Polytechnic University of Valencia Congress, Third International Conference on Higher Education Advances

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Evaluating Learner Engagement in Arts Education: Perspectives from Music and Drama in Education
Luca Marrucci, Erika Piazzoli

Last modified: 08-06-2017


In this paper we aim to investigate learner engagement and how it can be evaluated, in the context of higher education research. Specifically we consider learner engagement evaluation in Arts Education, where the educational focus is on the process, rather than the product – drawing on music and drama in education research and practice. First, we position the notion of evaluation as opposed to assessment, with attention to its etymological roots. Second, we discuss the multifaceted notion of engagement as process, exploring the nature of learner engagement and a number of possible engagement indicators. We then synthesize these categories into descriptors which, we argue, can be useful to evaluate learners’ engagement in arts education practices. Third, we ground theory into practice by offering two examples drawn from the authors’ PhD case study research, respectively in music education and drama in education. We conclude that engagement is a multifaceted construct, which we frame as a mutual exercise of agency – whereby the teacher and the students act in a partnership as co-artists.

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