Friday, June 19, 2009

THE NATION’S REPORT CARD: Music & Visual Arts Education


Statement from U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan on Results of NAEP Arts 2008 Assessment

June 15, 2009

Contact: David Thomas, Justin Hamilton
(202) 401-1576

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan released the following statement today regarding results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) Arts 2008 assessment of Music and Visual Arts at Grade 8:

These results are important for several reasons. First, they remind us that the arts are a core academic subject and part of a complete education for all students. The arts are also important to American students gaining the 21st century skills they will need to succeed in higher education and the global marketplace – skills that increasingly demand creativity, perseverance, and problem solving combined with performing well as part of a team.

The results also remind us that learning in the arts can and should be rigorous and based on high standards, and that it can be evaluated objectively, using well-designed measures.

This Arts Report Card should challenge all of us to make K-12 arts programs more available to America’s children and youth. Such programs not only engage students’ creativity and academic commitment today, but they uniquely equip them for future success and fulfillment. We can and should do better for America’s students.

clip_image002Executive Summary

Racial/ethnic and gender gaps evident in both music and visual arts

Frequency of arts instruction remains steady

More students writing down music and writing about their artwork in arts classes

This report presents the results of the 2008 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in the arts, which was given to a nationally representative sample of 7,900 eighth-grade public and private school students. Approximately one-half of these students were assessed in music, and the other half were assessed in visual arts.

Examples of What Students Know and Can Do in the Arts


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 the music's style

20% were able to identify the name of a piano dynamic marking and explain its meaning


Visual Arts

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 the 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

Download sections of the report (or the complete report) in a PDF file for viewing and printing:

NCES 2009-488 Ordering information

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