National Endowment for the Arts Webcast

February 21, 2012

Arts Education Standards & Assessment Focus of National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Roundtable and Webcast

On Valentine’s Day the NEA held an all-day webcast that was very interesting and engaging. The panels scheduled throughout the day shared relevant information to arts education. Many of the points made and the information shared about standards and assessment, Maine is either involved with doing or it is on our radar to explore or to put in place.

A recording of the entire day is scheduled to be available starting today, February 21, 2012 at this link http://www.arts.gov/research/convenings.html. At this link you can download the report (listed as National studey of arts educadtional assessment tools and strategies) NEA had released prior to the webcast: Improving the Assessment of Student Learning in the Arts – State of the Field and Recommendations. Also available is the agenda for the day, and information about the individuals who participated on the panels.

The following is information that provides an overview of what occurred during the day.

As the field of educational assessment advances, and as alternatives to standardized tests emerge, the tools used to evaluate student learning, such as portfolio reviews, are beginning to gain greater currency. Given this development, it is even more important to examine arts educational standards and assessment tools to ensure that arts learning can become a vital force for enhancing 21st -century skills. This is the first time that the NEA has taken a comprehensive look at this issue via the roundtable, webcast, and new research report, Improving the Assessment of Student Learning in the Arts: State of the Field and Recommendations.

NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman and the U.S. Department of Education Assistant Deputy Secretary for Innovation and Improvement James H. Shelton III opened the roundtable. Following the welcome, a series of panels and presentations examined the latest trends, current practices, and future directions for arts learning standards and assessment methods.

Commissioned by the NEA from the evaluation firm WestEd, this national research report describes the current state of arts learning assessment tools and techniques. It provides a description of the current state of arts assessment from the perspective of two groups of stakeholders: district and school staff as one group, and policy-makers, arts organizations, and researchers as a second group. That report includes a literature review and an examination of stakeholders’ experiences with assessment, common practices, and needs of the field as identified by stakeholders.

Below are some of the quotes that I found that resonate with the work we are doing in the Maine Arts Assessment Initiative:

  • Stuart Elliott (Director, Board on Testing and Assessment (BOTA) of the National Research Council): “Standards don’t make a difference, implementation does“.
  • Sammy Hoi (Otis College of Art and Design): “Three keys: 1) Understand change 2) Shift from goods to services and 3) Readiness to solve problems
  • Dennie Palmer Wolf (Wolf/Brown Associates) : “When we talk about the arts we need to look at the long haul as well. Cultural change takes a fairly long time.”
  • Phil Shephard (Project Manager, National Core Arts Standards): “The National Core Arts Standards will include a web-based environment with teacher practice examples, student portfolios, and the ability to make changes to the document so it won’t become stagnant.”
  • Nancy Rubino (College Board): “The research we did for the National Coalition for Core Arts Standards including the review of arts standards from 15 countries – research structures, learning outcomes, guiding principals, and where possible assessment strategies. Noteworthy was learning outcomes that featured students connections to other avenues. China art and emotion and art and culture and art and science.  Also, attitudes and values, connect the arts to real learning contexts”.
  • Unknown: “Arts ed is prepared to lead the way when it comes to educational reform.”

I hope you will download the WestEd report to learn how it can inform your communication and decision-making at the local level around teaching, learning and assessment in the arts.

I don’t recall who said this but I do love it: CCO – Chief Creative Officer – Arts Teachers!

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