Assessment is an ongoing process aimed at understanding and improving student learning. It involves both gathering and using information to modify and improve studnet outcomes. Assessment is the mechanism used to keep standards high while assuring that candidates acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to become effective music educators.
Undergraduate candidates seeking the Bachelor of Music Education degree must complete a five-stage formal assessment. Each benchmark is designed to assess potential for success at VanderCook College of Music, and to help monitor and guide each candidate's growth and development from admission through degree completion and entitlement for teacher certification. Data collected for each benchmark on the path to degree completion are used to inform revision of the curriculum.
This plan is designed to accomplish an ongoing assessment of the effectiveness of many aspects of the institution: the curriculum, recruiting, teaching, and the musical growth of our candidates. This plan, which is designed primarily to achieve long range assessment of the institution, although it will, in some cases also indicate short term trends, is a combination of instruments that have long been a tradition in the College and new instruments from within and without the institution that enable us to more effectively evaluate and compare our candidates, curriculum, and the results of our policies.
Admission to the College
Admission standards must be sufficiently high to predict the prospect of success in the program. Diversities of previous education, background, and interests of applicants are considered in assessments of potential as appropriate to the specific purposes of the program.
Teacher Candidacy Skills Assessment
At the end of the sophomore year every undergraduate candidate is tested for admission to the teacher education program. These tests are not course dependent, but are a measure of the candidate’s growth during the first two years of study. They measure a candidate’s musical growth and basic skills level. The results are used to determine if the candidate needs remedial work, should continue in teacher education, or should be counseled to change majors.
Admission to Student Teaching
The student teaching advanced field experience is the final phase of the teacher education program at VanderCook College of Music. Student teaching is designed to allow for practical application of integrated knowledge and pedagogical approaches to the teaching and learning of music. The candidate must be able to lead students to competency, apply music knowledge and skills in teaching situations, and integrate music instruction into the process of P-12 education.
Completion of Student Teaching
Upon completion of the student teaching experience, the candidate will have acquired essential competencies valued by the profession: ability to teach music at various levels and in a variety of settings; an understanding of child growth and development; the ability to assess aptitudes; knowledge of current methods appropriate to specific teaching situations; and an understanding of evaluative techniques.
Program Completion and Recommendation for Entitlement
The bachelor of music education degree is conferred upon the undergraduate candidate once all required coursework and exit assessments have been successfully completed. Entitlement, the notification sent to the State of Illinois by the College, attests to the fact that the candidate has successfully completed VanderCook’s state-approved teacher education program and has passed the required state certification exams.