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.

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 Burrack, Kansas State University, and Dr. Kelly Parkes, Teachers’ College, Columbia University. Their 2018 book Applying Model Cornerstone Assessments in K–12 Music: A Research-Supported Approach is available from NAfME and Rowman & Littlefield.

April 2024 Teaching Music


  • Ensembles
  • Standards

Resource Type

  • Book
  • Classroom Resource
  • Publication


  • Composition
  • General Music
  • Instrumental
  • Technology

Year Added


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