14 States Have New(ish) Arts Standards

By Jaclyn Zubrzycki — February 21, 2017 2 min read
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In 2014, arts education groups released the National Core Arts Standards, a set of K-12 standards for visual art, music, dance, theater, and media arts.

Since then, 14 states and the DoDEA have adopted new arts standards, according to a short report from the National Coalition for the Core Arts Standards. An additional 19 are currently revising their arts standards, and New Hampshire has updated a set of “arts competencies” using the Core Arts Standards as a model.

The National Core Arts Standards replace the first-ever national model arts standards, which were released in 1994. Forty-nine states adopted those standards, which were touted as a way to make arts instruction more sequential and to ensure that students were studying various artistic disciplines.

Each state approaches standards adoption differently and is on a different timeline, and the report doesn’t outline exactly how each state’s standards relate to the National Core Arts Standards. But Jeff Poulin, the program manager for arts education at Americans for the Arts, said that all the states so far used the National Core Arts Standards as a model. Two states, Delaware and Vermont, adopted the new standards in their entirety, while others, including Illinois, used the National Core Arts Standards to inform and organize their own standards. Poulin said the National Coalition for Arts Standards is planning on researching state standards’ alignment now that more states have updated their standards.

The National Coalition for Core Arts Standards center around creative processes like connecting, responding, producing, and performing. They’re grade-level-specific, while the previous set just included goals for 4th, 8th, and 12th grades. They also include media arts for the first time, and are available online. The arts groups have also been in the process of piloting model assessments tied to the standards. The National Coalition for Core Arts Standards’ website includes links to the standards for each discipline and sample student artworks—though some of the offerings still seems to be a work in progress: I clicked on the link to access music’s model assessment, for instance, and it shows up as still under revision.

Arts organizations have stressed that the standards are voluntary for states, in part due to the public angst associated with that other set of standards with core in their name.

In 2012, the College Board reviewed how the National Core Arts Standards connect to the common core.


A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.