In Brief

US Educators Test New National Art Standards

Marie Bashkirtseff, "In the Studio" (1881) (Image via Wikimedia)
Marie Bashkirtseff, “In the Studio” (1881) (image via Wikimedia)

Next month, educators at close to 100 schools across the country will pilot new national art standards for education. The trial project will be conducted in elementary and middle schools throughout the first half of this year and in high schools during 2016.

Launched last October, the standards have been described as the artistic, voluntary version of the Common Core. They were created by the National Coalition for Core Arts Standards (NCCAS), a group of arts educators partially funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, who took into account the input of more than 6,000 educators, artists, parents, and students when drawing them up.

The guidelines span the old disciplines of dance, music, theater, and visual arts, as well as incorporating a new one: media arts. They break down the artistic process into 11 “anchor” standards, which are then grouped into four separate stages: creating, performing/presenting/producing, responding, and connecting. Educators are instructed to assess the work using discipline-specific performance standards — or what’s called a “model cornerstone assessment” — that depend on each student’s level (proficient, accomplished, or advanced).

National arts standards were last released in 1994. Since states decide the extent and scope of art programs in their schools, their application varies widely. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 26 states require students to take an art class before graduating high school, and only half of all states define art as a core or academic subject.

The new standards have already been adopted by Arkansas, Kansas, and Nebraska. Ten more states are considering it, US News reported.

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