Academic Paper Sessions

Friday 3:15-4:15
Presentation of Academic Papers 5 (Terrace B)
Bruce Ronkin, Moderator

Assessing the Assessment Process and Its Impact on Teaching and Learning Dynamics

Joe Miglio
Associate Professor, Music Business Management
Berklee College of Music


     Assessment in higher education is a complex phenomenon. Multiple definitions of the concept and how to determine measurement, coupled with ever increasing expectations for institutional accountability, have created a greater sense of urgency and understanding for all stakeholders. This presentation-discussion will focus an integrated ‘best practices’ model of assessment, comprising four principal levels with a number of associated elements at each level. It is suggested as a way of comprehending and clarifying the range of issues that need to be addressed in seeking to improve the quality of assessment practice and its impact on instructional design and delivery, teaching pedagogy and student learning and achievement.

     Themes of Presentation to include: Assessment, defined in terms of its intended and desired outcome - student learning. As stated by Palomba and Banta (1999): “Assessment is the systematic collection, review and use of information about educational programs undertaken for the purpose of improving student learning and development” (p. 4.). Assessment is a recursive and cyclical system that defines, develops, refines, implements, interprets, evaluates and decides, evolving back on its purpose with its re-defining, re-developing mechanism.

     Activities to include: Case Simulation Role Play where participants will evaluate current institutional practices, determine ‘gap’ analysis, develop initial assessment process, and construct evaluative metrics to insure consistency for implementation.

Four Outcomes for Presentation: Understanding the Assessment Cycle:

1.    Developing Assessment Questions, Goals and Outcomes: To begin the cycle, the first step is to define appropriate assessment questions, goals and learning outcomes. Some basic questions need to be addressed, such as: What do you want to know? How would you define student learning? How do you define our content outcomes? What are the driving forces for conducting assessment? At what level of analysis should the assessment be conducted?

2.    Refinement of an Assessment Question: How does the process support and impact student learning? What are the elements and contributors the interrelationships of students, faculty and course outcomes and program design?  How and in what ways does this process exemplify student centered learning?

3.    Identifying the Optimal Learning Environment: The optimal learning environment, then, should contain practices based on an understanding of student learning, best teaching practices, and effective and active learning techniques – engaging students to examine and explore within their discipline. Instructors should design learning environments with active learning practices that engage today’s students, with learning outcomes in place; incorporating learning outcomes that relate to real world applications using technology and contemporary research models, to integrate real data, navigate a variety of resources, and solve real-world problems

4.    Defining Assessment Methods to Gather Data about Questions, Goals or Outcomes: Identifying the steps required to maximize the impact of a student learner-centric, best-practices assessment plan including its goals and measurement strategies. The assessment process is considered a scholarly inquiry focused on enhancing the content-rich learning environment, investigating new approaches to student learning, using technology and other assistive mechanisms. How the process is proposed, vetted, empirically evaluated, and use the evaluation results to inform future projects and institutional decision-making is a crucial consideration to its institutional value and utility.

Assessment processes allow the institution to ask: “Are we a learning-centered university?"

     If we delay the immediate and protective need to answer “Of course we are—we are a site of higher education” and wonder what might be required in being a learning-centered institution, we may engage in useful self-study and a reflexive interrogation of the principles and practices that guide the institution. Assessment as that vehicle and as that process can reaffirm institutional commitment to its central purpose—its learning mission, its essential functions--teaching, learning, scholarship and service, and its very identity--how we see ourselves and how we might advantageously represent ourselves to others.

Dr. Joseph (Joe) Miglio, is currently in his seventh year as a faculty member at Berklee and is an Associate Professor of Music Business Management. His areas of specialization are business design and delivery strategy, organizational development and learning assessment. Joe was recently selected to receive the 3rd Annual Distinguished Faculty Award for the Professional Education Division at Berklee, based on his outstanding commitment to teaching, dedication to his students, and contributions to the curriculum. Joe has a Doctorate in Education from National Louis University in Chicago and is the creator of the Reflexive Engagement Method, a model of inquiry based on self-knowledge construction. He is currently co-authoring a book The Rule of Yes which looks at transpersonal understanding.

The Model Music Business Teacher

Ben O’Hara
Head of Music Business (Higher Education)
Box Hill Institute


1.    Are the perceptions of quality teaching among students, teachers and educational institutions aligned?
2.    What is the interplay of academic expertise and industry experience in teaching music business degrees?

     McCain, Marcone and more recently Hatschek have all published in MEIEA journals reviews of existing Music Business curriculum that harness the opinions of graduates and teaching staff. 

     While there is a growing trend in identifying the model music business curriculum little consideration has been given to the identification of the model music business teacher.  The purpose of this research is to explore perceptions held by students, teachers and educational institutions about music business teachers in terms of their industry background, teaching qualifications/teaching experience and other higher education qualifications.  How do these qualifications and experience comprise perceptions of a teacher’s credibility in the eyes of the students and the educational institutions?

     Students actively seek out opportunities to network with industry professionals and their teacher is often their first real industry contact.  The student, to some degree, will assess the teacher’s credibility and industry reputation.  This paper attempts to examine how important that assessment is when compared to other factors such as academic qualifications and educational experience.


     In April 2011, two surveys were conducted. The first was of Music Business students (both past and current) and the second was of Music Business teachers.  The surveys were conducted online and consisted of two separate question banks of around 15 questions each.  The surveys aimed to gather a snapshot of the attitudes of each group towards formal qualifications, industry experience and educational qualifications.

     This research was conducted in Australia and contains some features that are unique to the Australian post compulsory education system.  However, I believe that the conclusions at the end of the paper ring true regardless of the location of the Music Business program. This is a pilot study, which could potentially be repeated in multiple countries.

Ben O’Hara currently holds the position of Head of Music Business (Higher Education) at Box Hill Institute in Melbourne Australia.  He has taught music business at a number of institutions across Australia. O’Hara has a broad range of experience in the music industry, having worked in music publishing and licensing as well as event and artist management. He has also been a performer for over fifteen years, and runs his own booking agency, Flower Pot Entertainment Productions. O’Hara has published six music business textbooks and created the website www.thebiz.com.au to accompany the books. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in contemporary music (Honours) from Southern Cross University and a Masters of Business (Arts and Cultural Management) from The University of South Australia and is currently completing a PhD at Monash University.

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