, demonstrate and finally assess their students.

3.1. Goals and objectives of the instructor:

3.1.1. Communicate expectations to the students

In addition to the demonstration of the master teacher, students have the Dance Warm-Up Study Guide (Appendix A) and the Dance Assessment Instrument (Appendix B) as self study materials.

3.1.2. Improve student performance

In addition to the demonstration of the master teacher, students have the Dance Warm-Up Study Guide (Appendix A) and the Dance Assessment Instrument (Appendix B) as self study materials.

3.1.3. Increase student accountability

Using the Dance Warm-Up Study Guide (Appendix A) and the Dance Assessment Instrument (Appendix B) as self study materials students are empowered to determine their own success or failure.

3.1.4. Students becoming active stakeholders in the learning process and grading

The materials mentioned in a. above enable the students to take control of their learning and consequently their grade.

3.1.5. Promote a successful learning environment

Students who are not visual or kinesthetic learners have the materials to provide for a successful learning experience.

3.1.6. Modeling assessment practices

NAEP guidelines instruct dance teachers to assess their students’ work. This assessment exercise in a dance teacher education course introduced students to “real” assessment issues and practices. The teacher is providing the students with an example of how to conduct dance assessment.

3.2. Goals and objectives for the students:

3.2.1. Participation in a learning community

Using the Dance Warm-Up Study Guide (Appendix A) and the Dance Assessment Instrument (Appendix B) as self study materials students are empowered to assist each other in the learning process.

3.2.2. Developing a critical eye

The study materials inform the students of technique and style subtleties which aid in developing the ability to see performance errors and make necessary corrections.

3.2.3. Practice assessing peers

Novice dance teachers must have experience assessing their peers before going into the dance studio on their own.

3.2.4. Conducting self-assessments

Students have the information necessary to conduct a critical self-evaluation of their own dance performance for demonstration purposes in the classes they will teach.

3.2.5. Critiquing assessment instruments       

Students were given the opportunity to critique the assessment instrument after using it in class and to make suggestions for its revision. This experience prepares them to create their own dance assessment instruments for their classes.

3.3. Implementation of the program:

3.3.1. The first trial

In the first trial the assessment instrument was introduced at the time of assessment. This did not address goals 1 through 5 for the instructor or goals 1 and 2 for the students.

3.3.2. The second and third trials

In the second and third trial the assessment instrument was introduced with the Dance Warm-Up Study Guide at the time of instruction. This addressed all goals (1 through 6) for the instructor as well as all goals (1 through 5) for the students.

3.3.3. Student feedback was received from all trials

After trial one the students reported a lack of preparedness for using the assessment instrument because they were not familiar with it. After trials two and three students reported a sense of empowerment and control over the outcome of their performance. They also related a sense of confidence while using the assessment instrument.

3.4. Assessment trials

The triangle approach to assessment offered students the opportunity to practice assessing the critical elements of the dance while they were performing and while they observed their peers performing the dance. The student teachers were assessed by: the master teacher, peers who were observing the performance, peers who were being led in the dance by the student teacher, and self-assessment.

                                                                Instructor Assessment

                                Peer                                                                                        Self

                     Assessment                                                                        Assessment

One of the greatest challenges for dance educators is assessing student performance. If the experienced dance practitioners encounter these challenges, then how will inexperienced beginning teachers deal with assessing students in their classes? We have found our program of introducing a comprehensive dance study guide as well as a thoroughly documented assessment instrument at the time a dance is demonstrated and taught to be a highly effective tool for enhancing the teaching of dance technique and assessment skills. It is a practical and pedagogically sound system for teaching dance technique and introducing novice dance teachers to assessment practices.

4. References

Bonbright, Jane M. & McGreevy-Nichols, Susan: NAEP and dance: On contextual data, process, and problems in dance assessments, and recommendations for the field, Arts Education Policy Review; v100 n6 p27-32 Jul-Aug 1999.

White, Sheida & Vanneman, Alan: NAEP and dance: Framework and field tests. Focus on NAEP; v3 n1 Aug 1998. 1998

5. The authors

Margaret Musmon, Ed.D. is the director of the Dance Program in the Theatre Arts Department and the Graduate Program Coordinator in the Exercise Science and Physical Education Department at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She is a dancer, choreographer and teacher. Professor Musmon and co-author, Ann Marie Gallo, Ed.D. have been researching and presenting papers on dance assessment for several years.

Margaret Musmon, Ed.D

Associate Professor

University of Massachusetts, Boston

5 Walton Road

MA 01908 Nahant

U.S.A.

Ann Marie Gallo, Ed.D:

Assistant Professor

University of MassachusettsBoston

CF0224e.doc                 TWO PAGES WITH GRAPHS follow

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Appendix A

Dance Warm-up Study Guide

Breathing

Start with arms down at your sides, bring then up in a circular motion over your head (4 counts) return arms to your sides (4 counts) - Repeat

Demi pliés This is a half-bending of the knees.

1. four demi-pliés with legs together (Parallel first position)

2. four with legs apart stepping to the right (Parallel second position)

3. four with legs together

4. four with legs apart stepping to the left

5. four with legs together

6. step to right and do one plie

7. then together for one

8. step to left and do one plie

9. then together for one

10. repeat steps 6 thru 9

Tendu (To stretch) metatarsal arch.

Slide the foot on the floor without bending knee.

Right:     Forward (4)                           Left: Forward (4)

                Side   (4)                               Side   (4)

              Backward (4)                                         Backward (4)

                Side   (4)                               Side   (4)                                Repeat

Roll down

Roll down forward leading with chin 8 counts

Roll up bringing head up last 8 counts

Roll down forward leading with chin 8 counts

Roll up bringing head up last 8 counts

Roll down forward leading with chin 8 counts

Bend knees for 2 counts

Straighten knees for 2 counts

Bend knees for 2 counts

Straighten knees for 2 counts

Roll up bringing head up last 8 counts            Repeat

Head isolations

Chin on chest for 2 counts

Head up for 2 counts

Look right for 2 counts

Look left for 2 counts

Roll head from left to right for 4 counts

Roll head from right to left for 4 counts           Repeat

Shoulder isolations

2 shrugs up and down

2 rolls forward

2 rolls backward

Out and in right, out and in left

Repeat out and in right, out and in left 2 times               Repeat

Rib isolations

Right-center 4 times

Left-center 4 times

Right-left 4 times  Repeat

Hip isolations

Right-center 4 times

Left-center 4 times

Right-Left 4 timesRepeat

Grapevine

Step right to side, step left behind, step right side - touch left heel

Perform L, R, L

Repeat sequence with knee lift

Repeat sequence with hamstring curl

Repeat sequence with toe touch in front

Three step turn

Step right, left, right clap

Step left, right, left clap

Step right, left, right clap

Step left, right, left clap

Marching

March forward 4 steps right, left, right, left

4 steps to the back right, left, right, left

Touch right close, left close, right close, left close

Repeat the sequence

Arm Stretches Marching starting on right foot

Deltoid - Bring right arm across chest hold for 8 counts

Reverse using left arm

Triceps - Bring right arm behind head to center of back hold for 8 counts

Reverse using left arm

Leg stretches

Right lunge position, lifting both arms forward, hold for 8 counts

Bend left knee center body, hold for 8 counts

Press tip of left toe into floor, hold 8 counts

Step back on left foot, dorsiflex right foot, support on left thigh with hands           

Step forward on left foot, press knees together, bring right heel to buttocks

Repeat left

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Appendix B

DANCE ROUTINE ASSESSMENT INSTRUMENT

Name of Performer_________________________Date_________________

Name of Evaluator_________________________             

 

Self Evaluation                           Peer Evaluation              Teacher Evaluation

4 Consistently and accurately performs the critical elements of skill

3 Frequently and accurately performs the critical elements of skill

2 Sporadically performs the critical elements of skill with accuracy

1 Rarely performs the critical elements of skill with accuracy

Begins on the correct foot                                   4          3          2          1          N/O

Performs steps of routine properly                       4          3          2          1          N/O

Moves in proper direction                                    4          3          2          1          N/O

Follows routine in the order presented                  4          3          2          1          N/O

Stays on beat of music                                       4          3          2          1          N/O

Incorporates the style of the dance                      4          3          2          1          N/O

 

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