AEP has compiled a list of Frequently Asked Questions to help users better understand the development, purpose, and scope of ArtScan. The FAQs below address many common questions and clarifications about ArtScan and the policies it contains.
Q: How was ArtScan developed?
A: In 2013, AEP merged its existing State Policy Database with ECS’ ArtScan database. AEP staff conducted a thorough search of each state’s education statutes and administrative codes to update this information for 2014.
Q: What are the sources of the information in ArtScan?
A: For the state policy information, AEP staff went directly to the primary sources in each state. Staff accessed state statutes and administrative code via each state’s relevant website.
The education indicators are selected data from the U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics’ Digest of Education Statistics: 2012.
AEP conducted a Web search for surveys of access to arts education. The sources for these surveys vary by state, but the authors and funders of each study can be found in the full survey text (available in ArtScan).
Q: How frequently is ArtScan updated?
A: ArtScan is updated on an ongoing basis to capture the most up-to-date information available. However, state governments vary widely in how frequently they refresh the content of their websites and the ease with which the information is accessible. Users are asked to notify AEP directly of any updates to state statutes or code contained in ArtScan.
Q: What are the criteria for a policy to be included in ArtScan?
A: Consistent with the original design of ArtScan, AEP used two criteria to identify policies to be included in ArtScan. Policies that do not meet both criteria are not included. The criteria are:
- The policies must specifically refer to the arts. This means that broad policies that cover all or most subjects but that do not reference the arts explicitly are not included.
- The policies must hold the weight of law. This generally refers to the system of laws and regulatory measures that are found in either state statute or administrative regulations/code.
Q: What does “policy” mean?
A: For the purposes of ArtScan, policy refers to the system of laws and regulatory measures that pertain to arts education. ArtScan only includes policies that hold the weight of law and that explicitly refer to the arts. Broad policies that refer to all or most subjects are not included in ArtScan.
Q: What does “not found in statute or code” mean?
A: The “not found in statute or code” language means that AEP was unable to find policies that refer to the arts in a particular area. This is not meant to be a value judgment on a state’s arts education programs, but simply reflects that there is no explicit policy in statute or administrative code.
Q: How are the policy areas in ArtScan defined?
- Arts as a Core Academic Subject – State defines the arts in statute or code as a core or academic subject.
- Early Childhood Arts Education Standards – State adopted early childhood or pre-kindergarten content or performance standards for any or all disciplines of arts education.
- Elementary and Secondary Arts Education Standards – State adopted elementary and secondary content or performance standards for any or all disciplines of arts education.
- Arts Education Instructional Requirement—Elementary School – State requires school districts or schools to provide or offer arts instruction in one or more arts disciplines at the elementary school level.
- Arts Education Instructional Requirement—Middle School – State requires school districts or schools to provide or offer arts instruction in one or more arts disciplines at the middle school level.
- Arts Education Instructional Requirement—High School – State requires school districts or schools to provide or offer arts instruction in one or more arts disciplines at the high school level.
- Arts Requirements for High School Graduation – State requires course credits in the arts for high school graduation.
- Arts Alternatives for High School Graduation – State does not require course credits in the arts for high school graduation but may include arts courses (among other options) as an alternative requirement.
- Arts Education Assessment Requirements – State requires state, district, or school-level assessment of student learning in the arts.
- Arts Education Requirements for State Accreditation – State specifies arts education as a requirement for schools to be accredited.
- Licensure Requirements for Non-Arts Teachers – State specifies arts requirements for initial licensure or certification of non-arts teachers.
- Licensure Requirements for Arts Teachers – State specifies requirements for endorsement, initial licensure, or certification of arts teachers or arts specialists in one or more arts disciplines.
- State Arts Education Grant Program or School for the Arts – State provides funding for an arts education grant program or a state-funded school for the arts.
Q: What is a “core academic subject”?
A: The definition of core academic subject requires that the state’s policy explicitly uses terms such as “core”, “academic”, “essential”, or “foundational” when referring to the arts.
Q: What is the difference between high school instructional requirements and high school graduation requirements?
A: While these areas are similar, they are approached differently in policy and have different implications. If a state has a high school instructional requirement in the arts, this means that schools must offer arts instruction but does not require that students receive it. An arts requirement for high school graduation means that students must complete a specified number of credits in the arts in order to graduate.
Q: What is an “arts alternative for high school graduation”?
A: States that have arts alternatives as graduation requirements are those that identify specific course/credit requirements that can be fulfilled by a closed set of disciplinary options, at least one of which is the arts. For example, a state might require students earn a credit that can be satisfied by classes in either the arts or career and technical education (CTE).
Q: Is the number of policies that a state has in place an accurate measure of a state’s commitment to arts education?
A: Not necessarily. Some states have historic or constitutional commitments that allow local school districts to exercise control over decisions for such areas as instruction, curricula, assessments, accountability, and graduation requirements. Additionally, some states may undertake substantive initiatives in particular policy areas without legal mandates to do so. Education policy is best understood in terms of the multiple factors that influence its adoption and interpretation, including a state’s particular political, economic, historic and social context.
Q: Who should I contact if I have questions about my state’s arts education policies?
A: Please direct these inquiries to your state’s department of education. A listing of the arts education representatives in state education agencies is available from the State Education Agency Directors of Arts Education (SEADAE).
Q: Who should I contact if I have questions about ArtScan?
A: If you have questions about ArtScan or information about new policies in your state, please contact Scott Jones, AEP’s Senior Associate for Research and Policy, at firstname.lastname@example.org.