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Updated Jazz marking criteria

3 years ago


We’ve updated our Jazz marking criteria, which take effect in all Jazz exams from January 2017 onwards.

How are the marking criteria used?

In an exam, the examiner uses the marking criteria to identify precisely why and how they award the marks which lead to a Pass, Merit or Distinction. All examiners use them to explain how they have arrived at the final result via the mark form commentary.

Revising the Jazz marking criteria ensures consistency across all our graded practical music exams. By applying non-instrument specific criteria, we aim to avoid the bias of an instrument specialism and concentrate on what matters – the musical outcome!

Jazz graded music exams are marked out of a total of 150, with:

  • 100 marks required for a Pass
  • 120 marks required for a Merit
  • 130 marks required for a Distinction

A Pass in each individual section of the exam is not required to pass overall.

So what’s changed?

We’ve introduced one set of criteria for all ‘tunes’ at all five Jazz grades which is based on five ingredients common to all music making: pitch, time, tone, shape and performance. The marking criteria give a clear indication of how marks are awarded across these fundamental musical elements.

Aside from exams, thinking about how playing is going to be assessed can be a really helpful learning aid. The criteria have been designed so that they can form the basis of activities within lessons and practice sessions, and encourage a balanced focus on the essential ingredients of musical playing. For instance, a teacher could ask a student which of the five areas – pitch, time, tone, shape, performance – they thought was their strongest, and which areas they think need more work. The discussion that follows can then become the starting point for new goals and activities.

*Please note that there is no change to the exam itself.

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