• What will you learn in Art class?

    The Essential Standards communicate what students should know and be able to do as a result of instruction at each grade level (K-8) or proficiency level: beginning, intermediate, proficient, and advanced (9-12). Because of the broad base of knowledge and skills involved in creating, performing, responding to, and understanding the arts, experiences and learning must occur in a sequential manner. 

    Click on the link below to see the standards for each grade level K-8, scroll to page 13 for grades 6-8: 

    North Carolina Essential Standards for Visual Arts

    Standards and Research 

    The Arts Education Essential Standards incorporate the National Standards for Arts Education, which were developed by the Consortium of National Arts Education Associations in 1994, as part of the standards movement defining what every young American should know and be able to do in the arts.  The more recent National Standards for Learning and Teaching Dance in the Arts, from the National Dance Education Organization (2005), as well as research in each of the arts disciplines, other state standards, and international resources, were used in the development of these standards. 



    The Arts Education Essential Standards feature the following:

    • Communicating and developing literacy within each arts discipline;
    • Thinking creatively and critically, and solving artistic problems;
    • Understanding the arts in relation to history, culture, heritage, ideas, and lifelong learning; 
    • Connecting learning within each arts discipline with other arts, disciplines outside of the arts, the real world, 21st century themes and skills, and to life beyond school, whether that be further education, pursuit of an interest, or a career;
    • Understanding and appreciating world cultures and historic periods.  For the first time, the Arts Education Essential Standards have common clarifying objectives at all levels which have been closely aligned with history and culture components of the Social Studies Essential Standards.  The purpose of this structure is to provide common learning and understanding within and across the arts and social studies throughout a child’s education.
    • Addressing 21st Century Themes and Skills via the Essential Standards, Clarifying Objectives, and/or Assessment Prototypes. 

    21st Century Skills

    Specifically, the following 21st century skills are taught as an inherent part of each of the arts education disciplines:

      • Thinking and working creatively (creating, elaborating on, refining, and evaluating original ideas; implementing originality and inventiveness; and demonstrating openness and responsiveness to new and diverse perspectives);
      • Implementing innovations and acting on creative ideas;
      • Reasoning, making judgments and decisions, and solving problems in both conventional and innovative ways;
      • Communicating in a variety of forms and contexts and for a range of purposes;
      • Collaborating effectively, respectfully, and flexibly with diverse teams to accomplish a goal; assuming shared responsibility and valuing contributions of each team member;
      • Accessing, evaluating, using, and managing information from a variety of sources with an understanding of ethical/legal issues;
      • Understanding media messages, influences, creation, interpretations, and purposes;
      • Applying technology tools effectively to research, organize, evaluate, access, manage, integrate, evaluate, create, and communicate information;
      • Applying life and career skills, including flexibility and adaptability; initiative and self-direction; social and cross-cultural skills; productivity and accountability; and leadership and responsibility.

    Course of Study

    The intent of the Arts Education Essential Standards, along with the National Standards for Arts Education, is that a comprehensive understanding of one or more of the arts be accomplished by each student throughout the K-12 program.  Students at the high school level will have the option of studying an individual arts discipline as an area of interest, or specializing and/or completing a concentration in studies to prepare them for further education and/or a career in the arts. Students should know and be able to do the following by the time they have completed secondary school: 

    • communicate at a basic level in the four arts disciplines: dance, music, theatre arts, and visual arts. This includes knowledge and skills in the use of the basic vocabularies, materials, tools, techniques, and intellectual methods of each arts discipline;
    • communicate proficiently in at least one art form, including the ability to define and solve artistic problems with insight, reason, and technical proficiency;
    • develop and present basic analyses of works of art from structural, historical, and cultural perspectives. This includes the ability to understand and evaluate work in the various arts disciplines;
    • recognize and appreciate exemplary works of art from a variety of cultures and historical periods, and have a basic understanding of historical development in the arts disciplines, across the arts as a whole, and within cultures; and,
    • relate various arts concepts, skills, and processes within and across disciplines,  which includes understanding the arts in relation to other subject areas and making connections in a variety of settings, in and outside of school.