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Hunter, Emily Alison. Closing the Opportunity Gap in and through Dance: A New Rubric Design. Unpublished Master of Arts thesis, University of Northern Colorado, 2019. The goal of this research was to design a dance audition rubric that could identify both capability and potential in novice students and formally trained dancers alike. The high school targeted in this study was among the top public arts schools in the nation, able to offer unparalleled opportunities to students who gain admission by audition. A problem existed in that students with little or no formal dance training had difficulty gaining entry to the dance program because the existing rubric rewarded evidence of training over raw talent. In designing a new rubric, the hope was to identify one way to close an opportunity gap in dance for students with little to no access to formal dance training. Dance teachers at schools with similar dance programs to that of the targeted school served as participants for this study, completing a survey that yielded data on how these programs assess talent and potential in auditioning students. Information gleaned from these questionnaires was utilized in the design of the new audition rubric. Student participants were then utilized to determine the effectiveness of the newly designed rubric, and parent questionnaires generated data on the students’ respective amounts of experience with formal dance training and other extra-curricular activities. There were twenty-four students in the study. Video footage of the student participants’ auditions at the targeted school was scored by the researcher, using both the existing and new rubrics, and the scores were then compared. These scoring outcomes, coupled with parent questionnaire responses, showed that nearly every student participant benefited from the use of the new rubric for scoring as compared to the existing rubric and that those with little or no formal dance training benefited more than those with more formal training. Among the limitations of this study was the potential bias of the researcher in scoring the audition footage, as she created the new rubric for this research. Other limitations included the content and procedures of the auditions at the targeted school, the limited number of student participants, and the open-ended nature of some questions on the Parent Questionnaire

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