Press Release: P21 and Arts Associations Release 21st Century Skills Map

Contact: Albert Lang (202) 585-0243 (w); (202) 207-8510 (c);

Core Subject Map Provides First-of-their-kind Classroom Examples of Integrating the Four Cs into Arts Courses

P21 Collaborates with the Leading Art, Dance, Music, Theatre and Visual Arts Associations to Create 21st Century Skills Map

WASHINGTON — July 15, 2010—The 21st Century Skills Map for the Arts demonstrates how the three Rs and four Cs (critical thinking and problem solving, communication, collaboration and creativity and innovation) can be fused within arts curriculum.

The map was released at a Capitol Hill Briefing by representatives from P21, the American Alliance for Theatre & Education, the Educational Theatre Association, the National Art Education Association, MENC: The National Association for Music Education, the National Dance Association, and the National Dance Education Organization. Watch video from the briefing.

The map provides educator-created examples of how art subjects (dance, music, theatre, and visual and media arts) can be fused with skills to create engaging learning experiences that promote 21st century knowledge and skill acquisition.

Kathy Hurley, senior vice president of strategic partnerships for the education services and technology company Pearson and P21 executive board and strategic council chair, said, “I commend America’s leading arts education professional associations for joining forces to create a tool that illustrates how the four Cs can be fused with arts education. This new document, P21’s fifth core content map, provides practical examples that educators can model as they work to ensure 21st century readiness for every student.”

In addition to aligning teaching and learning to the demands of today’s world, the map cites specific student outcomes and provides project examples for grades four, eight and 12.

For example, at the fourth-grade level, students could be asked to perform and record the same story three times; once with words only, once with physical movement only, and once with both. They then review the different performances and reflect in group discussions and individual writing about how the presentations and story changed and whether or not one version communicated more effectively than another and why. Through this project, students engage in a creative assignment that requires them to build a diverse set of communication skills.

At the eighth-grade level, students could be asked to examine how composers, artists, choreographers, and playwrights use the arts to communicate particular ideas, themes, or concepts and to evoke particular emotions or feelings. They then would develop multimedia presentations illustrating how such communication occurs through each of the arts disciplines.

In twelfth grade, students could be asked to view and discuss single or multiple works of art created by themselves and their peers. Students would be required to use mutually agreed upon criteria (elements and principals of art and design, subject matter, technique, style, etc.) to describe, analyze, interpret, and make informed judgments about the art works.

“The 21st Century Skills Map for the Arts, which includes examples that reflect classroom practice, represents a major achievement in showing how core subjects, such as the arts, can be fused with the four Cs,” said Michael Blakeslee, senior deputy executive director, MENC: The National Association for Music Education. “The examples in this map illustrate how the arts promote habits that cultivate curiosity, imagination, creativity and evaluation skills, as well as all the essential skills that students need to be successful in today’s world. This document demonstrates that the arts are among society’s most compelling and effective paths for ensuring 21st century readiness for every student.”

The 21st Century Skills Map for the Arts is the fifth in a series of core content maps designed for educators, administrators and policy-makers. All of the Partnership’s resources are freely available at

About the Partnership for 21st Century Skills: P21 is a national organization that advocates for 21st century readiness for every student. As the United States continues to compete in a global economy that demands innovation, P21 and its members provide tools and resources to help the U.S. education system keep up by fusing the three Rs and four Cs (critical thinking and problem solving, communication, collaboration and creativity and innovation). While leading districts and schools are already doing this, P21 advocates for local, state and federal policies that support this approach for every school.

21st Century Skills Leadership States include: Arizona, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin and West Virginia.

Member organizations include: Adobe Systems, Inc., American Association of School Librarians, Apple, ASCD, Blackboard, Inc., Cable in the Classroom, Crayola, Cisco Systems, Inc., Dell, Inc., EF Education, Education Networks of America, Educational Testing Service, Gale, Cengage Learning, Hewlett Packard, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Intel Corporation, JA Worldwide, K12, KnowledgeWorks Foundation, LEGO Group, Lenovo, Learning Point Associates, Leadership and Learning Center, McGraw-Hill, Measured Progress, Microsoft Corporation, National Education Association, National Academy Foundation, Nellie Mae Education Foundation, netTrekker, Oracle Education Foundation, Pearson, Project Management Institute Educational Foundation, Quarasan!, Scholastic Education, Sesame Workshop, Sun Microsystems, Inc., The Walt Disney Company, and Verizon. Organizations or states interested in joining the Partnership may contact