Improving Arts Learning through Standards & Assessment

Improving Arts Learning through Standards & Assessment: A National Endowment for the Arts Research Roundtable
On February 14, 2012, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) hosted a day-long series of panels and presentations to examine the latest trends, current practices, and future directions for arts learning standards and assessment methods. The press release on NEA’s website states that an archive video of the complete webcast will be available beginning February 21, 2012.

I watched the webcast on February 14th. There was good information shared and lots of food for thought from the conversation among the participants. I recommend finding some time to watch at least the sections that interest you most when the archive becomes available.

Beginning is a short welcome by Rocco Landesman, Chairman of the NEA and James H. Shelton III, Assistant Deputy Secretary for Innovation and Improvement at the U.S. Department of Education.

The first panel (1 hour) begins with an overview of the history of the Common Core Standards.
Followed by information on research (“implementation makes a big difference”, “Be careful to claim 21st century skills in the arts will transfer to other 21st century skills.”), an update on NAEP “nation’s report card” on the arts, and comments from Samuel Hoi, Otis College of Art and Design. Hoi said many things that caught my attention and I will go back and listen to this section again when the archive is posted.

Second panel (1 hour) begins with an overview of the Partnership for the 21st Century Skills.
Followed by an update from the National Coalition for Core Arts Standards (NCCAS) (see the end of this post for some links to their wiki site), a report on the research the College Board has done for the NCCAS to help them with their work, and a report on the revision of the arts standards done by Colorado (well worth watching).

There is a 30 minute break which I assume will be edited out of the archive followed by a presentation of the NEA’s latest research report, Improving the Assessment of Student Learning in the Arts: State of the Field and Recommendations. Daniel Beattie, Acting Director of Arts Education at the NEA also outlined the next steps for NEA arts education grants in this section. The NEA is especially interested in professional development with “how to design and implement high quality assessment of student learning in the arts” specifically mentioned. (45 minutes) There is a 45 minute lunch break after this  – also assume will be edited out.

Third panel (1 hour) is a conversation about some model assessment practices and potential problems in arts assessment.

The last hour is a conversation between the participants and a few people invited to be in the audience on ideas for moving the field forward.

Links to the archive and the NEA study Improving the Assessment of Student Learning in the Arts: State of the Field and Recommendations:
 February 14th webcast archive
Participant bios
National study of arts educational assessment tools and strategies (pdf)

National Coalition for CORE ARTS Standards
A draft preliminary version of the framework is available as a PDF.

There is also a video archive of the revision update on  January 24, 2012. (The image quality is fuzzy but the sound is better.)  Below the video window is an archive of comments made by people watching the live feed (and comments on tech issues). There is a short advertisement at the beginning of both – trade off for free service.

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