The National Standards for Arts Education, developed by the Consortium of National Arts Education Associations, address what every young American should know and be able to do in dance, theater/drama, music and visual art by the end of 4th grade, 8th grade, 12 grade, and 12th grade advanced. It provides a comprehensive description of national standards for the arts and a rationale for standards that is thorough and convincing. The site, which is a sub-site within ArtsEdge at the Kennedy Center, includes the following: table of contents, a list of defined terms, an introduction, the actual K-12 standards, a glossary, a summary that features how the standards came into existence, a list of those people and organizations that developed the standards, and those who endorse the standards.
Educators will learn about the national standards for arts education and why they are critical to every student in America. The National Standards for Arts Education assert that knowing and practicing the arts disciplines are fundamental to the healthy development of children's minds and spirits. The intent is to provide a vision of competence and educational effectiveness, but without creating a mold into which all arts programs must fit.
Target Student Population:
Student teachers, K-12 teachers, higher education faculty, especially those in teacher education,
educational organizations, and parents
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
A basic understanding of content knowledge and developmentally appropriate skills in one or more the arts is helpful, but not required.
Type of Material:
The rationales and standards can be used in developing comprehensive arts programs at the school and district levels, as well as for unit and lesson plan development at grade level and classroom levels.
Basic Internet navigation skills
Evaluation and Observation
The rationale for teaching the arts is thorough and convincing. It connects the purpose of the arts to educational reform. This is important for advanced understanding of the standards. Background on the historical development of the arts standards provides a foundation. The actual standards are systematically organized with specific information that clearly offers not only expectations, but numerous ideas and suggestions for curriculum development. This information is divided into three grade level groupings of K-4, 5-8, and 9-12. Supporting information at this site such as definitions including hyperlinks within the standards, glossary, and an informative summary contributeto broader coverage of the content.
The actual process used for developing the standards is not presented, although the major players and arts organizations that helped to write them are noted.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
The K-12 national arts standards are presented in an organized manner, which allows for immediate referencing, researching, and generation of curriculum ideas. There is a thorough description of arts standards that could complement an in-class introduction. The site articulates rationales for teaching the arts, which are often difficult for beginning teachers to do. This is a great starting place for all teachers (K-university) who are planning appropriate arts lessons. The standards are written in appropriate lesson objective format. The arts information access from this page is vast and allows for independent research, group projects, presentations, and curriculum development within the arts and across subject areas.
It would be helpful to have some way on this site to connect these arts standards to other curriculum areas so as to promote integration.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The presentation of the standards and listing of specific links are clear and efficient. At the top of the page there are direct links to current news issues in the arts, arts and arts integration lessons, and professional development materials. On the sidebar at this site there are direct links to national standards and benchmarks for all areas of the curriculum, as well as best practices and showcase examples of arts education. Hyperlinks with definitions are imbedded within the text of the rationales and standards. Furthermore the search button found at this site allows you to instantly conduct a search not only on the arts standards, but also the entire ArtsEdge site. The organization of each page is consistent, easy to read, and attractive to the eye. No technical support should be needed.
The listing of the standards content for each grade level grouping is continuous in the middle of long pages--scrolling required. It is easy to get distracted from the national standards link with the ArtsEdge homepage links to the left but these were very helpful and interesting as well.
Other Issues and Comments:
At the top of this site is a direct link to a user guide for the entire ArtsEdge site which is worth reviewing for an overall perspective of arts education information and curriculum. The reviewers encourage a broader introduction to the ArtsEdge site before focusing on the National Standards for Arts Education specifically. Also, it would be helpful to have some way on this site to connect these arts standards to other curriculum areas so as to promote integration.