The College Board Releases a New Study on Common Core and Arts Standards Alignment

In 2012, members of the National Coalition for Core Arts Standards (NCCAS) writing groups met at the National Association for Music Education Education in Reston, Virginia.



The College Board, in partnership with the National Coalition for Core Arts Standards (NCCAS), has released a new research report that details the alignment between the 2010 Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts (ELA) and Math and the National Core Arts Standards currently being written.

The Arts and the Common Core: A Review of Connections Between the Common Core State Standards and the National Core Arts Standards Conceptual Framework analyzes parallels between the ELA and Math Standards and the foundations of artistic literacy outlined in the National Core Arts Standards: A Conceptual Framework for Arts Learning, the NCCAS document guiding the work of the writing teams. The Common Core report was prepared by Amy Charleroy, the Associate Director for the College Board’s Office of Academic Initiatives.

The College Board, an NCCAS partner, has conducted several research projects for the coalition, under the leadership of the Office of Academic Initiative’s Senior Director, Dr. Nancy Rubino. All of the reports are available on the NCCAS web page

NCCAS is a coalition of nine national arts and education organizations committed to developing a next generation of voluntary, researched-based arts education standards that will build on the foundation created by the 1994 standards (and the 2005 Standards for Learning and Teaching Dance in the Arts), support the 21st-century needs of students and teachers, help ensure that all students are college and career ready, and affirm the place of arts education in a balanced core curriculum.

Michael Blakeslee, deputy executive director and chief operating officer of the National Assocation for Music Education (NAfME), said NAfME staff and NAfME members have worked closely with NCCAS throughout the standards writing process for National Core Arts Standards.

The Standards are sheduled to be ready for review early this summer.

“The College Board has demonstrated its principled commitment to make the arts central to American education,” said David Coleman, President and Chief Operating Officer of The College Board. “I think the Common Core Standards are an extraordinary platform to build core arts standards on. They offer a huge opportunity to the arts community. I would say pay attention to them and to their specifics.”

The Arts and the Common Core report is divided into two parts. Part one is a content-based alignment study that focuses on arts-based examples and references already present in the Common Core ELA standards. Part two investigates areas of overlap between skills and habits emphasized in the Common Core Standards and those outlined in NCCAS’s Conceptual Framework.

In part one, the research looks at all four groups of the ELA College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards and their corresponding grade-level standards, analyzing the function of specific references to the arts in these standards across the disciplines of dance, media arts, music, theatre, and visual arts. For example, among the 220 Reading standards reviewed, the study found that 50 utilize arts-based content as a tool for strengthening analysis and observation skills.

Part two clarifies the elements of the Common Core Standards that reference the same broad goals and thinking skills (such as the Conceptual Framework’s Creative Practices of imagining, constructing, investigating, and reflecting) that are shaping the development of the National Core Arts Standards.

The College Board study includes a series of tables that compare the NCCAS framework’s Philosophical Foundations, Lifelong Goals, and Creative Practices, analyzing connections to the Common Core’s Anchor Standards in reading, writing, speaking and listening, and language, and the eight Standards for Mathematical Practice. Findings indicate that the Philosophical Foundation/Lifelong Goal “The Arts as Communication” connected strongly to the language and goals of most ELA and Math standards. The eight Standards for Mathematical Practice also exhibited consistent and strong alignment with the framework’s four Creative Practices.

Learn more about the College Board’s arts education initiatives.


View all the public documents of the National Core Arts Standards.  

NAfME’s Standards Overview

Roz Fehr, NAfME managing editor for news, February 21, 2013. © National Association for Music Education (