Digital Assessment: Music | The Open College of the Arts
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Digital Assessment: Music

The July 2020 assessment was the first all-digital event at the OCA, and for Music, it gave us the opportunity to pilot using OCA Learn for assessing student work.

We had 15 submissions from HE4 and HE5 courses, including the exciting first submissions from the Level 2 Orchestration and Arrangement course. I am happy to report that everyone passed, and we are seeing increasingly adventurous and personalised work appearing at the assessments every year. It is always a huge pleasure to see the assessment portfolios at each event, and to see each student’s development as they work through the degree. The music team are enormously proud of the successes of all of our students, and especially the personal breakthroughs that we see within the work. 

The OCA Learn platform worked well; students were able to upload files directly into the assessment area, which could be accessed directly by the assessors. Some students made excellent use of the opportunity to create folders to organise the work, while others clearly labelled their files, making them easy to locate. This example by Tony Roberts is ideal:

It was also good to see that the vast majority of students are responding well to the feedback received and demonstrating this in their learning. 

This assessment event included some changes to the submission requirements. In addition to their choice of three assignments, critical reviews and tutor reports, we asked students to submit a reflective evaluation, and a selection of their listening and learning log entries (in addition to the complete logs) to demonstrate how they had met the learning outcomes for the course. These are an opportunity for you to introduce yourself, and your work, to the assessors, and to highlight and share the work you are most proud of, for whatever reason. It may be your best work, or it may be work that you found particularly difficult and were able to overcome a challenge in. Both of these elements will continue to be requested for future events and formed a very helpful part of the assessment process. Please make the most of these opportunities to show us who you are and what is important to you.

The reflective evaluation can be written or a presentation; while there were some very good written evaluations, I found the presentations we received to be particularly strong in terms of giving a clear picture of both the student and their pathway through the course, as they also allowed for the inclusion of sound (which is an important element in music!). Feel free to be as creative as you like with this!

Watch Inga Saatz’s reflective evaluation video below;

The selection of listening and learning log entries provides a focus – of your choosing – to guide the assessor through the work you have done. You are asked to connect these to the learning outcomes of the course so that the assessors can clearly see how you feel you have achieved these aims. In music we also still asked to see the complete logs to get a sense of the range of work you have covered; this is particularly important for the listening logs where we would expect to see around 10-12 entries for each part of the course, covering repertoire from a broad range of historical eras, and a good engagement with the music of living composers. Keep in mind the learning hours for your course (usually 400 or 600) and make sure that the level of independent study included in your learning and listening log reflects this appropriately.

Finally, at every assessment event there is always, unfortunately, some evidence of students not following the guidelines, so I’ll end with a plea to all students – please read the guidelines carefully, check and double check, and take particular care to ensure that you are submitting the right pieces of work in the right format. I’ll be hosting a drop-in session in September for any students with assessment-related questions (more details on that coming soon), but please ask me, or your tutor, if there is any aspect of the process that you are unsure of. We’re here to help!


Featured image: Page from Marie Lester Assignment 5 Beethovens Piano Sonata, Movement 1, Op 54 for Classical Orchestra REVISED (1) – Full Score.pdf.

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Posted by author: Carla
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