An investigative study into standards of pupils' attainment in appraising as part of WJEC GCSE Music in a south Wales secondary school
Green, Lewis Andrew
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Today, the music curriculum in Wales is continuously undergoing constant change and development. As part of the music curriculum at KS3 and GCSE specifications, all pupils in music should approach performing, composing and appraising activities through the deliverance of well-balanced and holistic activities. However, many pupils find it challenging to develop fully their appraising skills. The transfer of all musical skills and knowledge between KS3 and GCSE Music should relate logically and smoothly. New curricula and specifications were created to ease pupils' transition between the key stages based on pupils' knowledge, understanding and skills established and encouraged in the National Curriculum for music in Wales. Despite these changes, pupils are still finding it difficult to transfer their appraising knowledge and skills between Key Stages when participating in appraising activities and preparing for GCSE Music appraising examinations. KS3 music pupils are encouraged to develop their appraising skills through an active, practical-focused and sk//s-integrated music curriculum. However, GCSE pupils are then required suddenly to develop their appraising knowledge and skills through non-active, non-practical and non-skills integrated and the written-medium in order to meet examination-board specification requirements successfully within just 18-months. Pupils are finding the transition challenging, since it contrasts to pupils' musical development and their holistic experiences in the KS3 Music curriculum. The results from this case study show that there is a lack of wider appraising knowledge and skills being transferred between KS3 and GCSE Music. Pupils are also required to develop wider appraising knowledge and skills (music theory, music notation and European music terminology) at GCSE which are not embedded previously into KS3 Music. The requirement of wider appraising knowledge and skills is resulting in lower pupil-attainment in appraising activities and examinations. This was highlighted as a problem when compared against higher marks and grades in both the performing and composing units. Changes and new appraising pedagogies have been recommended which aim to improve pupil attainment in the WJEC GCSE Music final appraising examination. This research case study was designed to investigate pupils' attainment in appraisíng as part of WJEC GCSE Music in a south Wales secondary school between September 2012 and March 2013. My investigation specifically wanted to examine reasons for lower attainment in the GCSE Music appraising examination. The aim of this dissertation was to recommend and identify strategies to improve appraising attainment grades at GCSE for current and future pupil-cohorts. The investigation used several research methods to allow me to research effectively, such as variety qualitative and quantitative data.
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