Do You Measure Up to the Standards?

We, as art teachers, spend a whole lot of time evaluating the performance of our students, helping them to evaluate their own performance, and having our performance evaluated by our supervisors. It is no wonder that we often forget to stop and reflect, as experts in our field, on our own work as art educators. As mostly singletons, we don’t always have colleagues to measure ourselves against or observe. Many districts are working towards improving this situation, but until then it is time to get reacquainted with the standards of good art teaching…




Standard I: Visual arts educators have a thorough understanding of the visual arts

Standard II: Visual arts educators understand student characteristics, abilities, and learning styles

Standard III: Visual arts educators understand diverse social and cultural constructions of identity

Standard IV: Visual arts educators make informed selections of art content and curricula

Standard V: Visual arts educators use knowledge of students as learners to plan appropriate instruction

Standard VI: Visual arts educators use contemporary technology to enhance teaching and learning

Standard VII: Visual arts educators conduct meaningful and appropriate assessments of student learning

Standard VIII: Visual arts educators systematically reflect on their own teaching practice

Standard IX: Visual arts educators assess program effectiveness

Standard X: Visual arts educators collaborate with other educators

Standard XI: Visual arts educators serve their schools and communities

Standard XII: Visual arts educators continue their professional development throughout their careers

Standard XIII: Visual arts educators contribute to the growth of their profession

Full text of these standards can be found here

Overwhelmed? Choose one or two areas to focus on for the rest of the school year. Share them with your evaluator and help them understand what good art teaching looks like. Use them as a framework for planning PLC time. Whatever you do, don’t stop reflecting!

Which of these standards do you feel you have down pat? 

Which standard do you feel you need the most improvement in?




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.


  • Alecia Eggers

    I LOVE this – thank you for making an easy list to remind us!! As I’m currently creating my National Standards portfolio (Standard VIII :) ), I think it’s beneficial to also consider these in the process…and they aren’t that different!

  • artprojectgirl

    Thanks to AOE I think it’s easier for art teachers to grow in these standards especially X111 and X11 because of AOE. It takes a person devoting all of their professional time to organizing art teachers, like Jessica has done. Even in our district we don’t have an art director who has any background in art and oh yeah, it’s a split position, SPLIT 3 ways (maybe 4!) I so appreciate a space that is really kept current. Yes there are lots of places for art educators, but none are updated DAILY and none provide classes, conferences and discussion among people in the field. I just can’t think of another forum like this. If you can please post it in the comment box! We all knew we needed this for our profession, while none of us could provide it, we can support it and use it as a tool to keep connected and current. Yes these standards would be pretty much impossible for me to meet with a 2 year old at home if it weren’t for an online community like this. She’s napping and I’m AOEing

    • Artprojectgirl, THANK YOU! We know that there is a need for this kind of work out there, but when we hear from you guys about what you want, need, and appreciate it totally validates the feeling! I have a two year old that is sleeping while I am writing this! At least knowing that there is a community of teachers out there with the same daily challenges (both at home and at work) can give us all the spark we need to push on and do the very best by our students. Thanks for your comments!