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FAQs: National Expectations for Learning in Arts Ed

August 12, 2010

Update on the standards work at the national level

What are National Expectations for Learning in Arts Education?
National Expectations for Learning in Arts Education is a project conceived during a SCASS-Arts meeting (State Collaborative on Assessment and Student Standards) in the winter of 2008.  The State Education Agency Directors of Arts Education (SEADAE) assumed the role of project facilitator in October of 2009 with content, community, and cultural partners.  The first convening of the national Task Force was May 2010.  The anticipated, collective work includes, but is not limited to:
•    Data collection
•    Student learning: standards, curriculum, and assessment
•    Professional development: pre-service and in-service
•    Development of educational leadership
•    National standards
•    Policy development at all levels
•    Community partnerships

Who are the partners involved in the work?
The National Task Force includes the following partners:

  • State Education Agency Directors of Arts Education (SEADAE)
  • American Alliance for Theatre and Education
  • Americans for the Arts
  • Arts Education Partnership
  • The College Board
  • Council of Chief State School Officers
  • Educational Theatre Association
  • Independent Arts Education Consultants
  • The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
  • League of American Orchestras
  • MENC: The National Association for Music Education
  • National Art Education Association
  • National Assembly of State Arts Agencies
  • National Dance Education Organization
  • National Endowment for the Arts
  • Quadrant Arts Education Research
  • Young Audiences Inc.

What work has been done?
•    In December 2009 The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) endorsed the collection of key data in all core subjects as defined by the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). This recommendation, approved by CCSSO’s Board of Directors, provided guidance to states for the development of the Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems (SLDS).
•    A data taskforce of SEADAE in consultation with the National Center for Educational Statistics completed a comprehensive review of the Secondary School Course Classification System: School Codes for the Exchange of Data in the subject areas covered by the category Fine and Performing Arts (dance, music, theater, and visual arts). This review was initiated to provide NCES with the most up to date information regarding the range of courses in the visual and performing arts and to suggest recommendations that would aid the organization’s effort to revise the course code and descriptors to better reflect current practice in the field. Elementary School Course Codes are under development.
•    In agreement with SEADAE’s April endorsement, the National Task Force determined in May 2010 that the re-conceptualization of National Content Standards for the Arts was the next facet of arts education that needs attention.  The work is currently known as National Arts Standards 2.0 and will parallel development of national standards in other content areas.  The updated standards will use extant technology (including embedded links to important support information, be user-friendly, and address the needs of diverse student populations in our public schools.  During the summer of 2010, the Task Force will develop a governance structure; identify a flexible, tech-supported infrastructure; determine a timeline; create a budget; seek funding; solidify partnerships (pending board approvals); and explore potential structural elements for educator-generated National Standards in the Arts.

What is the timeline for future work?

National Standards are slated to be released for review by December 2011.  Through the use of teleconferencing and social networking, the work will be inclusive, transparent, and designed to include a large population of thought partners.

How can I support these efforts?
There are many ways to help ensure the success of National Arts Standards 2.0.  Organizations, corporations, and foundations are being approached for financial backing.  Cultural, community, and content partners will continue to serve as Task Force members.  Most importantly, practitioners in arts classrooms across the nation will have the opportunity to provide input and feedback to the National Task Force and, ultimately, will put into practice the learning targets that are developed.

The time, knowledge, expertise, and other critical resources of the nation’s arts education stakeholders will be required in the development of the National Standards 2.0.

If you have questions please contact me at argy.nestor@maine.gov

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