Examining the music doctorate: challenges, contradictions and confluence in assessing time-based work
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Time-based work presents particular challenges for the assessment of doctoral work. The need for performance to be experienced 'in the moment' creates logistical issues for institutions, assessors and, most significantly - candidates. While this process is akin to examining an exhibition, the ephemeral nature of music, the balance of process and product and the subjectivities of the examiners all play a role in the eventual outcome. Drawing on cases from practice-centred work in music, this paper seeks to illuminate examination practices. Using both live and web-based submissions and incorporating the views of examiners, candidates and higher degree managers, the paper reveals some of the positive and the not-so-positive experiences of examination. The cases are located in the Australian context but have been subjected to international scrutiny through peer assessment with partner institutions in Europe and Scandinavia. The findings from the data provide potential templates for future use, alongside identification of pitfalls to be avoided in the assessment of high stakes music doctorates.
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