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The Standards for Learning and Teaching Dance in the Arts: Ages 5-18 serve as a guide for dance teachers, artists, administrators, and students for the benchmark years of 4th grade (9-10 years), 8th grade (13-14 years), and 12th grade (17-18 years). They outline what students should know and be able to do in the art of dance in the arts-making processes of Performing, Creating, Responding, and Interconnecting dance to life and other disciplines.
The standards are outlined in the benchmark ages, arranged in a progressive chart, listed in a rubric for assessment purposes, and written in reading levels of 4th, 8th, and 12th graders so that students can use the standards for their own learning and development. For more information, see How the Standards are Organized.
The Standards for Learning and Teaching Dance in the Arts: Ages 5-18 are founded on fundamental beliefs regarding the role dance can and should play in the education of youth ages 5-18. These standards uphold the vision that all youths have a right to enjoy quality dance education taught by a qualified dance educator in a graduated and sequential curriculum and that they will receive numerous benefits from doing so. To learn more about the beliefs that shaped these standards, select the Philosophy.
In August 2011, The College Board produced a report for the National Coalition for Core Arts Standards (NCCAS) as a resource to understand the manner in which the 1994 Standards for Arts Education aligned with the thirteen skills outlined in the 21st Century Skills Map released by the Partnership for 21st Century Skills. In coordination with the other arts of Music, Theatre, and Visual Arts, it reviewed the standards for dance included in the 1994 document to provide an informed resource to aid in the development of a new generation of Core Arts Standards. NDEO analyzed our 2005 Standards for Learning and Teaching Dance in the Arts to the 21st Century Skills. The goal is to learn where the standards share similarities with the 21st Century Skills and where ideas diverge. To read the full introduction to the gap analysis, click here. To download the full gap analysis, click here.
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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Photos Credits from Top: Scott Swanson. Courtesy of Anne Arundel County Public Schools; Rose Eichenbaum