Student Assessment Using Model Cornerstone Assessments

Using Model Cornerstone Assessments

The Model Cornerstone Assessments (MCAs) provide an instructional and assessment framework into which teachers integrate their curriculum to help measure student learning. Each school program has a unique population and circumstances that guide curricular decisions. The MCAs, designed by and for music educators, provide adaptable assessment tasks that will assist students through the each of the artistic processes outlined in the 2014 Music Standards, allowing them to demonstrate the quality of learning associated with the performance standards. The assessment rubrics have been designed and tested to be used in the classroom by teachers. If administered as written by a practicing music educator, the MCAs are documented to be valid assessments of student learning and can reliably document student growth throughout a music program.

The MCAs are focused on student learning and are not evaluations of teacher quality or effectiveness. They are to be used by teachers to inform instructional decisions and curricular choices. In preparing future teachers, the MCAs may also be included in the curricula of teacher education programs. State associations may use the MCAs freely in professional development for practicing teachers and supervisors.


Music Model Cornerstone Assessments
Listed below are MCAs ready for classroom use. These are available as a PDF. Along with the MCAs, you can also click through to the National Core Arts Standards website and view examples of illustrative student work created by students based on these MCAs.

Please note that extensive modifications, while encouraged based on your classroom needs and resources, will impact the validity and reliability scores for the assessments. To learn more visit here.

General Music, Grade 2, Creating Student work samples
General Music, Grade 2, Performing Student work samples
General Music, Grade 2, Responding  
General Music, Grade 5, Creating  
General Music, Grade 5, Performing Student work samples
General Music, Grade 5, Responding Student work samples
General Music, Grade 8, Creating  
General Music, Grade 8, Performing  
General Music, Grade 8, Responding  
Ensembles, Creating  
Ensembles, Novice/Intermediate, Performing Student work samples
Ensembles, Proficient, Performing Student work samples
Ensembles, Accomplished/Advanced, Performing  
Ensembles, Responding  
Ensembles, Harmonizing Instruments, Proficient  
Music Technology, Proficient  
Music Composition/Theory, Proficient  
Music Composition/Theory, Accomplished  
Music Composition/Theory, Advanced  


MCA Project Details and Acknowledgements
MCA development and piloting was led by a team of researchers and music educators over the 2014-2015, 2015-2016, and 2016-2017 school years. We thank all participants for their contributions to our understanding of student assessment in music, and for their creation of model assessments for use by the field. Special thanks to the lead researchers, Dr. Frederick Barrack, Kansas State University, and Dr. Kelly Parkes, Teachers’ College, Columbia University. To learn more about their work, including the forthcoming book on this project, Assessing student learning for the 2014 National Standards for Music in K-12 Context: A Research-Supported Approach to Applying Model Cornerstone Assessments in School Music Programs, click here.