Development and validation of a method for diagnostic evaluation of solo musical instrument performance

Ann Marie Garczynski-Kessler, Pace University


This research was designed to apply the school psychologst's expertise in the area of psychoeducational assessment to the development of a method of evaluating music performance achievement. Current methods are notoriously unreliable, and development of instruments with adequate psychometric properties has been hindered by beliefs that assessment of artistic endeavors must necessarily be subjective. However, consideration of research in the assessment of other school performance areas, especially oral reading, suggested that more objective measurement is possible. This project's goal was the development of a new measure that is reliable, valid, practical to use, and able to provide specific as well as general diagnostic information. The author developed a two-part system for the evaluation of music performance achievement (SEMPA) to be applied to live solo performance. The first (or "objective") part of the SEMPA required coding of errors from portions of performances to be scored. The second (or "subjective") part was based on two highly reliable but obscure instruments that were modified for the SEMPA. The research hypothesis of this study was that both parts of the SEMPA would prove to have adequate reliability, would demonstrate convergent validity, and would correlate with a criterion measure. Results of the study indicated that interrater reliability and scoring accuracy was high for most categories, but reliability varied in the Pitch/Intonation category (reliability was higher for passages identified as more difficult to score). Convergent validity correlations ranged from.35 to.73 for Part I scores when adjusted for error equivalence. Both SEMPA Part I and Part II total ratings correlated with the criterion measure (correlations ranged from.61 to.82). The study provided support for the SEMPA as a reliable and valid method for evaluation of live student performance. However, the study raises some questions about rater ability to perceive errors and other issues that can be addressed in future research. Although the SEMPA was originally inspired by standardized oral reading tests, the process of its development and its final form very closely parallels that of Curriculum-Based Measurement (CBM) systems. A number of considerations from that literature have implications for future research with the SEMPA.

Subject Area

Psychological tests|Educational evaluation|Music education

Recommended Citation

Garczynski-Kessler, Ann Marie, "Development and validation of a method for diagnostic evaluation of solo musical instrument performance" (1993). ETD Collection for Pace University. AAI9411385.



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