The impact of socioeconomic status on band and chorus contest ratings
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In an effort to explore the relationship between socioeconomic status (SES) and music ensemble achievement in competition, the author of this study examined the ratings of Texas high school and middle school bands and choruses (N = 4357) at concert and sightreading contests, as well as the SES of each school. In addition, the author considered whether the association of SES and contest ratings differed between bands (n = 2414) and choruses (n = 1943); high school (n = 2202) and middle school (n = 2155) ensembles; and between schools’ top (varsity) ensembles (n = 2501), second (non-varsity) ensembles (n = 1578), and lower (sub non-varsity) ensembles (n = 278). The University Interscholastic League (UIL) governs Texas public school academic, athletic, and music contests. Each spring UIL band and chorus concert and sightreading contests are held across Texas. The 2012 UIL contest results were used in this study. The two ratings for each ensemble (one for concert and one for sightreading) were averaged together to create one composite rating for each ensemble. For analysis purposes, schools were categorized into three groups based on school SES, which was measured as the percentage of economically disadvantaged students for each school, according to data from the Texas Education Agency (TEA). Results indicated that lower SES schools received lower ratings at contest than those with higher SES. These differences in ratings were statistically significant between all three SES groups: high-SES, middle-SES, and low-SES. The impact of SES did not differ significantly between bands and choruses; between high school and middle school ensembles; or between varsity, non-varsity, and sub non-varsity ensembles.