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Indigenous African music (IAM) performance assessment: an exploration of the role of teachers during the grade 12 external practical examination.

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Since the introduction of the outcomes-based education in 1997 that overcame the curricular divisions of the past, Indigenous African Music (IAM) has finally attained a seat in the national music Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS). However, due to its prominent mode of transmission which is aural/oral; lack of trained IAM teachers; and varied performance styles, schools still face performance assessment challenges. The study explores the dual role of teachers in order to examine what kind of competences that can be envisaged for them, specifically, during Grade 12 final practical examination. The main aim was to find out teacher perceptions on the current state of IAM performance assessment in Umlazi district and therefore determine how IAM performance and assessment guidelines can be further developed. Creswell’s (2013) social constructivist worldview whereby individuals seek understanding of the world in which they live and work, allows the researcher to present an explanation for the behavior and attitudes of IAM teachers, pertaining to their dual role, which is teaching and assessing the learners. Again, social constructivism as a learning theory which views learning as asocial process, underpins the study’s design and also informs the understanding of IAM performance assessment. Through a qualitative approach, the researcher purposively sampled individuals who have experienced IAM performance in the classroom setting. In this descriptive approach knowledge is constructed in a social environment, in which the researcher and the participants share their lived experiences. Through one-on-one semi-structured interviews, the study finds that, besides the limited number of IAM-trained teachers, the dearth of performance content/material in the music CAPS, results in teachers choosing certain topics and avoiding IAM performance. To mitigate this impediment, this study developed specified performance and assessment guidelines for selected IAM styles which act as a fragmented or criterion-referenced evaluation system that can ensure valid and reliable assessment results. The process of guidelines’ development was achieved through secondary data collection which were presented in forms of literature reviews and textual & structural analyses of each delimited IAM performance style. Furthermore, these guidelines constitute a framework that will aid assessors and non-IAM teachers who are willing to adapt to teaching the IAM stream in their schools.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.