It has been a very busy summer and, for those following the progress of the national core arts standards revision, this summer has been especially busy.
The National Coalition for Core Arts Standards (NCCAS), a collaboration of nine national arts and education organizations, began its work in the spring of 2011 to plan and revise the 1994 National Standards for Arts Education. Writing teams from dance, media arts, music, theatre, and visual arts--with the American Alliance for Theatre and Education (AATE) and the Educational Theatre Association (EdTA) jointly managing the theatre team--have been working on the creation of new, more robust standards since February 2012. In July 2013, the PreK-8 grade draft standards were released for public comment, and more than 3,000 arts educators, artists, and advocates participated in the online review. We had reviewers from all 50 states, as well as several international reviewers, showing widespread interest in the revision of our nation's arts education standards.
In early August, the writing teams from all five disciplines met to review your comments and are working to incorporate them into the next draft. The responses confirm that you, our colleagues and practitioners in the field, agreed with the construction and framework of the standards. In addition to the Likert and scaled questions, researchers in each discipline captured and distilled the many substantive written comments from reviewers. Matt Omasta, Assistant Professor at Utah State University, conducted the theatre research.
Some of the common questions which were identified in the survey responses include:
- How do we best balance the need for content within an artistic process framework?
- How much content is the right balance for a set of standards, without dictating curriculum?
- How can we simplify our language and still retain the essence of the artistic discipline we are describing?
- What is the difference between "domain specific language" and jargon when trying to describe an artistic discipline?
- Are there opportunities for increasing the commonality between the artistic disciplines while distinguishing and honoring the differences between them?
Based on the responses, the writing teams will be collectively developing a glossary of terms for the standards, and a refined, reader-friendly format for the standards themselves, as well as a complimentary web-based architecture that is both searchable and intuitive. No small task, as the writing teams will be putting in long hours through the fall and holiday season to meet the March 2014 deadline for the release of the new standards.
With the edit of the preK-8 grade standards well underway, please mark your calendars for the first public review of the draft 9-12 grade standards beginning September 30, 2013. Visit the coalition's website or the NCCAS Facebook page to learn how you can participate in the review process, and review other documentation and information about our work.
AATE Executive Director