Analysis of Accuracy of MidYIS Tests
This essay is an exploration into the relevance of MidYIS tests as a
predictor for results at GCSE Music. A comparison will be made between
two sets of skills: those assessed by the MidYIS test - taken by most
children in England at the beginning of year 9 - and those which,
according to exam boards and experienced music educators, are tested
at GCSE. Certain fundamental skills required for success at GCSE Music
cannot be tested in the MidYIS tests, and I would suggest that a
combination of MidYIS-type testing, musical intelligence assessment
and some measure of the amount and quality of musical experience
gained before embarking on the GCSE course would serve as a much more
relevant indicator of likely success, and a more appropriate baseline
from which to measure value added. However, the term 'success' needs
defining - many pupils who are excellent musicians even before they
reach year 9 may not obtain the highest marks at GCSE, and this begs
the question, what exactly does GCSE music test, the musicality of a
pupil (which will be discussed with reference to Howard Gardner's
theories of multiple intelligence) or a pupil's ability to 'jump
through the hoops' required to do well in this type of exam? Schools
continually have their statistics compared, and the practice of
comparing 'value added' through the means of a baseline test, is
undoubtedly fairer than simply comparing final results. However, if,
as I will argue, the baseline test is largely meaningless, music
departments should not be put in the difficult position of having to
justify any statistical 'evidence' of underachievement.
What does the MidYIS test do?
The MidYIS test is split into four sections: "vocabulary and word
fluency", "mathematical speed and knowledge", skills consisting of
"proof reading" and "perceptual speed and accuracy", and non-verbal
skills consisting of "cross sections", "block counting" and "pictures".
Through some example questions taken from the MidYIS website (see
Appendix I) I will try to determine the skills assessed that may be
relevant to GCSE music.
The vocabulary and mathematical sections are about basic knowledge.
Obviously those pupils who have a wide knowledge of everyday language
will be more likely to understand all the words on a question paper,
and be able to answer expressively. In relation to music the fact that
a child has a wide vocabulary may suggest that he or she easily
absorbs new words and would have little difficulty learning specialist
musical terminology. An aptitude for mathematics or a good knowledge
of mathematical processes may be an indicator of general intelligence,
but I can identify little in these questions which could relate
directly to GCSE music.
The 'Skills' section begins with a...