Use Your Voice: Review the New National Standards

The National Coalition for Core Arts Standards (NCCAS), a group of national arts and education organization and media arts representatives,  has been hard at work reviewing and overhauling the national arts standards. The group is committed to public input and transparency throughout the process. The review of pK-8 standards this summer drew over 3000 educators and other stakeholders. Finally, the 9-12 review is up and running through October 21st.



According to the NCCAS, the revised standards are meant to “affirm the place of arts education in a balanced core curriculum, support the 21st-century needs of students and teachers, and help ensure that all students are college and career ready. The arts standards emphasize “big ideas,” philosophical foundations, enduring understandings/essential questions, and anchor/performance standards, all of which are intended to guide the curriculum development and instructional practices that leads to arts literacy for all students.”

To participate in the review process and join in the national dialog visit Are you a middle school or elementary educator who missed out on the review this summer? No worries! A comprehensive final public review of the pK-12 draft will begin in January 2014. NCCAS has projected a March 2014 release date for finished standards. We actually grabbed the drafts put out from the summer review to share with you if you want to take a peek by downloading the PDF’s below in each area.

VISUAL ARTS Creating PK-8 June 2013

VISUAL ARTS Presenting PK-8 June 2013

VISUAL ARTS Responding PK-8 June 2013

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AOE plans to monitor and cover the implementation and rolling out of these standards very closely, and provide answers to any questions you might have – so stay turned as the year progresses. We know change can be confusing. We’ve got your back!

Did you have a chance to review the Middle School or Elementary standards? 

What is the buzz in your school and state about these standards? 

Sarah Dougherty

My name is Sarah Dougherty, and I teach elementary art in a large urban district in central Iowa. I love working with our diverse population of K-5 students to bring art to their homes, communities, and everyday lives.


  • artprojectgirl

    Wow Thanks so much for posting this! I needed a copy:)

  • Bruce Taylor

    Here’s my take on the National Coalition for Core Arts Standards (NCCAS). For
    example, an arts educator already knows the fundamentals of their art form. Has anything changed with regard to principles and techniques that have been discovered that radically changes what kids should learn about a given art form? No. The challenge therefore is to teach these basic elements of arts practice in ways that conform to and meet the expectations of Common Core, not to study an entirely separate set of standards such as the NCCAS. Otherwise, arts education will continue to decline in America’s public schools.


    In the real world of education, administrators don’t really care whether or not arts specialists conform to the NCCAS as that framework is merely voluntary and the set of standards principals and superintendents really care about are the Common Core set of standards. Because student success on assessments based on Common Core will determine whether those administrators keep their jobs and play a significant role in all teachers’ evaluations, including eventually those of arts specialists. Then why not shift the focus of teaching practice to meet the expectations and developing the habits of mind required by this new paradigm for teaching and learning without violating the integrity of arts content? Juxtaposing the NCCAS with Common Core standards does not reveal an adequate alignment between the two.

    In the real world of the professional performing arts, the first things you think about when creating a production is what limitations do you have. Such as; how much time is available, where will it be performed, what personnel are involved, what resources are required, and how much money do you have to work with?

    Thus, when constructing a document such as the NCCAS, they should provide grade level models that delineate who is going to do it, with how many kids, over what span of time, in what venue, with what resources and how much it ought to cost. Otherwise, this is merely an aspirational document, not one rooted in reality. In other words, the working context that arts specialists contend with. The reality for an arts specialist, in most states, is that the cumulative amount of contact time (dosage) with a given cohort of students is a little over twenty….four…..hours! On average, 42 minutes a week times 36 weeks in the school year. If kids had to do all of what is outlined in the NCCAS, in any of the five art forms, they wouldn’t have time to learn anything else!

  • Casey McCullough

    I need more standard unpacking resources for Secondary!!! PLEASE