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Improving writing and reading comprehension through blogging about experiences in class piano
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 Material Information
Title: Improving writing and reading comprehension through blogging about experiences in class piano
Physical Description: Project in lieu of thesis
Language: English
Creator: Atkinson, Nancy A. ( Dissertant )
Hoffer, Charlers ( Thesis advisor )
dos Santos, Silvio ( Reviewer )
Publisher: College of Fine Arts, University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2009
Copyright Date: 2009
 Notes
Abstract: Standardized testing for students in public schools has become the most significant means for assessing students and teachers during the past fifteen years across the United States. In Florida, the Florida Comprehension Assessment Test (FCAT) is administered every year in March to all students between third and tenth grades for reading and math. In fourth, eighth, and tenth grades writing assessments are also administered. The No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law monitor’s each school’s Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). Improvement in each designated group monitored by NCLB must reach a designated percentage according to requirements determined by the Florida Department of Education. This study compared two groups of students in a piano class at a public high school in Florida. Each group consisted of eleven students between ninth and twelfth grade. Students from each group were individually paired, according to similar musical backgrounds, FCAT test scores, District Benchmark Assessment Reading Scores for ninth- and tenth-grade participants, scores from a brief writing sample Preliminary Scholastic Assessment Test (PSAT) for eleventh and twelfth-grade students and a music theory test designed by the Florida Vocal Association for all participants. A weblog was created for test group participants. Once a week, between October 5 and November 17, these students were asked to submit comments on the blog concerning material covered in class the previous week, ask questions of each other about concepts or techniques, and offer suggestions to assist each other. Students from the control group received the same class piano instruction, but did not contribute to the blog. The English teachers of the students from both groups had no prior knowledge of who comprised each group and were asked to assess each student’s progress or level of writing, while participating in English class. Their assessments are based on general writing assignments during class throughout the duration of this project. The benchmark tests for September and November were used as pre-test and post-test for the ninth- and tenth-grade students. Juniors and seniors were required to take another brief sample PSAT as a post-test. Any results based on improved writing or reading comprehension skills were inconclusive because of the brief duration of this study. However, the blog is a strong vehicle for critical thinking, problem solving, and cooperative learning among its participants. This study will continue through March, when the FCAT will be administered to students in ninth and tenth grades. In May, when test results are available, a diagnosis and comparison of previous and present scores for reading and writing will be made between the two groups, both individually and collectively. If significant differences indicate that the test subjects have made more progress than the control subjects, a class blog will be used as part of the piano class curriculum the next school year.
Acquisition: Music Education terminal project
Thesis: MM in Music Education conferred Fall 2009.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
General Note: Includes vita.
General Note: Document formatted into pages; contains 43 p.
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Source Institution: University of Florida Institutional Repository
Rights Management: Permissions granted to the University of Florida Institutional Repository and University of Florida Digital Collections to allow use by the submitter. All rights reserved by the author.
System ID: IR00000043:00001

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IMPROVING WRITING AND READING COMPREHENSION THROUGH BLOGGING
ABOUT EXPERIENCES IN CLASS PIANO


















By

NANCY A. ATKINSON

SUPERVISORY COMMITTEE:
Charles Hoffer, Chair
Silvio dos Santos, Member














A PROJECT IN LIEU OF THESIS PRESENTED TO THE COLLEGE OF FINE ARTS
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE
REQUIREMENTS FOR THE
DEGREE OF MASTER OF MUSIC

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA

2009


































2009 Nancy A. Atkinson









ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I would like to thank my advisors Dr. Charles Hoffer and Dr. Silvio dos Santos for their

continuous support and encouragement in helping me to research and write this project. Their

honesty, expertise, and humor made this a more enjoyable endeavor. I would also like to thank

Dr. Timothy Brophy for creating the Summer Master's Degree in Music Education at the

University of Florida. This opportunity served many of us well by focusing the majority of our

studies into two six-week periods during two consecutive summers.

The administration and faculty of English teachers from West Port High School were

extremely resourceful and generous with their time and assistance assessing the students who

participated in this project. These include the following: Principal, Jayne Ellspermann; Assistant

Principal, Benjamin Whitehouse; Testing Coordinator, Brianne Harris; and English Teachers,

Laurie Reeder, Richard Hunte, Jessica Becher, Jarrod Hester, Harold Thomas, Ricardo Garcia-

Suarez, William Roughton and Milton Yiasemedes.

Finally, I would like to thank my husband, Blake Atkinson. His constant support and

encouragement to my activities at work as well as school over the past thirty-six years have made

it possible for me to become successful in my career as well as my education.









TABLE OF CONTENTS



A C K N O W L E D G M E N T S ......... .. ............................................................................................. 3

LIST OF TABLES .......... ........ .. .......... .......... ........ 5

AB STRACT ..................... ................... ........................... 6

CHAPTER

1 V A L U E A N D PU R PO SE .......................................................... ........................................ 8

Background of the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) and No Child Left
B behind (N C L B ) .............. . ..... ....... .............. ......................... ....................... 8
The Effects of Standardized Testing on Arts Education........................................ 9

2 RELATED RESEARCH AND WRITINGS................................................................. 12

3 P R O C E D U R E S ........................................................................................................................... 16

4 R E S U L T S ............................................................................... .... ............... 19

English Teacher's Individual Scores between early September and mid-November.............23
Individual Score Comparisons between the September and November DBMA ....................24
Individual Score Comparisons between the September Pre-test and November Pre-test
o f S a m p le P S A T ...................................................................................................................... 2 4

5 C O N C L U SIO N ............... ........................................................................................................ 2 7

A PPE N D IX : T H E B L O G S ......... .. ............ ............................................................................... 29

BIBLIOGRAPHY ........................... ............................... 41

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ........... ..... ....... ......................... ...... .................. 43









LIST OF TABLES

Table page

4-1 Experimental group subjects(English Teacher's Individual Scores)..............................23

4-2 Control group subjects(English Teacher's Individual Scores)................ .............. ....23

4-3 Experimental group(DBMA score comparisons)........................................................24

4-4 Control group(DBM A score com prisons) ................................... .................................... 24

4-5 Experimental group(sample PSAT score comparisons) ....... ........................................24

4-6 Control group(sample PSAT score comparisons).......................... ................24

4-7 Data, test scores and results for experimental group ............................................... 25

4-8 Data, test scores and results for control group .......... ........... .................... ............... 26









Summary of Project in Lieu of Thesis
Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida
in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the
Degree of Master of Music

IMPROVING WRITING AND READING COMPREHENSION THROUGH BLOGGING
ABOUT EXPERIENCES IN CLASS PIANO
By

Nancy A. Atkinson

December 2009

Chair: Charles Hoffer
Major: Music

Standardized testing for students in public schools has become the most significant means

for assessing students and teachers during the past fifteen years across the United States. In

Florida, the Florida Comprehension Assessment Test (FCAT) is administered every year in

March to all students between third and tenth grades for reading and math. In fourth, eighth, and

tenth grades writing assessments are also administered. The No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law

monitor's each school's Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). Improvement in each designated

group monitored by NCLB must reach a designated percentage according to requirements

determined by the Florida Department of Education.

This study compared two groups of students in a piano class at a public high school in

Florida. Each group consisted of eleven students between ninth and twelfth grade. Students

from each group were individually paired, according to similar musical backgrounds, FCAT test

scores, District Benchmark Assessment Reading Scores for ninth- and tenth-grade participants,

scores from a brief writing sample Preliminary Scholastic Assessment Test (PSAT) for eleventh-

and twelfth-grade students and a music theory test designed by the Florida Vocal Association for

all participants. A weblog was created for test group participants. Once a week, between









October 5 and November 17, these students were asked to submit comments on the blog

concerning material covered in class the previous week, ask questions of each other about

concepts or techniques, and offer suggestions to assist each other. Students from the control

group received the same class piano instruction, but did not contribute to the blog. The English

teachers of the students from both groups had no prior knowledge of who comprised each group

and were asked to assess each student's progress or level of writing, while participating in

English class. Their assessments are based on general writing assignments during class

throughout the duration of this project. The benchmark tests for September and November were

used as pre-test and post-test for the ninth- and tenth-grade students. Juniors and seniors were

required to take another brief sample PSAT as a post-test.

Any results based on improved writing or reading comprehension skills were inconclusive

because of the brief duration of this study. However, the blog is a strong vehicle for critical

thinking, problem solving, and cooperative learning among its participants. This study will

continue through March, when the FCAT will be administered to students in ninth and tenth

grades. In May, when test results are available, a diagnosis and comparison of previous and

present scores for reading and writing will be made between the two groups, both individually

and collectively. If significant differences indicate that the test subjects have made more

progress than the control subjects, a class blog will be used as part of the piano class curriculum

the next school year.









CHAPTER 1
VALUE AND PURPOSE

Background of the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) and No Child Left
Behind (NCLB)

Standardized national testing for assessment has been researched and used for both

student assessment and teacher accountability in Florida, at least since 1971. In 1976, the

Florida legislature supported state assessment tests in grades three, five, eight, and eleven. That

year, it also passed the first graduation test. Since then the legislature has continuously supported

assessment in public schools throughout the state. The Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test

(FCAT) was first administered in 1998. Though changes have been made concerning which

assessments were administered to specific grades, all students between Grades 3 and 10 are

tested in reading, mathematics, and writing since 2000. Since March 2005, the FCAT Science

assessment has been administered to students in eleventh grade.

Approximately 1,760,000 public school students were administered the FCAT in 2008.

This includes students who are English Language Learners (ELL) as well as students with

disabilities. All of these students are working toward receiving a regular diploma when they

graduate.

The writing portion of the FCAT is administered in February. Reading and math are

administered in March. Depending on the grade level, FCAT testing takes between four hours

(for younger grades) and eight hours (Grades eight through ten) over a nine-day period and

addresses a different part for each day.

In January 2002 the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act was signed by President George

W. Bush. This has been used to measure the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) of each school

nationwide based on reading and math scores of the standardized tests. NCLB monitors the

progress of subgroups within the schools, including various racial groups, students with









disabilities, English Language Learners, and economically disadvantaged children. The main

focus of the school curriculum is to prepare the students for standardized testing in order to raise

the standards of student comprehension, as well as to bridge the gaps among students of various

educational, racial, cultural, and socio-economic backgrounds.

These test scores are used as sole indicators on many levels. In third grade they may

determine whether a child will pass or be retained. In high school a student cannot graduate with

a standard diploma until the requirements are met, unless the student opts to substitute SAT or

ACT scores for FCAT scores, after failing to pass the FCAT after three re-tests. The teacher's

competency level is based on the overall scores of his or her students. The school's grade is

based on the overall average of these students' scores. The county is ranked statewide based on

these scores.

The A+ school accountability program gives incentives to schools that perform well with

raising test scores. This measures grades based on general improvement of FCAT scores within a

school, particularly among the lower academic twenty-five percent. However, if standards for a

school's AYP are not met within five years, even if the school's grade has improved, the

Department of Education will require the school to disassemble its faculty and administration

during the next year and basically "rebuild" the school. These disassembled faculties and

administrations are divided among other schools in the district.

The Effects of Standardized Testing on Arts Education

Since standardized testing has become the primary focus in determining the success or

failure of a particular school or school system, arts and special area teachers have also been

required to redesign their curricula in order to incorporate the same benchmarks and standards in

their lesson plans. Students unable to meet the criteria based on these standardized tests often

must eliminate electives such as music and art from their schedules and take remedial math or









reading classes instead. This will ideally raise their test scores when they are required to retake

them during fall or spring of the next school year.

Since 2002, secondary schools in Marion County reduced the number of classes a student

could take during the regular school day from seven periods to six. This saved money for the

county and allowed teachers to receive their much needed raises. However, this also reduced the

number of electives a student could take. This reduction, in addition to required remediation

classes for many students, greatly decreased enrollment in many elective courses, including

music and art.

There is documented evidence of a strong correlation between students enrolled in music

classes and scores on these standardized assessment tests. The literature indicates that the more

time students participate in these music classes throughout their time in school, the higher their

test scores. It is very difficult to prove that music performance influences reading or math

comprehension skills or that those students who test well in these areas are more inclined to

possess the discipline required to perform in a musical ensemble. However, when students are

given the opportunity to pursue these electives over three or more years, they score higher on

FCAT and other standardized tests (Hansen, Bernstorf, & Stuber 2004).

It is easy to observe learning and study habits of each individual student in a classroom of

keyboard students. The students who select this class vary in musical experience and academic

abilities. Students enroll in class keyboard or piano for several different reasons. At the high

school level, the class includes students who have no musical experience, who are only slightly

familiar with the piano from knowing other people who play it. Students need a performing arts

credit to graduate and this is a good way to receive that credit. The performance expectations of

this class are not nearly as high as they are for band or orchestra, in which students are expected









to participate in various district and statewide adjudications and numerous community concerts.

Several students are interested in pursuing music in college and presently play other instruments.

These students realize that their music comprehension for theory and composition become

enhanced from learning the piano because of its orchestral nature.

Academic diversity also prevails in a piano class. In general, these students have various

grade point averages, test scores and attitudes toward education. At the high school level, part of

the challenge for the teacher is to incorporate a sense of responsibility for self by developing the

concept of delayed gratification through practicing and studying skills that are unfamiliar.

Although many students have already discovered this principle through playing sports or other

activities, many have not persevered in active learning through academics. When students learn

that consistency in reviewing and practicing is necessary to master a skill, they may be able to

transfer this discipline to other academics. Even at the high school level, these habits may be

established through taking a music class, such as keyboard or piano.

At this time, many teachers of social studies, arts, and technology have become certified

in teaching reading or math to improve the standardized test scores of their students in all grades.

This has helped teachers of electives manage to keep many of their students out of regular

remediation and in their own programs, thus keeping their own class enrollment intact. Many

teachers of electives not certified in these reading or math courses who lose students to

remediation are then required to teach out-of-field academic classes to stay employed, by

meeting the required class enrollment standards. It is possible, however, to raise scores on

standardized tests by developing critical and creative thinking skills among students in all arts

and academic classes without rearranging lesson plans or curricula.









CHAPTER 2
RELATED RESEARCH AND WRITINGS

Very little research has been found to directly connect the effects of keyboard instruction

on reading comprehension or improved writing skills. The research described in this literature

review is based on the following: instrumental music education with young children;

psychological qualities as they correlate with cognitive and music abilities; music making and

spatial reasoning; teaching the structure of music by using literary symbols; and the most current

stories of neuroscience and its application to cognitive occurrences when studying music as a

passive participant through listening, and as an active participant through singing or playing an

instrument.

Much of the current research on the relationship between music education and literacy is

based on studies of young children who are learning to read in elementary schools. Using

methods by Kodaly, Suzuki, and Orff, an instructor approaches teaching music the way language

is taught. First, the students listen, followed by speaking (or singing or playing), then they read,

and finally, they write (or compose) (Liperte, 2006). The same principles may apply to high

school students. Just as children learn to connect sounds of words with language, adolescents

and adults can learn to associate music symbols with tones and then phrases and complete

musical ideas. Reading comprehension is often the most difficult concept to teach. Often,

limited vocabulary or minimal reading experience creates frustration with these students and

causes them to lose interest in reading.

In a study comparing cognitive ability with impulsive/reflective tendency, Schmidt and

Sinor found that students who demonstrated a low tolerance for delayed gratification also scored

lower on academic tests (Schmidt & Sinor, 1986). Learning an instrument requires a discipline

practice that may be transferred to other activities. Eventually, when a student is successful in









learning an enjoyable activity such as performing music, he or she may be more inclined to

become successful in areas where he or she previously lacked confidence.

An experimental study by Hetland related music instruction to spatial reasoning. He

found that several variables, including age, affected the enhancement of spatial reasoning

abilities among subjects of his test group (Hetland, 2000). After three years of study, the younger

children between the ages of three and seven showed the greatest improvement when compared

to a control group of children the same age. Between ages nine and twelve, after the second year

of piano instruction, the test group students showed greater improvement than the students of the

control group. However, after the third year of piano instruction, both groups tested at the same

level for spatial reasoning.

Other variables observed in Hetland's study included different socio-economic

backgrounds, parental involvement, physical development, and motor skills ability. Students in

this study were considerably older than those in Hetland's study, although several variables are

similar, including different socio-economic backgrounds. Other psychological studies, including

the research conducted by Schmidt and Sinor, have been performed with older students. As

early as 1960, Cooley performed an experimental research project that included college

undergraduates using the following tests: The American Council on Education Psychological

Examination, College Level, 1949 edition; the Cooperative Reading Comprehension Tests; the

Bernreuter Personality Inventory and; the Seashore Measures of Musical Talents. The purpose

of these tests was to compare the relationship between certain mental and personality traits and

ratings of musical abilities. The data from these tests indicate a strong correlation between

academic intelligence, musicality, and sight reading. Other findings were not quite as consistent.

The personality of the music student was different from that of the non-music student. Music









students tended to be reflective and more introverted, yet often confidentcompared to non-music

students (Cooley, 1961).

Hetland says research in neuroscience indicates that connections with spatial reasoning

are directly related to rhythm perception and performance. In a recent study, Clegorne (2004)

selected 27 sixth grade students and compared each subject's FCAT score with his or her score

from the Clegorne Rhythmic Achievement Indicator Test (CRAIT). The test measured three

areas of rhythmic achievement: the subject's ability to establish and hold a steady beat; the

subject's ability to echo rhythm patterns; and the subject's ability to decipher between duple and

triple meter. Each section of the CRAIT was scored using a numerical value and correlated

(individually and as a combined score) with the participants' FCAT reading achievement scores.

The subtest analysis indicated a strong correlation between reading achievement and the ability

to establish a steady beat and a moderately positive correlation between reading achievement and

the echo and meter parts of the CRAIT.

Levine (2002) says that the benefits of studying a musical instrument include

strengthening small muscle coordination and psychomotor skills. He also states that in the

process of studying music, one must familiarize oneself with form and remembering themes

among other "literary" type exercises. He believes that music and art teachers are the most

observant in assessing visual and aural abilities among their students and that music and the arts

are very efficient in developing critical and creative thinking skills.

In speaking to a MENC conference in 1966, Fuller described a lecture he administered to

scientists, mathematicians and engineers at MIT(Fuller, 1966). He strongly emphasizes the

importance of music in the curriculum for its aesthetic value and also to develop critical and

creative thinking skills. As a graduate reading education instructor, Tanner describes a









demonstration of teaching the form of music, both instrumental and vocal, like works of

literature. Instrumentalists discuss how their individual parts "fit" with the rest of the orchestra.

When studying opera, the music is compared to the drama and the arias (Tanner, 1983).

Brown (2001) discovered that there is little evidence directly connecting the transfer of

artistic skills to academic ability. However, research shows that there has always been a strong

correlation between children who study instrumental music and academic scores, particularly

reading and math. Research in neuroscience also suggests the brain activity that occurs when

performing instrumental music is connected to language production. Sacks (2007) says activities

such as singing, performing instrumental music and listening to music produce organization

abilities in memory, cognitive thought processes and creativity.

These writings cover nearly fifty years of studies connecting musical activity to brain

development and academic achievement. There is certainly even more literature written on this

topic before and during the past fifty years. Most of these authors were not concerned with

establishing that music instruction is necessary. Several of the authors are, in fact, not music

educators or performers. However, as scholars, scientists, and music educators, all emphasize

the enhanced brain activity as well as the aesthetic value offered through music that cannot be

delivered by any other means.









CHAPTER 3
PROCEDURES

The participants in this study attended a magnet performing and visual arts high school in

Central Florida. These students were all enrolled in the same keyboard class. This class was

offered to all students. Some but not all were magnet students required to audition before

acceptance into the magnet program. Students in Grades nine through twelve were included in

this study.

The selection of the students for this experiment was based randomly on who responded to

the invitation to participate. All students who returned the signed parent release form within the

given time frame were selected. Within a few weeks, some showed poor attendance habits.

Others learned that they were required to replace their elective keyboard class with a remedial

class in reading or math. These students were removed from the study.

In an attempt to develop problem solving skills among students, a blog was created to

allow students to share their ideas, hesitancies, and challenges in learning the keyboard. Two

groups were selected to participate in this study. Each group consisted of eleven students. The

experimental group used the blog by communicating during class time for a total of fifteen

minutes per week. They were also permitted to share ideas outside of class, if they chose, but this

was not required. The control group participated as regular class members but did not blog. The

blogging took place using the computers inside the classroom or the library and the students had

set times in which to do this. The blog was read and reviewed by the instructor, and questions

were posted as necessary, concerning lessons covered for the week. The students were

encouraged to read each other's blogs and to discuss methods of learning challenging skills or

concepts.









The students from the experimental group were paired individually with students from

the control group based on previous keyboard or other instrumental experience, previous and

recent standardized test scores in reading, and writing and test scores for musicianship. District

Benchmark Assessments (DBMAs) and Focus Calendar Assessments (FCAs) were used to

assess ninth and tenth grade students and sample twenty-five minute verbal sections of the PSAT

were used for juniors and seniors. Although the scores were not an exact match for each of

these, they were close enough to discern growth or progress of individuals as well as each group

as a whole. Initially, the teacher of this class had either met with or actually taught less than a

third of the student participants. As the class progressed and the teacher and newer students

became better acquainted, it became evident that some of the matches had to be reconsidered in

order to appropriate closer similarities. Although the control and experimental groups were not

changed, some of the pairings were modified.

The students' writing skills were assessed by their English teachers. Writing samples and

grades in these students' English classes were used as data in this project. Since the English

teachers were not made aware of whether their students were in the experimental group or

control group, they were completely unbiased.

Pre-testing for this study began during the first few weeks of school between August 24

and September 11, 2009. Students were interviewed about previous musical experience and

given a musicianship test that is used by the Florida Vocal Association (FVA). Recent and

previous FCAT scores were provided by the Florida Department of Education. The students from

both groups in eleventh and twelfth grades were given a sample writing PSAT pre-test. The

English teachers were asked to assist in this study by sharing documented scores of students'

essays and reading assignments. The actual study, however, began October 8 and continued









until November 18 with each student from the experimental group submitting six blogs. During

the final week of the study, all writing samples and assessments by the English teachers were

documented. The results from the November DBMA given to students in ninth and tenth grades

were available for data and all participants in eleventh and twelfth grades were given a different

sample writing PSAT post-test. Comparisons were then made between students of each group

based on these results.









CHAPTER 4
RESULTS

Free/reduced lunch indicates socio-economic status. This was not considered for

selection of either test or control group. Neither were they considered for the pairing or grouping

of these students. The qualifications for free and reduced lunch are based on family income for

the year indicated. Eligibility was as follows: the experimental group had four students who

qualified for free lunch, two students who qualified for reduced lunch, and five students who

either did not apply or did not qualify for free or reduced lunch. The control group had seven

students who qualified for free lunch, one student who qualified for reduced lunch, and three

students who either did not apply or did not qualify for free or reduced lunch.

Race/ethnicity was also not considered for selection of either test or control group. The

individuals' races or ethnicity are listed as indicated by "No Child Left Behind." The test group

had one African-American student, two Hispanic students and eight White students. The control

group had one Asian/Pacific Islander, one Multi-Racial student, seven Hispanic students and

three White students.

Previous musical experience was considered when selecting the groups. This was

combined with test scores, music theory knowledge and PSAT sample test scores. They are all

very approximate. Previous musical experience varied greatly among students in both groups.

The first level students were noted as "elementary school class." These students had only

training within their music classes from four or more years before taking this class. Because

these students had not performed in music classes in middle or high school and had never had

private instruction on any musical instrument, they were obviously the least experienced and

were assessed accordingly. The musical aptitude of these students was comparable to many of

the more experienced students.









The second level in experience included a student who studied an instrument in band

during middle school, two years earlier, which enhanced her comprehension of notation for bass

clef since she played baritone, but limited some of her technical experience. This level also

included a student who studied piano for a year or so in elementary school. These students were

re-learning much of what they knew at one time and had since forgotten.

The third level included those who had studied class guitar for two years, before this year.

These students were less experienced in music theory concepts, but understood relationships

between chords and other functions of how music is arranged.

The fourth level included those students who studied class piano the previous year. These

students had extensive training in music theory, scales, sight reading, and beginning literature.

Most of the material they learned at this time was review for them.

The fifth and most advanced level included a student who had played percussion in band

for six years. From performing complex rhythms and meters as well as having several years of

experience playing pitched percussion instruments, such as the xylophone, this student had

extensive experience in both theory and sight reading. This level also included students who had

private lessons within three years before taking this class. Their comprehension of theory was

limited. However, their ability to sight read was better than the rest of the students in this study.

Technically, they were more proficient than the percussionist.

English teacher scores on class assignments indicated scores on written assignments

between early September and mid-November. The ninth- and tenth-grade teachers based their

scores of FCA's (Focus Calendar Assessment) given in preparation for the writing portions of

the FCAT. These were given once a month. The eleventh- and twelfth-grade teachers graded

their student's writing assignments using a very similar rubric, so the results are comparable.









Between the earliest and most recent assessments, the total scoring of all eleven test group

students improved by eight points, whereas the total scoring of all eleven control group students

improved by 1 point. See Table 4.land 4.2 on page 23 for individual rates of progress among

subjects of the experimental group and the control group

During English classes, the ninth- and tenth-grade students in the test group performed

considerably better than the students in the control group, averaging greater than one point

higher per student, on a six-point scale, whereas the eleventh- and twelfth-grade students from

the control group performed slightly better than the students in the experimental group averaging

one-hundredth of a point higher.

Music Theory test score was based on the averages taken from assessing a musicianship

exam designed by the Florida Vocal Association. This test is administered as part of the initial

audition of all high school students interested in placement in one of the All State choruses that

perform at the Florida Music Educators Association conference in January. It consists of fifty

questions assessing the following: ear-training experience with intervals and chord tonalities;

concepts with notation and meter; and musical terms and symbols. To be considered for the

auditions that follow, the chorus student must score 70% or higher. After administering this test

to all of the keyboard students, the average score was 47%. Considering that this was new

material and a new form of assessment to all these students, this score was viable in determining

what needed to be emphasized in teaching music theory to these students throughout the school

year. It was also excellent in helping to pair or group these students. The totals of the scores

from each group were similar with the experimental group's combined scores totaling 526. The

control group's combined scores total was 528.









Individual piano class progress refers to the rate of progress made by each student. This

progress was based on a rubric between 1 and 5. Students with the most experience definitely

moved more rapidly. Previous experience was taken into consideration, also. This assessment

was more subjective than the others. Attitude, homework assignments, attendance and

performance were all considered when making this evaluation. The average score for the test

group was 4.1. The average score for the control group was 4.2.

Previous and most recent FCAT Scores are based on the scores taken in either eighth

and ninth grades, ninth and tenth grades, or, when required, tenth and eleventh grades. Students

are required to score 300 (a low 3 or high 2, depending on the year) in reading to pass the FCAT

in 10th grade. The scores range between 100 and 500 for reading and are ranked between 1 and 5.

Students who earn a 2 or lower are required to retake the FCAT the following year. The average

score between 1 and 5 for the experimental group's most recent test was 3.1 The average score

between 1 and 5 for the control group most recent test was 3.2

Previous FCAT writing scores include scores from the most recent years these students

had taken these tests; eighth and eleventh grades. This test is scored between 1 and 6 and

assesses three kinds of writing: narrative, persuasive, and expository. A student must receive a

combined score of 3.5 or higher to pass. Control group student number nine is the only student

of nine to score lower than required to pass with a 3.

District Benchmark Assessments used for ninth- and tenth-grade students are the most

current and accurate assessments of reading comprehension. All of the students should have

scored 20 % higher by the November assessment. (Tables 4.3 and 4.4)

Pre-test PSAT sample test scores are taken from section five of a sample test in the 2010

Kaplan PSAT/NMSQT Premier Edition study guide. Eleventh- and twelfth-grade students from









both groups participated. This sample test assesses the ability of the student to identify sentence

errors, improve sentences and improve paragraphs. There are thirty-nine questions in this

sample. There was no prior or remedial preparation for this test in class. Of thirty-nine

questions, the average correct number of answers between the two groups was 18.1. The first test

was taken between October 1 and 2, 2009.

Post-test PSAT sample test is also taken from section five of a different sample test in the

same Kaplan text. This test was taken November 18, 2009.The average score of correct answers

out of thirty-nine questions between the two groups was 20.5.The average score of the eleventh-

and twelfth-grade students in the test group was 20. The average score of the students in the

control group was 21. (4.5 and 4.6 on page 25 for calculated results between the two tests.

English Teacher's Individual Scores Between early September and mid-November

Table 4-1. Experimental group subjects(English Teacher's Individual Scores)
9th grade: 10th grade: 11thgrade: 12th grade:

#1:+0 #4:+10 none #3:+.5
#2:+.5 #7:+10 #5:+.5
#6:+3.0 #8:+.5
#9: +.5
#10: +.5
#11:+0.0


Table 4-2 Control group subjects(English Teacher's Individual Scores)
9th grade: 10th grade: 11th grade: 12th grade:
#1:-2.5 #2:+0 #7:+0 #3:+.5
#4: +0 #9:+0 #5:+1.5
#6: +0 #11:+0 #8:+0
#10:+.5









Individual Score Comparisons between the September and November DBMA

Table 4-3: Experimental group(DBMA score comparisons)
Subject # 1 2 4 6 7
Points +/- +13 +6 +36 +14 +17
% +/- +19% +7% +163% +23% +25%
The median average was 47.4% improvement for test group participants between September and
November Tests.


Table 4-4: Control group(DBMA score comparisons)
Subject # 1 2 4 6 8*


Points +/- +16 +30 -2 -10 +44
% +/- +20% +54% -3% -12% +200%
The median average is 21.2 percent improvement for the control group participants between
September and November Tests


Individual Score Comparisons between the September pre-test and November Pre-test of
Sample PSAT

Table 4-5: Experimental group(sample PSAT score comparisons)
Subject # #3 #5 #8 #9 #10 #11
Points +/- +3 +8 -2 +4 +0 +0
% +/- +'7% +44% -12% +26% 0% 0%
The median percentage improvement for experimental group participants between pre-test and
post test is 12.5% improvement.

Table 4-6: Control group(samplePSAT score comparisons)
Subject # #3 #5 #7 #8* #9 #10 #11
Points +/- +2 +2 +4 +9 +1 +0 +4
%=/- +10% +9.5% +21% +112.5% +6.3% 0% +18%
The median percentage improvement for the control group participants between pre-test and post
test was 25.3 % improvement.
*8, a senior was required to take the DBMA tests as well as the pre-test and post-test sample
PSAT









Table 4-7: Data, test scores and results for experimental group
Test Subject 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
Grade 9 9 12 10 12 9 10 12 12 12 12
Free/Reduced
Frd Free Free n/a Free Free n/a Reduced n/a n/a Reduced n/a
Lunch
Race/ Hispanic White African/
H W W W W W W W W
Ethnicity (H) (W) American
Previous 2 years 4 years Class Band Band Elem. 2 yrs. Elem. Elem. 1 year 2 yr.
Musical private private Guitar 3 years 6 years School Private School School private class
Experience piano piano 2 yrs. Baritone Percussion class piano Class Class piano guitar
English Teacher to 4
Scores on Class 5 to 5 4 to 4.5 2 to 3 4 to 4.5 2 to 5 3 to 4 3.5 to 4 3.5 to 4 4 to 4
Assignments
Mus. Theory Test
Score 40 54 52 34 68 56 58 32 40 38 54
Med. 47
Ind. Piano Class
nd.Piano5 5 4 3 5 4 5 2 3 4 5
Progress(1-5)
Previous and most
recent FCAT 4 to 5 3 to 3 2 to 3 3 to 2 3 to 2 3 to 3 3 to 5 1 to 2 2 to 3 2 to 2 4 to 4
Read. Score (1-5)
Previous FCAT
Writ. Score 5 4 n/a n/a n/a 4 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
Highest -6
Grades 9-10 Sept.
Grades 9-10 Sept. 69 78 n/a 22 n/a 62 67 n/a n/a n/a n/a
09 Benchmark
Grades 9-10 Nov.
Grad. 82 84 n/a 58 n/a 76 84 n/a n/a n/a n/a
09 Benchmark
Grades 11-12:
Pre-TestPSAT n/a n/a 17 n/a 18 n/a n/a 16 15 19 22
Score Med. -18)
Post-Test
Pst n/a n/a 20 n/a 26 n/a n/a 14 19 19 22
PSAT Score











Table 4-8: Data, test scores and results for control group
Control Subject 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
Grade 9 10 12 9 12 9 11 12 11 12 11
Free/Reduced
Fd Free Red. Free Free Free Free n/a Free n/a Free n/a
Lunch
Race/ Hisp. Multi-
Race/ Asian Hisp. W H H H H ulti- H H W
Ethnicity racial
Previous lyr. 1 yr. class Elem. Elem.
.Pvious Elem. Elem. 4 yrs. yr. class Elem Elem. Elem.
Musical class piano o School School
School s School viola Spiano School school School
Experience piano

English Teacher Scores 5.5 to
4 to 2.5 4 to 4 5 to 5.5 4 to 4 4 to 5.5 5.5 to 5.5 4 to 4 3 to 3 5 to 5.5 4 to 4
on Class Assignments 5.5

Mus. Theory Test Score
Mus Theory Test core 26 54 60 50 78 58 48 32 40 44 54
Med. 47
Ind. Piano Class
nd ano3 5 5 5 5 5 5 2 3 4 5
Progress(I-5)
Previous and most
recent FCAT Read. 4 to 3 3 to 4 2 to 2 5 to 4 3 to 4 3 to 4 5 to 5 1 to 1 2 to 2 2 to 4 3 to 3
Score (1-5)
Previous FCAT Writ.
Score 4 n/a n/a 4 n/a 5 4 n/a 3 n/a 4
Highest -6
Grades 9-10 Sept. 09
S1 64 56 n/a 72 n/a 84 n/a 22 n/a n/a n/a
Benchmark
Grades 9-10 Nov. 09
Gra9 80 86 n/a 70 n/a 74 n/a 68 n/a n/a n/a
Benchmark
Grades 11-12:
Pre-Test PSAT Score n/a n/a 20 n/a 21 n/a 19 8 16 19 22
Med. -18)
Post-Test
T Soe n/a n/a 22 n/a 23 n/a 23 17 17 19 26
PSAT Score









CHAPTER 5
CONCLUSION

State and federal government demands concerning standardized testing have become

increasingly strident each year since 1998 when the FCAT was first administered. Every teacher

is held accountable for improved scores, especially in reading comprehension and writing.

According to the literature, theorists, music educators, scientists, and psychologists find a strong

connection between literacy and music education. This project, although brief, took a different

approach to pursuing this connection. The blog created for experimental group students was to

help develop and improve the writing skills of these students. Although the blog writing may not

be considered of high quality, the thinking process was still evident in what was written, even

when the students were not correct in their answers.

The importance of this experiment is reflected by its methods, intricate documentation and

precise correlation procedures. The main purpose of this project was to demonstrate that

instrumental music education, even for a short duration of six weeks, can enhance cognitive

ability among high school students in writing and reading comprehension, through developing

critical thinking skills as expressed in the blog. Although this may provide evidence of other

academic qualities acquired from instrumental music education, its purpose is not to make music

education valid on behalf of this study. The study of music provides much more than specific

learning skills. The brain development that occurs as a result of studying music and the

intellectual and creative connections made are not provided by any other means of learning.

Results of the pre-test and post tests for the above-mentioned assessments varied. Among

the students in ninth- and tenth-grades, those in the experimental group showed significantly

stronger growth in writing and reading comprehension skills than the students of the same grades

in the control group. This evaluation was based on grades they received by their English teachers









and their results of the FCAs and District Benchmark Assessments. However, according to the

PSAT sample pre-test and post-test, the eleventh- and twelfth-grade students from the control

group performed significantly higher than the eleventh- and twelfth- grade students from the

experimental group. The students were asked to remark on their improved scores. Several stated

that they worked hard on their writing in English class. Two stated that they never really cared

one way or the other until just recently, and then scored remarkably higher on their post-tests

than their pre-tests. So much emphasis is placed on these scores and yet so much depends on

how the student may feel that particular day, physically or emotionally.

The duration of this action research project was very short. It was interesting to study the

way these students think by reading their blogs and to observe significant improvement of

learned piano skills and comprehension of music theory in the experimental group, perhaps as a

result of the blogging. Between now and February, when FCAT testing begins, the ninth- and

tenth-grade students from the test group will be asked to continue writing a blog on a weekly

basis as homework for their keyboard class. Results of the FCAT will not be made available

until May. At that time, further study will be made to observe any correlations between these

students and the students in piano class who do not blog. If there is a strong connection, a blog

will be created for all music classes and used not only for the purposes of improved standardized

test scores, but for developing higher-order thinking skills within the music class.









APPENDIX
THE BLOGS

Thursday, October 8, 2009:
Mrs. A. asked:
Summary of what you have now learned
What have you performed for the first video?
What did you already know before taking this class? How long have you studied music or piano
prior to taking this class? What is the most challenging aspect of what you have learned in this
class?

Comments:

Test Subject 5 (TS5) said:
I haven't performed for the first video yet. I plan on performing Jericho. I knew all the major
scales and major key signatures. I have studied for six years now. (Student plays percussion in
band and is in 12th grade)
The most challenging aspect of this class so far is the minor scales and key signatures.

TS3 said:
For the video I am planning to perform two different scales, attempting to play it singly with
both hands simultaneously. I have no previous experience or knowledge with piano. So far what
has challenged me is note plotting on the staff, identifying notes by ear, and remembering the
names of scales.

TS 1 said:
I have not performed for the first video yet, however I will perform a song called Cinnamon
Popcorn. I knew how to read notes, and how to play music, I knew about time signatures, and I
knew major scales. I have been playing for two years. The most challenging aspect of this class
at the moment is learning key signatures and intervals.

TS 6 said:
I have not yet performed in front of the video. But when I do I am planning to perform 'Brother
John'. I did not know anything before taking this class.For me the most challenging thing to
learn is when all of the notes are and how to read the music on the staff paper.

TS 7 said:
I will be performing a song entitled "The Stranger" for the first video. Before taking this class I
knew the basics about piano playing like reading sheet music and a little of sight reading. I also
knew a little about key signatures. I started taking piano lessons when I was ten, but I hated
them. My fingers were way too small for the keys. I stick it out for about a year, then my mom
finally gave in and let me quit. However, about four years later I started playing again, and now
I love it.One of the most challenging aspects of this class so far is the ear training. (Trying to
distinguish between majors, minors, etc.) I've noticed I have improved a lot since we've started
doing this though.









TS 2 said:
I have not performed the first video yet but I plan on performing a song from the class book or
one of the sheet music songs that she recently gave us to play. I've been playing piano for about
eight years. I play a variety of jazz and classical music. I used to take lessons about 4-5 years
ago and I participated in Jazz Band last year. The most challenging thing for me in this class so
far is learning and memorizing the harmonic, minor, and melodic scales. Also telling the
difference between augmented and diminished chords...but not as challenging as the scales.
Intervals can sometimes be challenging.


October 9, 2009

TS 9 said:
I am going to be performing something that sounds a heck of a lot like "Mary had a little
lamb...little lamb... mary had a little..." Anyways, it sounds like that only the name is different.
I knew quite a bit when I came into this because I had already been taking piano since December
of last year. The most challenging aspect of this class would have to be Major and Minor cords.
I know the difference on the keyboard itself but, if I listen to it, it's hard to tell sometimes.

TS 8 said:
I plan on playing Mexican hat Dance. That's all I can play at the moment. I didn't know
anything before I took this class. I just decided to play the piano for all the lady's(and also learn
something from playing it). The most challenging aspect that I have learned in this class is
moving my fingers at the speed they need to be, most of the terms, remembering where the notes
are, and knowing what I am capable of knowing about the piano. I'm sort of slow when it comes
to learning how to play an instrument.

TS 4 said:
I Have Not Yet Performed For The Video. I Might Do a Scale, I'm Not Really Sure Yet. But I
Still Have 10 Minutes Before We Start. I Was Doing Key Board When I Was Younger But I
went Into Band When I Got Into Middle School. I Played The Baratone. After My First Year I
Was Placed In Synthonic Band, which Was The Highest Class For Band Members. I Really
Don't Know Whsat To Write, Because I'm not Good At This Type Of Thing. But What I Really
Don't Understand Is Tetricords. I Even Think I Spelled It Right. But From My prier Years I
Know How To Read Music. I Get Really Nervous When I Perform In Front Of People By
Myself.

TS 11 said:
Havn't performed yet, I guess just randomly hacking. I didn't know much, just what I can make
sound good by ear, I've been playing music forever.
Tetrachords are the hardest right now

TS 10 said:
I haven't performed anything yet, and I'm still not sure what I'm going to play, I already know
half the songs in the book so it'll be easy. I wouldn't say I know a lot but I geuss the basics and
what not. When I was about 10 or 11 I took lessons from a family friend but stopped after like a









year or so. Then 9th grade me and my sister both started taking lessons from our family friend
again, we used the same book we're using now. We kept that up for aboud year and a /2 and
then we dabbled on our own.I find reading the notes hard and figuring where my fingers should
go. Also the eartraining thing is hard for me too.

October 15, 2009

(The students were required to ask questions and assist each other with suggestions)

TS 7 said:
Dear TS 10:
I totally understand what you mean about ear training. However, the more you do it, the better
you'll get at it. Also, a easy way to remember note names is to make up little phrases. For
example, to remember the notes on the lines of the treble clef you could use "Every Good Boy
Does Fine". (the first letter of each word represents the notes from the bottom to the top.)

TS 1 said:
TS3
I am also having trouble with ear training.

TS 6 said:
As I am reading other people's blogs, I am noticing that most people are new to piano. I really
like that most people are really descriptive when they say how they have started learning the
basics, and stuff like that.

TS 2 said:
Last time I said I would play sheet music or a song from her book but instead I played this song
that I'm learning from my book called Piano Sonata that Ijust started learning.
Tetra chords are also hard for me and it seems like a few other people are having that problem,
too.

October 16, 2009

TS 11 said:
OK, don't I feel like an idiot, well I found out what a tetrachord is, it's just the first and last four
notes in a scale. Well now that that is settled: D, what should I do to improve my coordination?
Hope that helps numero dos.

TS 8 said:
Yeah so I still am confused about playing the darn keyboard. I get lost all the time. I guess I
have to eat me cheerios before I come to class. The only thing I get is the major and minor
chords. That's the only thing. I am trying to understand it all. Just don't have the mental
capacity at this age to remember everything.









TS 4 said:
In A Tetracord, using A Scale, it's The First Four Notes, And The Last Four Notes. So Like,
C,D,E,F. Then G, A, B, C

TS 9 said:
TS 8,What helped me when I first started playing was actually writing the letters on the keys.
Bring a dry-erase marker to class and write the letters on there. I know it sounds silly, but it
really does help a lot more than you would think.

TS 8 said:
TS 9,I will just have to do that. Writing down the notes does help me learn. Well it did when I
played trombone in middle school. Thanks.

October 20, 2009

TS 9 said:
TS 8, You are very welcome.:] If you are still having trouble, let me know and IWILL SEE IF I
CAN help.

October 22, 2009

TS 5 said:
I have realized that I have a problem sight reading. I can read the notes clearly for both hands
but when it comes to actually playing the music, I can't play it. I can learn and play the parts for
each hand separately, but when it comes to playing simultaneously, I can't. I plan on improving
this.

TS 7 said:
Class is going okay. Yesterday we started learning key signatures, however I remember most of
them from last year. So it's mostly a review for me.
Dear TS 8:
Don't worry, it will get better. It just takes time. It's normal to get frustrated.

TS 6 said:
In piano class, I have found that I am having a little bit of a problem. My problem is reciting
what I see on the sheet music immediately. I think it may be because I am new in the music
department, but still I am still having trouble with the basics. Maybe I am being too hard on
myself about this but I just want to learn and understand it what the music is telling me to do. I
guess I am not a very patient person. BYE!!:)

TS 2 said:
Ok...last time I said I didn't understand tetra chords. Maybe Ijust went blank or
something...but I think I mixed it up with tritones... because I think tetra chords are pretty easy.
Ya, Ijust confused myself...so there are the intervals that we have been doing. I'm pretty good
at those. There are still some that I mix up, but I'm getting better. Mrs. A. has explained to me
what a triton is like 10 times already but I still don't get it! Why is it called TRItone if it's only









two notes in the interval. And she said it was a diminished 5th or augmented 4th...right? Which
those are the same thing right? But they aren't chords? Ya so I just really don't understand that
one. Sigh

TS 3 said:
TS 11,
A basic technique you can do to improve coordination is take a scale [preferably a double 8ve
scale due to its length] then just play it at a slow speed and just split the scale into parts till you
have to tuck under.[3-4-3-5]. So after playing it slowly just speed it up a bit but keep a steady
beat and at times look away from the keyboard.
Hope this helps you [or anyone that might read this] and doesn't extremely confuse someone or
I'm gonna feel like a fail typing this out. Now for me, still working on playing different things
with both hands and identifying notes on the staff. Also trying to quit the habit of playing
something to the rhythm we know and play it as its played out, like Brother John.

TS 1 said:
I have begun working on the german song lightly row, I am working on it. I'm trying to improve
on playing both hands at the same time.

October 23, 2009

TS 9 said:
Well, I have not learned much new things but, I am sure that next week will be something new!
Anyone have any questions?!

TS 4 said:
Im Trying To Memerize The Blues, YAY! So For I'm Doing Pretty Good, But I Just need To Put
It Together. When I Get That Done, I'll Bee able To Rub It In My Friends Face, And Be Like,
HA! Well JK, But I Still Might. So This Is Prett Much My Main Goal, And My Most
Challenging Aspect For The Time Being.


TS 11 said:
New notes for fingers are getting to me, but I'm sure I'll get there with practice and time. My
goal for now is to get as far as I can without help, but I will appreciate the help if you're willing
to give it. As for a question, anyone know where I can find some good sheet music to play at
home?

TS 8 said:
My brain is fried and I'm getting frustrated with the piano. It may have to do with the fact that I
can't focus in the class for some reason.

October 29, 2009

Mrs. A said:
Hello,









Please review chord construction for major, minor, diminished and augmented triads. Write the
formulas for major and minor thirds.
Visualize a keyboard in your head and each person will perform the following according to the
number that you are.
No. 1- spell major, minor, diminished and augmented chords for 'A"
No. 2- for "D"
No. 3- for "G"
No. 4-for "E"
No. 5-for "B"
No. 6-for "F"
No. 7-for "Bb"
No. 8-for "Eb"
No. 9-for "Ab"
No. 10-for "Db"
No. 11-for "Gb"
Have fun

16 comments:
November 2, 2009

No. 3 said:
Major=G BD
Minor=G Bb D
Diminished=G Bb Db
Augmented= G B D#

No. 1 said:
Major= ACE
Minor= A Cb E
Diminished = A Cb Eb
Augmented = A C E#


No. 2 said:
M: D F# A
M:DFA
Dim: D F Ab
Aug; D F# A#
Major third: 4 half steps
minor third: 3 half steps

No. 7 said:
Major: Bb D F
Minor: Bb Db F
Augmented: Bb Db Fb
Diminished; Bb D F#










No. 5 said:
Formula:
Major= Minor/maj or
Minor= Maj or/Minor
Dim= Minor/minor
Aug= Maj or/Maj or
No. 5
Major= B D# F#
Minor = B D F#
Dim = B DF
Augmented = B D# F##

No. 9 said:
Straight up... I have no idea. I can show you on the piano but, I can't explain it:/

No. 11 said:
maj or Gb Bb Db
minor= Gb a Db
dim =m Gb A C
aug. = Gb Bb D

No. 8 said:
Major: Eb G A
Minor: Eb G# A
Diminished: Eb G# Ab
Augmented: Eb G# A#

No. 10 said:
maj: Db, F, A
min: Db, E, Bbb
dim. Db, E, G
Aug: Db, F, A
I don't even know if these are right. I count the steps but I think I M doing them wrong, and do
you count 2 half steps for a whole step?

Mrs. A said:
Okay.
No. 1, check your chords on the piano and get back to me.
No. 2, you are correct.
No. 3, you are also correct.
No. 4, I don't see your answer,here
No. 5, your formula seems backwards to me,however, your answers are correct. I guess the first
interval you said was between the third and the fifth and the second interval was between the
root and the third.
No. 6, I don't see yours on here.









No. 7, you are correct.
No. 8, try again, next time
No. 9 see if someone can help you count the half steps between minor and major thirds, and then
try it in your head.
No. 10, see if you can fix this, next time.
No.1 1, very good. However, spelling needs help. See if you can come up with other names for
"A" and "C".

November 5, 2009

No. 7 said:
Dear No. 10,
For a major 3rd you should count 4 half steps, and for a minor 3rd you should count 3 half steps.
Also, for each chord, whether major, minor, augmented or diminished, you should have the same
notes.

November 6, 2009

No. 11 said:
major= Gb Bb Db
Minor=Gb Bbb Db
Dim= Gb Bbb Dbb
Aug= Gb Bb D

No. 9 said:
Major = Ab C Eb
Minor= Ab B Eb
Diminished = Ab B D
Augmented = Ab C E

No. 4 said:
Major: "E" "Gb" "B"
Minor: "E" "G" "B"
Diminished: "E" "G" "B#"
Augmented: "E" "Gb" "B"
I Really Don't Think I got This Right, Because I Don't Know How To Spell Them Right. But I
Can Find The Placements.

No. 8 said:
Major: Eb G C
Minor: Eb G# C
Diminished: Eb Gbb Cb
Augmented: Eb G natural C#
Going to be honest. I got lost, but I did my best on it.









No. 10 said:
Now that I kind of got the hang of the major and minor chords we now have a new thing to learn,
the intervals. It's kind of easy but confusing, do you count the steps or something?
It's also a lot harder to imagine a piano to figure out chords, with a piano atlest we have a hint of
what it sounds like.

No. 11 said:
major= Gb Bb Db
Minor=Gb Bbb Db
Dim= Gb Bbb Dbb
Aug= Gb Bb D

No. 9 said:
Major = Ab C Eb
Minor= Ab B Eb
Diminished = Ab B D
Augmented = Ab C E

No. 4 said:
Major: "E" "Gb" "B"
Minor: "E" "G" "B"
Diminished: "E" "G" "B#"
Augmented: "E" "Gb" "B"
I Really Don't Think I got This Right, Because I Don't Know How To Spell Them Right. But I
Can Find The Placements.


No. 8 said:
Major: Eb G C
Minor: Eb G# C
Diminished: Eb Gbb Cb
Augmented: Eb G natural C#
Going to be honest. I got lost, but I did my best on it.

No. 10 said:
Now that I kind of got the hang of the major and minor chords we now have a new thing to learn,
the intervals. It's kind of easy but confusing, do you count the steps or something?
It's also a lot harder to imagine a piano to figure out chords, with a piano atlest we have a hint of
what it sounds like.

No. 2 said:
Ok. I got it right because I know that scale. I had D which was an easy one. So far I have my
C, D, F, G and A scales completely memorized. Working on E and B.
So I saw all those other crazy keys and I was wondering how to do that. I felt bad for the people
who had the crazy ones.









IL was thinking you would have to have the scale memorized...but I totally forgot about that
easy interval thing. I feel so stupid. I can figure out the keys of songs by using those intervals. I
wish I would have known that like 5 years ago.


No. 1 said:
You said A C E for Major but that is minor. In the key signature of A there is a C#...but you
could have figured it out by starting from A and going up 4 half steps to get a major interval.
***Do you think it's because you didn't have the piano in front of you that you got it wrong?
Lots of people could have gotten confused without a piano in front of them...

No. 2 said:
Also, im really getting confused with some of the numbers and names... so like for the ones that
have names and not numbers could you please tell us your numbers so we know who mrs a is
talking about?lol

No. 6 said:
I do not know how to do the chords. I still need to work on where the notes are and how to read
the music. I am sure that I can probably identify the chords if I listen to them, but I do not know
How they are created.

November 7, 2009

No. 6 said:
NO. 1-minor over major is MAJOR
-maj or over minor is MINOR
-minor over minor is DIMINISHED
-major over major is AUGMENTED
Sadly that is all I know about the chords. I am just good at identifying if the chords that are
played are min., maj., dim., or aug.

November 9, 2009

No. 5 said:
Yes I noticed my formula was backwards. I did that because it was written out like a
fraction in class which helped me remember them. If you write it out the first interval between
3rd and 5th is the numerator and the second interval between the lst and 3rd is the denominator, yet
I understand the intervals for each chord.

No. 1 said:
Major: A, C#, E
Minor: A, C, E
Augmented: A, C#, E#
Diminished: A, C, Eb
Thank you number two, I think it is because I didn't have the keyboard in front of me that I got
confused.










No. 3 said:
Starting to read sheet music somewhat better! Finally. Knocking out a G scale? But I still
have some problems with playing songs that I have never heard before, maybe if I look them up I
can better understand how to play it.

November 12, 2009

Dear Students,
Please describe the effect seventh chords have on playing or listening.
Thank you.
Mrs. A.

No. 1 said:
The effect that seventh chords have on listening and playing is that they sound like a
situation left unresolved, and you need another chord to finish it, to wrap it up.

No. 7 said:
When a seventh chord is played in a way it leaves you wanting more. It's like a question
that needs to be answered. To replace this feeling of abandonment you should play a chord that
is five steps above the starting chord. It is easier to figure this out with a piano than without one.

No. 5 said:
When a seventh chord is played it sounds like another chord can be used after it to finish the
piece. A seventh chord will most likely be played on the last beat of the second to last measure.

No.6 said:
I do not believe that I have played the seventh chord, but I have certainly listened to it. I
have concluded that when I listen the the seventh chords the first part of it sounds like someone
is asking an unsolvable question. Then when the second part of the seventh chords is played, it
sounds like someone has answered the question that was asked before and the answer is pure
bliss. That is the effect I get when I heard the seventh chords.

No. 3 said:
The effect of a seventh chord that I have when listening to it is quite vague, or unsettled. I
believe that if a chord off of the seventh that was played except five steps higher finishes it up
thus ending that vague questionable effect.

No. 2 said:
I think that the effect of the seventh added to the chord makes it seem like it has something
added to it that makes it sound unresolved. It almost makes it sound like a question and then
when you go back to the original it sounds like the answer.
For example, when you start from C, you go a perfect 5t up from that, or 3 whole steps
down, and use that chord which would be G. Then you add the seventh to it which makes it G7 (
G, B, D, F). Starting with G7,, it doesn't sound complete. But when you end with C it answers
the "question".









I think if it wasn't for the seventh on the G, it wouldn't sound is incomplete. But then
just G without the 7th might not quite go with the key or melody of the song.
The G7 that is used most when coming from C would be B, F, G with the fingers 5,2,1 in
the left hand. Something I've noticed is that with every progression (at least most that I've seen
so far) like the one from C to G7, you use the fingering with the left hand from 5,3,1 to 5,2,1-
gringing the 5th finger down a half step lower.
For ex: From D chord to A7 chord is like going from C to G7. You start with D, F#,A,
and the perfect 5th from that is A, add the 7th and make it A7. Another inversion for A7 would be
C#, G, A, which happens to have the same fingering and formula as C to G7 which is 5, 2, 1,
with finger 5 going down a half step.
I think it's cool so I thought I'd share it. I don't know if it's just coincidence or just for
major chords. I don't know about sharp, flat, and minor chords...but so far I think that mostly
goes for the major chords.

November 13, 2009

No. 11 said:
The significance of the 7th chords are the fact that they give the song a little bit of a plot for
the listener to enjoy, the way that the song played with 7th chords are giving you notice that there
is more to come, just like the plot of a story.

November 15, 2009

No. 10 said:
I've heard a 7th chord played but never actually played it. A 7th chord makes you want to
hear, like it's a beginning to a song, or somewhere in the middle, but never the end. It sounds
like it needs to be resolved. Like when you hear it being played you expect more notes to
follow.

No. 4 said:
The Significance ofa 7th. Cord, is to Add Liveliness, or Definition, to a piece of music.

November 16, 2009

No. 9 said:
I've never actually played a seventh cord but from what I can gather it makes you want
more. In a way it leaves you hanging. Wondering what note will be played next. To the listener
it sounds like it needs to be resolved.

November 17, 2009

No. 8 said:
It leaves you wanting more. It makes you wonder what is going to happen next.









BIBLIOGRAPHY

Abeles, H. F., Hoffer, C. R., & Klotman, R. H. (1995). Foundations ofMusic Education. Los
Angeles: Thomson Schirmer.

Brown, N. C. (Autumn, 2001). The Meaning of Transfer in the Practices of Arts. Studies in Art
Education, Vol 43, No. 1, 83-102.

Canfield, S. T. (Nov-Dec 1961). Creativity in Music education. Music Educators Journal, Vol
48. No. 2, 51-52+54+56.

Clegorne, N. (2004). Rhythm and Comprehension: An Examination of the Between

Rhythmic and Reading Achievement. Master's degree project, Gainesville: University of
Florida.

Coates, S. (2006). Thinking As You Play. In S. Coates, ThinkingAs You Play. Bloomington:
Indiana University Press.

Cooley, J. (1961). A Study of the Relationship Between Certain Mental and Personality Traits
and Ratings of Musical Abilities. Journal ofResearch in Music Education, Vol. 9, No. 2,
108-117.

Fuller, B. (1966). the Music of the New Life: Thoughts on Creativity, Sensorial Reality, and
Comprehensiveness. Music Educator's Journal, Vol 52, No.5, 46-48+124-146.

Glasser, W. M. (1998). Choice Theory. In W. M. Glasser, Choice Theory. New York: Harper
Collins.

Gordon, M. (Summer 1979). Instrumental Music Instruction as a Contingency for Increased
Reading Behavior. Journal ofResearch in Music Education, Vol. 27, No. 2, 87-102.

Groff, P. (1977). Reading Music Affects Reading Language: Says Who? Music Educator's
Journal, Vol. 63, No. 5, 37-41.

Hansen, D., Bernstorf, E., & Stuber, G. m. (2004). The Music and Literacy Connection. Reston,
Va.: Music Educators National Conference.

Hetland, L. (2000). Learning to Make Music Enhances Spatial Reasoning. Journal ofAesthetic
Education, Vol 34, No.314 179-238.

Levine, M. M. (2002). A MindAt A Time. New York: Simon and Schuster.

Liperte, K. A. (2006). Audiation for Beginning Instrumentalists: Listen, Speak, Read, Write.
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Morrison, S. J. (1994). Music Students and Academic Growth. Music Educator's Journal, Vol.
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Sacks, 0. (2007). Musicophilia. In O. Sacks, Musicophilia (p. X). Toronto: Alfred A. Knopf.

Schmidt, C., & Sinor, J. (1986). An Investigation of the Relationships among Music Audiation,
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Tanner, M. L. (1983). Reading and Secondary Music: Let the Concert Beging. Music Educator's
Journal, vol. 70, No. 4, 40-45.

Walczyk, E. B. (1991). Kids on Keyboards: Learning Musical Concepts. Music Educator's
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Educator's Journal, Vol. 62, No. 7, 70-74.









BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

Nancy A. Atkinson graduated from Florida International University in 1976 with a

Bachelor of Fine Arts in music. She has taught in Florida and Indiana. Her teaching experience

includes elementary, middle and high school music. Mrs. Atkinson has taught in Marion County

since 1986. In 1992, she was recognized as Marion County's Teacher of the Year while teaching

at an elementary school. Her responsibilities have included teaching strings, general music,

musical theater and chorus at the elementary and high school levels. She has also taught class

keyboard and AP Music Theory at the high school level. In 2007, Mrs. Atkinson became

certified as a National Board Teacher. She currently teaches keyboard, strings, chorus, AP Music

Theory, and musical theater at West Port High School in Ocala. Mrs. Atkinson received her

Master of Music Degree from the University of Florida in 2009.





PAGE 8

Background of the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test ( FCAT) a nd No Child Left Behind (NCLB)

PAGE 9

The Effects of Standardized Testing on Arts Education

PAGE 13

;

PAGE 19

Free/reduced lunch Race/ethnicity Previous musical experience

PAGE 20

English teacher scores on class assignments

PAGE 21

Music Theory test score

PAGE 22

Individual piano class progress Previous and most recent FCAT Scores Previous FCAT writing scores District Benchmark Assessments Pre -test PSAT sample test

PAGE 23

Post -test PSAT sample test English Teachers Individual Scores Between early September and mid November

PAGE 24

Individual Score Comparisons between the September and November DBMA Individual Score Comparisons between the September pre -test and November Pre-test of Sample PSAT

PAGE 29

Thursday, October 8, 2009: Mrs. A. asked: Test Subject 5 (TS5) (Student plays percussion in band and is in 12th grade) TS3 TS 1 TS 6 TS 7

PAGE 30

TS 2 October 9, 2009 TS 9 TS 8 TS 4 TS 11 TS 10

PAGE 31

October 15, 2009 TS 7 TS 1 TS 6 TS 2 October 16, 2009 TS 11 TS 8

PAGE 32

TS 4 TS 9 TS 8 October 20 2009 TS 9 October 22, 2009 TS 5 TS 7 TS 6 TS 2

PAGE 33

TS 3 TS 1 October 23, 2009 TS 9 TS 4 TS 11 TS 8 October 29, 2009 Mrs. A

PAGE 34

November 2, 2009 No. 3 No. 1 No. 2 No. 7

PAGE 35

No. 5 No. 9 No. 11 No. 8 No. 10 Mrs. A

PAGE 36

November 5, 2009 No. 7 November 6, 2009 No. 11 No. 9 No. 4 No. 8

PAGE 37

No. 10 No. 11 No. 9 No. 4 No. 8 No. 10 No. 2

PAGE 38

No. 1 No. 2 No. 6 November 7, 2009 No. 6 November 9, 2009 No. 5 No. 1

PAGE 39

No. 3 November 12, 2009 No. 1 No. 7 No. 5 No.6 No. 3 No. 2 said:

PAGE 40

November 13, 2009 No. 11 November 15, 2009 No. 10 No. 4 November 16, 2009 No. 9 November 17, 2009 No. 8

PAGE 41

Foundations of Music Educ ation. Studies in Art Education, Vol 43, No. 1 Music Educators Journ al, Vol 48. No. 2 Rhythm and Comprehension: An Examination of the Between Rhythmic and Reading Achievement. Thinking As You Play. Journal of Research in Music Education, Vol. 9, No. 2 Music Educator's Journal, Vol 52, No.5 Choice Theory. Journal of Research in Music Education, Vol. 27, No. 2 Music Educator's Journal, Vol. 63, No. 5 The Music and Literacy Connection. Jour nal of Aesthetic Education, Vol 34, No.314 A Mind At A Time. Music Educators Journal Vol. 8, No.1l Music Educator's Journal, Vol. 81, No.2

PAGE 42

Musicophilia Journal of Research in Music Education, Vol. 34, No. 3 Music Educator's Journal, vol. 70, No. 4 Music Educator's Journal, Vol. 78, No. 2 Music Educator's Journal, Vol. 62, No. 7



PAGE 8

Background of the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test ( FCAT) a nd No Child Left Behind (NCLB)

PAGE 9

The Effects of Standardized Testing on Arts Education

PAGE 13

;

PAGE 19

Free/reduced lunch Race/ethnicity Previous musical experience

PAGE 20

English teacher scores on class assignments

PAGE 21

Music Theory test score

PAGE 22

Individual piano class progress Previous and most recent FCAT Scores Previous FCAT writing scores District Benchmark Assessments Pre -test PSAT sample test

PAGE 23

Post -test PSAT sample test English Teachers Individual Scores Between early September and mid November

PAGE 24

Individual Score Comparisons between the September and November DBMA Individual Score Comparisons between the September pre -test and November Pre-test of Sample PSAT

PAGE 29

Thursday, October 8, 2009: Mrs. A. asked: Test Subject 5 (TS5) (Student plays percussion in band and is in 12th grade) TS3 TS 1 TS 6 TS 7

PAGE 30

TS 2 October 9, 2009 TS 9 TS 8 TS 4 TS 11 TS 10

PAGE 31

October 15, 2009 TS 7 TS 1 TS 6 TS 2 October 16, 2009 TS 11 TS 8

PAGE 32

TS 4 TS 9 TS 8 October 20 2009 TS 9 October 22, 2009 TS 5 TS 7 TS 6 TS 2

PAGE 33

TS 3 TS 1 October 23, 2009 TS 9 TS 4 TS 11 TS 8 October 29, 2009 Mrs. A

PAGE 34

November 2, 2009 No. 3 No. 1 No. 2 No. 7

PAGE 35

No. 5 No. 9 No. 11 No. 8 No. 10 Mrs. A

PAGE 36

November 5, 2009 No. 7 November 6, 2009 No. 11 No. 9 No. 4 No. 8

PAGE 37

No. 10 No. 11 No. 9 No. 4 No. 8 No. 10 No. 2

PAGE 38

No. 1 No. 2 No. 6 November 7, 2009 No. 6 November 9, 2009 No. 5 No. 1

PAGE 39

No. 3 November 12, 2009 No. 1 No. 7 No. 5 No.6 No. 3 No. 2 said:

PAGE 40

November 13, 2009 No. 11 November 15, 2009 No. 10 No. 4 November 16, 2009 No. 9 November 17, 2009 No. 8

PAGE 41

Foundations of Music Educ ation. Studies in Art Education, Vol 43, No. 1 Music Educators Journ al, Vol 48. No. 2 Rhythm and Comprehension: An Examination of the Between Rhythmic and Reading Achievement. Thinking As You Play. Journal of Research in Music Education, Vol. 9, No. 2 Music Educator's Journal, Vol 52, No.5 Choice Theory. Journal of Research in Music Education, Vol. 27, No. 2 Music Educator's Journal, Vol. 63, No. 5 The Music and Literacy Connection. Jour nal of Aesthetic Education, Vol 34, No.314 A Mind At A Time. Music Educators Journal Vol. 8, No.1l Music Educator's Journal, Vol. 81, No.2

PAGE 42

Musicophilia Journal of Research in Music Education, Vol. 34, No. 3 Music Educator's Journal, vol. 70, No. 4 Music Educator's Journal, Vol. 78, No. 2 Music Educator's Journal, Vol. 62, No. 7