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NCCAS releases media arts position paper and work updates

October 19, 2013

The National Coalition for Core Arts Standards (NCCAS) has released a position paper outlining a rationale and strategy for the creation of preK-12 media arts standards. NCCAS, a partnership of organizations (including the Educational Theatre Association) and states leading the revision of the 1994 National Standards for Arts Education, formerly released The Inclusion of Media Arts in Next Generation Arts Standards at a coalition meeting in Reston, Virginia, October 2-3. This document provides guidance for meeting the needs of students using new forms related to media arts as a contemporary form of expression.

The meeting, held at the headquarters of the National Association for Music Education and National Art Education Association, also focused on an update to the NCCAS overarching framework, a new timeline for the work, and a standards draft review plan.

For the past nine months, NCCAS standards chairs from each of the five arts disciplines and Project Director Philip Shepherd have been working with national writing teams in Dance, Media Arts, Music, Theatre and Visual Arts to create grade-level standards. The work of more than sixty writers has helped prompt the chairs and NCCAS leadership to create a revised overarching framework—the guiding document that will serve as the basis for creating a dynamic web-based version of the new standards.

The new framework includes a definition of artistic literacy applicable to all arts disciplines, based on recognized philosophical foundations and life-long goals. NCCAS expects to release the revised framework by early January, 2013, along with a companion narrative and one-page graphic representation.

The standards, utilizing the “Understanding by Design” (UbD) approach to curriculum development formulated by assessment experts Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe, will be linked to each artistic process in grades preK-8, with cornerstone assessments at benchmark grades 2, 5 and 8. The division of assessment benchmark grades at the high school level is currently under revision.

NCCAS’s updated timeline calls for the draft review process to begin in March, 2013. The first tier of review team members will be chosen from the more than 460 individuals who had applied to become writing team members in 2011; an additional call for reviewers will take place in early spring. All team members will participate in an online orientation session to prepare them for the review work. Anyone who was not a writing team applicant but interested in serving as a reviewer should check the NCCAS wiki page for details beginning in February, 2013. Potential reviewers who are members of an NCCAS professional association can also contact the leadership of their organization for the most up-to-date information.

Lynn Tuttle, director of arts education for the Arizona Department of Education, emphasized the need for knowledgeable reviewers to participate in the process. “We know that quality standards only occur when we combine the brilliant work of the writing teams with feedback from those who will have to work with the standards,” said Tuttle, a State Education Agency Directors of Arts Education representative on the NCCAS leadership team.

NCCAS is committed to developing a next generation of voluntary arts education standards that will build on the foundation created by the 1994 National Arts Standards, support the 21st-century needs of students and teachers, help ensure that all students are college and career ready, and affirm the place of arts education in a balanced core curriculum.