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Assessment and legitimation of entrance auditions to Swedish music teacher education

Conference contribution
Authors Monica Lindgren
Olle Zandén
Ragnhild Sandberg Jurström
Published in RIME 2019. Research in Music Education Conference, 23-26 April, Bath Spa University
Publication year 2019
Published at Academy of Music and Drama
Language en
Subject categories Music education


In Sweden, admission to higher education is gained primarily through either grade awarded in upper secondary school or SAT-tests. However, admittance to higher music education is restricted to those who pass specific tests of what is regarded as required musical knowledge and aptitude from the perspective of jurors at different universities. This can be seen as a challenge to democratic ideals of equal opportunities, especially since the Swedish government demands a broadened access to higher education. There are as yet only a few studies on the recruitment of prospective music teachers, and hence no firm ground for discussing neither their predictive value, reliability and validity of these tests, or the education and future profession of the applicants. In a three-year research project funded by the Swedish Research Council we are now studying entrance auditions to music teacher education in order to produce knowledge about assessment criteria, legitimacy claims, approaches to knowledge and quality as well as the tests’ relevance and reliability. Applicants’ performances during the tests have been video recorded, and these recordings have later been used as stimulus material to elicit assessments and reflections from the jurors, either in focus group discussions or through interviews. In the analysis, a multimodal social semiotic approach and the concept discourse is used in order to identify how the representations of quality and knowledge are articulated and legitimized. Although the design of the tests varies between institutions, music theory, ear training, ensemble playing and instrumental and vocal proficiency are customary content. Some tentative findings will be presented and discussed with regard to the study’s central questions of assessment and legitimization. The study generates new knowledge about admission to higher education, with special regard to procedure, transparency and relevance.

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