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The perceptions and cultural persistence of Graded music examinations, and their impacts on instrumental teaching and learning in Hong Kong

Tse, Yee Ni; (2024) The perceptions and cultural persistence of Graded music examinations, and their impacts on instrumental teaching and learning in Hong Kong. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Musical performance assessments have had a long tradition. It has been suggested that formal music examinations, such as Graded examinations, are beneficial to students’ musical learning in terms of increasing motivation, structuring learning, setting goals, providing challenges, and obtaining certification. This research aimed to explore the Graded instrumental examinations system in Hong Kong. A theoretical model inspired by Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems Theory (1994), Activity Theory (Engeström, 2001), and Creech’s (2009) typology of parent- pupil-teacher triadic interactions was used to reflect and understand how Graded music examinations were perceived and experienced. The study employed a mixed methods approach in a progressively focused manner that embraced two sequential phases: N=182 questionnaire responses from instrumental teachers, parents, and pupils, and N=14 individual semi-structured interviews. Three cases were also chosen to study example interactions and views within a participant triad. Results suggest that stakeholders had different perceptions and levels of agreement about the values and functions of Graded examinations, such as the benefits, level of association with the Hong Kong education environment, and pedagogical approaches towards Graded examinations. Although participants generally advocated the taking of Graded examinations, they also recognised potentially unhealthy, unintended effects. Due to its highly competitive and achievement-based educational context, Hong Kong culture puts a huge emphasis on credentialisation in educational attainment. Because of this, a number of social educational issues emerge, including a ‘teaching for assessment’ culture and examination-oriented learning. Extra-curricular activities are used for pupils to access ‘top-rated’ schools. Overall, the importance of certifications is overly emphasised. A double-edged effect was reported and contradictory attitudes were observed from participants concerning the advocacy of these examinations. This rise in popularity of Graded examinations, then, acted as a driving force for a further emphasis on achievement and certification, which in turn built a further achievement-based society, leading to a self-serving cycle.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: The perceptions and cultural persistence of Graded music examinations, and their impacts on instrumental teaching and learning in Hong Kong
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2024. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
Keywords: formal external assessments, Graded examinations, credentialisation, achievement-based educational context, Hong Kong, music instrumental teaching and learning
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Arts and Sciences (BASc)
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10188225
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