Posted on 01/15/2010 at 07:36 AM by Global Reach

Just released was the 2008 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in the arts, which is given to a nationally representative sample of 7,900 eight grade students in public and private schools.  Over half of these were assessed in music, and the other half were assed in visual arts. 

The Music portion of the assessment measured students' ability to respond to music in various ways.  Students were asked to analyze and describe aspects of music they heard, critique instrumental and vocal performances, and demonstrate their knowledge of standard musical notation and music's role in society.  The average score on the NAEP scale of 0 to 300. Scores ranged from 105 for the lowest performing students to 194 for the highest performing students.

The Visual arts portion of the assessment included questions that measured students' ability to respond to art as well as questions that measured their ability to create art.  Responding questions asked students to analyze and describe works of art and design.  The average responding score for visual arts was reported on the NAEP scale of 0 to 300 with scores ranging from 104 for the lowest performing students to 193 for the highest performing students. 

What does this mean for Arts Educators?  We must continue to support and provide input to school boards, communities, school administration, local, state and federal legislators on the importance of the Arts in the public and private schools throughout the United States.  Students that are involved in Arts programs are more apt to score better on standardized test and a higher rate of success in school.  

Examples of what students know and can do in the arts are as follows:  

(Music) 71% correctly identified a symphony orchestra as the type of ensemble that played a piece of music.    52% were able to identify Africa as the region of origin for a musical excerpt and could describe a characteristic of music's style.   20% were able to identify the name of a piano dynamic marking and explain its meaning.

(Visual Art)  53% were able to describe specific differences in how certain parts of an artist's self portrait were drawn.  34% were able to describe two characteristics of medium of charcoal as used in an artist's self portrait.  19% were able to connect the formal characteristics of an artist’s self portrait with what the artist was trying to communicate.

The report has useful information as well as sample questions used in the U.S. Department of Education study.   To view the report the link is:



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