The standards are organized by the benchmark years of 4th grade (9-10 years), 8th grade (13-14 years), and 12th grade (17-18 years). Under each benchmark, the standards outline what students in that age group should know and be able to do in the art of dance in the arts-making processes of Performing, Creating, Responding, and Interconnecting. Although the benchmarks only define expectation of achievement at these benchmark years, it is expected that student achievement will develop in a graduated sequence from one benchmark to the next throughout the progressive four-year interval. Content and Achievement Standards are defined for each benchmark under the appropriate arts-making process.
The content standards outline the breadth of the dance experience, covering a wide perspective that encompasses a full artistic range. The Content Standards outlined in this document are aligned with the Standards for Dance in Early Childhood developed by the National Dance Education Organization.
The Achievement Standards outline what students ages five through eighteen should know and be able to do under each of the content standards. They become progressively more advanced according to the maturity and abilities of each age group. The Achievement Standards are not meant to set standardization levels. Instead, they represent an average level of learning expectancy for each benchmark age level. They are meant to help teachers understand a graduated sequence of movement development that most students progress through from five through eighteen years. The exact age at which a student reaches each level will vary.
In the document Standards for Learning and Teaching Dance in the Arts: Ages 5-18, the standards are presented in several different formats to address a variety of needs. The standards are first presented as an outline listing content and achievement standards under each benchmark age. They are next presented in a progressive chart for quick reference. Thirdly, they are listed in rubric format for assessment purposes, and finally, they are written in reading levels of 4th grade, 8th grade, and 12th grade so that students can use the standards to support their own learning and development.
The language used in the standards and the organization of movement into the elements of time (rhythm), space (pathways, levels, shape, design), and energy (force, weight, effort, flow), are based upon a foundation of movement analysis that is widely accepted by the dance and arts communities. It provides a common vocabulary with which to describe and analyze movement and its relationship to artistic meaning and structure in all dance styles and genres, and it is meant to be used with a wide lens in order to accommodate a variety of movement perspectives.
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