State Standards

On January 11, 2003, the State Board of Education approved the PA Academic Standards for the Arts and Humanities. The standards outline benchmarks, or skills, that every student should have by the end of grades 3, 5, 8 and 12. The standards in Pennsylvania are arranged in 4 sections:

9.1 Production, Performance and Exhibition of Dance, Music, Theatre and Visual Arts
9.2 Historical and Cultural Contexts
9.3 Critical Response
9.4 Aesthetic Response

Download the PA Arts and Humanities standards here.

Also, assessment anchors currently exist for language arts, math, science & technology, and environment & ecology. The anchors can be found here.

National Standards

National standards were developed in dance, music, theatre and the visual arts. The standards outline what every K-12 student should know and be able to do in the arts. They were developed by the Consortium of National Arts Education Associations, through a grant administered by The National Association for Music Education (MENC).

Lessons aligned with the national standards are available at the Kennedy Center's ArtsEdge website.

What does Chapter 4 of the PA Code say about the standards?

§ 4.12 Academic Standards

(a) School entities may develop, expand or improve existing academic standards in the following content areas:
(4) Arts and humanities. Study of dance, theatre, music, visual arts, language and literature including forms of expression, historical and cultural context, critical and aesthetic judgment and production, performance or exhibition of work.
(b) In designing educational programs, school entities shall provide for the attainment of the academic standards under subsections (a) and (c) and any additional academic standards that they describe in their strategic plans under § 4.13(c) (relating to strategic plans). Attaining the academic standards in this section requires students to demonstrate the acquisition and application of knowledge.
(d) A school entity’s curriculum shall be designed to provide students with planned instruction needed to attain these academic standards.

(e) School entities shall apply academic standards for students in all areas described under subsections (a) and (c). The local assessment plan under § 4.52 (relating to local assessment system) must include a description of how the academic standards will be measured and how information from the assessments is used to assist students having difficulty meeting the academic standards.
(h) School entities are responsible under subsections (a), (c) and (g), and § 4.13(c)(5) for assessing individual student attainment of academic standards and for assisting those students having difficulty attaining them. Upon request by a school entity, the Department will provide the requestor with technical assistance in the development of academic standards and assessments that are sufficient to assure that students are making progress toward the attainment of standards required for high school graduation under subsection (f) and those identified in the strategic plan under § 4.13(c)(3).