the undersigned members of the Michigan Music Teachers Association, petition that the Student Achievement Test
Revisions presented at the 2013 and 2014 State Conferences be reviewed and
improved before resubmission at the 2015 State Conference in Grand Rapids. The
main unsatisfactory elements of the current documents for discussion and
revision/elimination are listed below.
-The Committee has
not addressed the questions of teachers who attended the 2013 and 2014 State
Conferences, nor have they responded to any written comments submitted by
-The committee has not described the type of student that these
tests are designed for. What is the
philosophy/justification for changing from 10 to 12 levels?
-There has been no attempt to test these proposed changes on a
group of students at each level to see if these tests are applicable to
primary and secondary school students.
-No explanation has been given of how the twelve levels of SAT
would correspond to grade in school in order for a student to be able to
go on to semi-finals.
-Administrative consequences of the more lengthy testing
requirements has not been addressed: scheduling, the amount of testing
time needed to cover the additional requirements, especially in the aural
and written (theory) parts of the tests.
-Performance would receive less importance in the final composite
score and additional emphasis would be placed on technic, aural skills,
theory, and music history. The
amount of time needed to cover the additional requirements in a 30-45
minute lesson would be extremely difficult and places the emphasis on
non-playing aspects of piano instruction.
The ultimate goal of SAT has been to enhance piano playing
, not to attempt to prepare
entry-level college music majors.
2. Comparison Chart of Technic
-The requirements become too difficult too soon.
-The sequencing for scale choices is pedagogically inconsistent.
-The suggested dynamics are arbitrary, and articulations for scales
are unnecessary. Many of these requirements are inconsistent with the methods
most teachers use, and often include technical requirements that students
in the earliest levels would not encounter in their first year(s) of
-The difficult technical requirements are not found in traditional
piano literature at the levels in which they are introduced. (for example:
scale requirements at levels 11 and 12).
-The Realization of
Figured Bass is for college theory students, musicologists and Baroque
specialists, and not for high school students.
3. The New Aural Awareness Requirements
-The “Rhythm Playbacks” and the “Melody Playbacks” are too
difficult and too time consuming to teach by the majority of teachers
entering students in SAT, especially as the levels progress.
-The “Rhythm Playbacks” and “Melody Playbacks” cannot be
accomplished in the allotted time on Student Achievement Testing Day.
-The melodic dictation requirements of the higher levels are
consistent with what is expected of many college-level freshman music
-There is no time to teach Music History in a 30 or 45 minute
weekly lesson. History questions
require detailed knowledge of context, style, and composer-related
information to be meaningful and are introduced in college level piano
literature and music history classes.
are for conducting class students enrolled in undergraduate
collegiate-level work, not for high-school students.
(This is not an exhaustive list, but instead
raises issues which have, to this point, not been addressed by the committee.)