Evaluation and Assessment

A generous grant in 2013 from the Bernardine Franciscan Sisters Foundation enabled Soundscapes to bring in education and curriculum experts to prepare written correlations between the Soundscapes curriculum and Virginia Standards of Learning in math, science, English and social studies.

The grant also supported the development of a specialized evaluation tool for Soundscapes by Dr. David Dirlam, a nationally known specialist in learning assessment methodologies. Dr. Dirlam has created a series of developmental rubrics to evaluate each student's progress longitudinally in 9 separate musical and behavioral dimensions. (click here for more information on the 9 dimensions) In addition, he designed a parent survey to assess family expectations and results at the start and end of each school year.

At the end of FY2016, Dr. Dirlam conducted an objective analysis of 5 semesters of data collected by the teaching staff, who evaluated each child twice a year, as well as the parent surveys. His report confirms that Soundscapes students are making progress in all nine dimensions and makes specific recommendations for improving results.

To assist Soundscapes in evaluating the whole child, Newport News Public Schools provides detailed data on economics, racial demographics, disabilities, attendance, behavioral infractions, and Standards of Learning tests passing rates for every year that a child is in the program. This, combined with evidence of student academic achievement, awards, and leadership activities, is used to create a comprehensive individual report card for each young musician. FY2016 NNPS Data

Soundscapes’ also follows on-going laboratory studies which are scientifically measuring the vast benefits of music education. Below is a sampling of fascinating videos about the effects of music study and performance on the brain!

How playing an instrument benefits your brain

Conversation with Nina Kraus, Northwestern University Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory