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Music Sample Questions

Multiple Choice
 Constructed Response

The sample question that follows asks students to identify music from a particular culture and to describe features of the music that help to characterize its style.


The question below is about the next piece of music that you will hear. The music will be played two times. After you hear the music, you will have one minute to answer. Before you hear the music, read the question.


From where does the music come?


North America


South America





The correct answer is D.

Other than the language used in the song, describe one feature of the music that helps to identify it as coming from the part of the world you selected. Be specific in your description.

 The student responded:

The drums, also the call and response

(Copyright information: "Drodope" by Les Femmes Pleureuses de Klo Mayondi from Togo: Music from West Africa (ROUN5004). Courtesy of Rounder Records.)

The response above is an example of a "Developed" response. Student responses for this two-part question were rated using four scoring levels: Developed, Adequate, Limited, and Inadequate. The response was rated "Developed" because it both indicated the correct region of origin of the music and cited the "call and response" feature of the music that is common among many types of African songs. Mentioning the use of specific percussion instruments such as drums also contributed to this response receiving a rating of "Developed."

Percentage of students in each response category at grade 8: 2008











# Rounds to zero.
NOTE: Detail may not sum to totals because the percentage of responses rated as "Off-task" is not shown. Off-task responses are those that do not provide any information related to the assessment task.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), 2008 Arts Assessment.

See more about this question in the NAEP Questions Tool.

On the map of NAEP music items, this question maps to a scale score of 172.

Learn more about what the arts assessment measures.

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