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Understanding and Using the National Core Arts Standards

The arts have always served as the distinctive vehicle for discovering who we are. Providing ways of thinking as disciplined as science or math and as disparate as philosophy or literature, the arts are used by and have shaped every culture and individual on earth. They continue to infuse our lives on nearly all levels—generating a significant part of the creative and intellectual capital that drives our economy. The arts inform our lives with meaning every time we experience the joy of a well-remembered song, experience the flash of inspiration that comes with immersing ourselves in an artist’s sculpture, enjoying a sublime dance, learning from an exciting animation, or being moved by a captivating play.

The central purposes of education standards are to identify the learning that we want for all of our students and to drive improvement in the system that delivers that learning. Standards, therefore, should embody the key concepts, processes and traditions of study in each subject area, and articulate the aspirations of those invested in our schools—students, teachers, administrators, and the community at large. To realize that end goal, these new, voluntary National Core Arts Standards are framed by artistic literacy, as outlined in philosophical foundations, lifelong goals, and artistic processes; articulated as anchor and performance standards that students should attain; and supported by instructional resources, including model cornerstone assessments that illustrate how literacy might be measured. The connective threads of this conceptual framework are designed to be understood by all stakeholders and, ultimately, to ensure success for both educators and students.

While broad in concept, the standards are also focused in a framework that delivers the educational nuance of standards in only four artistic processes, bringing together what artists do and what we want for our students. Within this simple and elegant structure, decision-makers from teachers, to superintendents, to parents will be able to move forward in the rich variety of approaches that have become part of the American educational landscape.

The National Core Arts Standards are designed to guide the delivery of arts education in the classroom with new ways of thinking, learning, and creating. The standards also inform policy-makers about implementation of arts programs for the traditional and emerging models and structures of education. As with other subject areas, a commitment to quality education, equitable opportunities, and comprehensive expectations is embedded within the new arts standards.

Inclusion Guidelines

Visual Arts
Media Arts

National Core Arts Standards are written for five arts disciplines; Dance, Media Arts, Music, Theatre and Visual Arts.

National Core Arts Standards are written grade by grade Pre K – 8th grade and at three proficiency levels in high school (proficient, accomplished and advanced).

Choose instructional support materials.

Artistic Processes are the cognitive and physical actions by which arts learning and making are realized. National Core Arts Standards are based on the artistic processes of Creating; Performing/ Producing/Presenting; Responding; and Connecting.