CCE Theses and Dissertations


Tutorial Support for Developing Recognition of Tonality Among Middle School Students in a Small Parochial School

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Computing Technology in Education (DCTE)


Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences


Steven R. Terrell

Committee Member

Getrude W. Abramson

Committee Member

Mike Estep


Melody and harmony are foundational elements of music. Middle school students often struggle to develop the ability to identify examples of differing tonality. Research suggests that review and practice will help master the understanding and skills necessary to overcome this. Current research also suggests that computer tutorials are at least as effective, and in some cases more effective than traditional activities in developing concepts among middle school students and in music education.

This study examined the use of a tutorial to provide review and practice in developing the ability to recognize and identify examples of tonalities. This study used seventh and eighth grade students in a small parochial school to compare the effectiveness of the tutorial with traditional methodology. The research followed an experimental design. Subjects were randomly divided into two groups. A pre-test was administered.

Following the pre-test, normal instruction took place with both groups together. The treatment group used the tutorial during the six week instructional unit while the control group used traditional style worksheets. Following completion of the unit, a post-test was administered. The difference between pre-test and post-test scores was analyzed. Statistical analysis was used to evaluate the effectiveness of the tutorial in each of the areas. Results demonstrated effectiveness for CAI support of some aural concepts.

Results failed to support the other research hypotheses. Six conclusions came from the study. First, the use of CAI is more effective for some aural concepts. Secondly, given the time of year, the tutorial that was used, and the size of the subject population, the use of a tutorial was not more effective than traditional methods. The third conclusion was that the design of the tutorial used in this study may not have been optimal. Fourth, this study did not occur at the optimal time of year. Fifth, the size of the subject population may have been too small to provide an accurate representation of the effectiveness of CAI Finally, the use of the tutorial resulted in student learning and such usage appeared to be at least as effective as the use of traditional paper and pencil.

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