Posts Tagged ‘Phil Shephard’


National Arts Standards Update

August 25, 2012

Writing teams work on EUs, EQs, CAs

Earlier this summer the National Coalition for Core Arts Standards (NCCAS) writing teams met in the Washington D.C. area to continue their work on the writing of the the national standards. They discussed the Enduring Understandings (EU), Enduring Questions (EQ), and Cornerstone Assessments (CA).

This was their first meeting face to face since they started the work electronically. This meeting with the leadership team of the NCCAS was possible  thanks to the generosity of the states, national arts education organizations (NAfME, NAEA, NDEO, AATE, EdTA), and the  partners at the College Board.

You can view (and hear) the highlights of the work on the NCCAS wiki at:

The site has a document that is updated periodically with questions and answers. Here are a couple:

  1. Are there continued efforts to understand where the arts are already in alignment with the Common Core State Standards? I would imagine I would be interested in knowing this for the purpose of articulating the possible standards for Arts Integration techniques.  If so are there efforts to articulate how Arts Integration techniques can help meet the CC standards as well as to understand where arts and creativity processes are cognitively parallel to skills and tasks that are laid out in Common Core?                                                                  Project Director Phil Shepherd: Yes there are continual efforts to make connections to the Common Core. Not only do we have some research conducted by the College Board, but as the work continues comparisons are brought forward in each of the writing teams.
  2. How does this document address the important process of creative thinking? This is the leading characteristic CEO’s say they are looking for in a 21st employee. The learning of this process I believe could be one of those elements that could connect all the art forms. The creative thinking process can be taught, but are we teaching it in K-12 schools? Rarely have I seen it specifically addressed in my 35 years of art public school teaching. So….If not in this domain, where? Project Director Phil Shepherd: A goal established by the National Coalition for Core Arts Standards is to bring creativity to the forefront. Alignment with the 21st Century Skills framework is a part of the process. The College Board has done research to support this effort as well and our writers have reviewed that research. Additional work has been done to review creative practices and provide an overview of how those practices play out in the artistic processes.

You can keep up with developments on the new national standards by checking the NCCAS wiki site at:


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 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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