Arts education in Vermont is currently centered on the new Arts Grade Cluster Expectation (GCEs). Arts GCEs are organized by the four art forms; art, dance, music and theater. Like the Grade Level Expectations in other content areas, the Arts Grade Cluster Expectations are more specific statements of the Vermont standards in Vermont Framework of Standards & Learning Opportunities. However, unlike the Grade Level Expectations which delineate specific grade levels, these grade expectations are organized by Grade Clusters (pre-K and K; 1 and 2, 3 and 4; 5 and 6; 7 and 8; and high school). The purpose of using grade clusters is to provide additional flexibility for alignment of local curriculum and local comprehensive assessment systems.

Grade Expectations

A grade expectation (GE) is a stated objective that relates directly to a Vermont standard and associated evidences. A GE differentiates performance on content knowledge or skills between adjacent grade levels and describe clearly what students will do to show that they understand a designated concept. As a set, GEs should lead to focused, coherent, and developmentally appropriate instruction without narrowing the curriculum and can be used for local curriculum and assessment development.

The GEs also are offered in the following formats:

National Core Arts Standards

The Agency of Education is currently reviewing the National Core Arts Standards (NCAS) as an alternative to Vermont’s Arts GEs.  The NCAS provide grade-specific content standards in Dance, Music, Theater, Visual Arts, and Media Arts, and emphasize the connection between those standards and the development of transferable skills (i.e. problem solving, communication, collaboration, etc.). 

The AOE intends to bring the NCAS before the State Board of Education for consideration within the 2015-16 school year. The process leading up to presenting this proposal will include collecting substantive input from the field, in collaboration with Vermont’s arts education community. Updates will be posted to this site as the work unfolds; if you have any questions, please contact Chris Case at or (802) 479-1179.

Page Last Updated on September 16, 2015