Techniques of Assessing Students’ Vocal Music Performance by Selected Universities in Kenya: Investigating Conformity with Procedural Evaluation Frameworks
Ogari, Everline Kwamboka
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Vocal music performance occupies a dominant position in the musical landscape of Kenya yet scholars have had numerous debates as to how music should be assessed and evaluated. Instructional refinement and related matters of liability have provided a domain for the widespread need for diverse assessment and evaluation grading systems. The title of the study was on “Techniques of assessing students’ vocal music performance by selected universities in Kenya: Investigating conformity with procedural evaluation frameworks”. Based on the absence of defined frameworks and standardized criterion for assessment and evaluation that offer a common language across universities in Kenya, the main purpose of this study was to establish tools used for assessment and evaluation of vocal music by selected Kenyan universities; determine the availability of the techniques used in assessing cognitive, affective and psychomotor domains in music; Develop a vocal music assessment scoring guide that synchronizes the currently utilized grading schemes in Kenyan universities and analyze vocal music grading schemes and music scores from selected Kenyan universities based on the developed scoring guide. Guided by the objectives the study examined the intricacies of vocal music performance assessment laying out the significance of these instructional tools such as scoring guides in the evaluation process. It was noted that in all tiers of vocal music performance, there is a need for instructors to provide a thorough documentation of student performance and implementation of certain assessment and evaluation tools that layout students progresses. Purposive sampling was used to select 12 universities that offer music where 3 private and 3 public universities were randomly selected. Students of music were selected using stratified random sampling to acquire gender representation before simple random sampling technique was used to acquire the actual sample size n=30%. This study aimed at the enlightenment and improvement with regard to assessment and evaluation of vocal music in Kenyan universities. The study was guided by Constructive Alignment model as the theoretical underpinning of the research. Data were collected using opinionnaires, questionnaires, focus group discussion, and observation schedule. For purpose of classification, summarization and tabulations of data, the used descriptive analysis technique through pie charts, tables, percentages, frequencies and narration. The study findings established that activities of vocal warm ups such as vocal slides were the most used instructional activity in the universities for the voice instrument while non- verbal communication principals were least used; It was also observed that evaluation tools such as goal setting forms, templates for practice guidelines and lesson journals were inadequate ; the students’ vocal training varied in the sampled universities; as well as the capacity of music instructors to assess rhythmic accuracy, tempo, sight singing, tone, intonation, melodic accuracy, vocal technique, musicianship and synthesis analysis, historical and cultural context. The study concludes that tools for assessment and evaluation of vocal music are of great significance to the growth of students’ vocals; findings of the study showed that although there are music departments in all universities of study, some of them conform to a few of the strategies, techniques and tools needed for collecting information that determine desired outcomes. Some of the recommendations made after the study were that administration of the assessment scoring guide across different universities should exercise a common language and goals; institutions especially in Kenya to establish a more appropriate concentration on vocal music performance so as to enhance a more elaborate research on assessment and evaluation criteria on the instrument; trainers to consider the learners needs in and outside class and the vocal instrument to be assessed on its own since it involves a lot more compared to other music instruments.