Common Core and the Arts

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are a state-led initiative to ensure that students leave school with the knowledge and skills required to succeed in college and in their careers. The resulting changes to the expectations of arts educators can be profound. AEP is providing this (ever-growing) selection of resources to help AEP Partner Organizations, arts educators, school leaders, and policymakers develop a better understanding of the Common Core and what the movement means for the arts.

Common Core Background Information

Common Core State Standards Initiative – The home site for the Common Core States Standards Initiative (CCSSI) provides a strong baseline of information for those interested in learning more about the Common Core. Selected resources from this site include:

Common Core State Standards 101 (August 2013) – A report from the Alliance for Excellent Education providing an overview of the Common Core State Standards and addressing misconceptions about them.

EduCore – A site providing a wide range of resources and information regarding the “history, adoption, concepts, and uses” of the Common Core State Standards.

Bringing the Common Core to Life (April 2011) – A presentation by David Coleman for the New York State Department of Education which provides an overview of Common Core and how it might be implemented within the classroom. Available here is the ability to stream or download the video, or download a transcript of the event.

Open Educational Resources Commons: Common Core – A resource site providing a wide range of resources for understanding and implementing the CCSS.

Common Core State Standards State Legislation (2012) – Daniel Thatcher of the National Council of State Legislatures has put together a shared document that details the current and past legislation concerning the Common Core.

Common Core and the Arts

Art and the Common Core (February 2013) – The powerpoint presentation from an Education Week webinar about arts integration within the Common Core, featuring Susan M. Riley and Lynne Munson, and moderated by Erik Robelen.

Guiding Principles for the Arts: Grades K-12 – Developed by David Coleman, this is a discussion on the ways in which arts education intersects with the Common Core areas.

Common Core: What are the Possibilities for the Arts? (June 2011) – A webinar hosted by Grantmakers in the Arts and conducted by Julie Fry and Richard Kessler regarding the implications of the Common Core for arts education. The presentation slides are also available separately.

The Arts and the Common Core Curriculum Mapping Project – A guide utilizing the arts in a Common Core curriculum.

Creativity, Critical Thinking, and the New Common Core State Standards (March 2012) – A symposium co-hosted by the Los Angeles Unified School District Arts Education Branch and the Museum of Contemporary Art, bringing together school leaders, teachers, and educators from arts organizations to discuss the impact of the Common Core on their work.

The Common Core State Standards and its Implications for the Arts (December 2012) – A webinar addressing many questions surrounding how the implementation of the Common Core affects the arts.

National Coalition for Core Arts Standards

NCCAS Wiki – This is a shared space for both the writing and leadership teams, as well as a place for those interested in the development of the new arts standards to stay informed on recent progress and developments. Selected resources from this site include:

International Arts Education Standards: A Survey of the Arts Education Standards and Practices of Fifteen Countries and Regions (August 2011) – The College Board produced this report detailing how countries across the world are developing arts standards. The report was created to help the NCCAS consider international benchmarks as they revise the U.S. standards

National Standards for Arts Education (1994) – A useful tool from the Kennedy Center for exploring the national arts standards proposed by the Consortium of National Arts Education Associations in 1994, and accepted by 49 states.


Implementing the Common Core State Standards: State Spotlights (August 2012) – A report from the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) providing highlights and examples from the implementation of CCSS around the country.

Implementing Common Core State Standards and Assessments: A Workbook for State and District Leaders (March 2012) – A resource including examples and exercises designed to help those charged with implementing CCSS at both the state and local levels.

Common Core State Standards: Progress and Challenges in School Districts’ Implementation (September 2011) – A report on the Common Core from the Center for Education Policy based on a survey of school districts which indicate how the standards are viewed at the district level and many of the barriers to implementation that districts are facing.


Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers – PARCC is one of two large-scale federally funded assessment initiatives developing assessments aligned with the Common Core.

PARCC Presentation at Brookings Institution (October 2010) – A presentation prepared by Kris Ellington of the Florida Department of Education regarding the upcoming implementation of the PARCC assessment.

SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium – Smarter Balanced Assessment is one of two large-scale federally funded assessment initiatives developing a new generation of assessments aligned with the Common Core.

SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium Presentation at Brookings Institution (October 2010) – A presentation prepared by Joe Willhoft, Assistant Superintendent, Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction regarding the upcoming implementation of the SMARTER Balanced Assessments.

Criticisms and Suggestions

Choosing Blindly: Instructional Materials, Teacher Effectiveness, and the Common Core (April 2012) – This report from the Brookings Institution provides a recommendation that, for the Common Core to be effective, high quality instructional materials must be developed that support those standards.

Common Core State Standards: I Wonder? (2010) – This article from Christopher Tienken in the Kappa Delta Pi Record questions the foundational assumptions on which the CCSSI bases the need for new standards.


Do you have a recommend resource to add here? This is an ever-growing list of resources for the Common Core and we welcome your suggestions. Please send suggested resources to Scott Jones at