The College Board, in partnership with the National Coalition for Core Arts Standards (NCCAS), has released two new research reports designed to support the revision of the National Arts Education Standards. 

The International Arts Education Standards: A Survey of the Arts Education Standards and Practices of Fifteen Countries and Regions outlines existing international standards and benchmarks for arts education in more than a dozen of the world’s most educationally advanced countries. The second report is entitled Arts Education Standards and 21st Century Skills: An analysis of the relationship between the 1994 National Standards for Arts Education and the 21st Century Skills Map in the Arts.

The current National Standards for Arts Education, used by the Kentucky Department of Education and 48 other states, have become the benchmark document by which K-12 arts learning is measured in dance, music, theater and visual arts. Curriculum designers, teacher training programs, funders and federal and state policymakers have relied on the standards to help guide their decisions.  

NCCAS will begin revising the current standards this fall, and is scheduled to release the next generation standards in December 2012.

NCCAS’ partner, the State Education Agency Directors of Arts Education (SEADAE), is leading the effort to garner state-level support for the revision project.

“We’re delighted to see the College Board working with SEADAE and the arts association to develop arts standards,” Kentucky Department of Education Commissioner Terry Holliday said. “In Kentucky, we are strongly supportive of a balanced approach to student development with a focus on the arts.”

Scott Shuler, the arts specialist for the Connecticut Department of Education, said the arts education community owes a debt of gratitude to the College Board for helping the field build new national standards on a solid foundation of research.

“As a result of our collaboration with this fine organization, the resulting version of our nation’s National Core Arts Standards will be both child-friendly and world class,” he said.

The College Board expects to release two more research reports in the near future: one focusing on college level arts standards benchmarks, including expectations of students enrolled in non-major arts courses; and another that will offer a comprehensive review of pre-K-12 arts education and child development, including practices that address students’ cognitive, social and emotional needs.

To find out more about the College Board’s education initiatives, go to

To download the two research reports noted here, visit the National Coalition for Core Arts Standards wiki pages at