On February 16, 2016, the State Board of Education adopted the  National Core Arts Standards (NCAS) as Vermont’s new arts learning standards. NCAS will replace the Vermont Fine Arts Grade Expectations beginning in the 2017-2018 school year. NCAS were the result of three years of educator-led research and development. They are the first revision to the national arts standards in twenty years.

The standards include Dance, Music, Theater, Visual Arts and Media Arts. The NCAS are structured under an umbrella of 21st Century or Transferable Skills. The goal of NCAS is to cultivate creative and practical problem-solving skills, and inquiry skills. ELA and Math Common Core Standards can integrate with the Arts to provide meaningful learning experiences for Vermont’s students.


Information on the Structure of NCAS

Coding of the National Arts Standards: The Arts disciplines are unified by common Artistic Processes and Anchor Standards. Performance Standards, Enduring Understandings, and Essential Questions help to inform teaching grade-by-grade. For more information on NCAS please visit the National Coalition for Core Arts Standards.

Performance Tasks

NCAS has listed Model Cornerstone Assessments for grades 2, 5, 8, and at three levels in high school. The assessments:

  • Integrate into the curriculum (as opposed to externally imposed);
  • Recur over the grades, becoming more sophisticated over time;
  • Establish authentic contexts for performance;
  • Assess understanding and transfer via genuine performance;
  • Integrate 21st-century skills (e.g., critical thinking, technology use, teamwork) with subject area content;
  • Evaluate performance with established rubrics;
  • Engage students in meaningful learning while encouraging the best teaching; and
  • Provide content for a student’s portfolio.

Adapted from Cornerstone Tasks by Jay McTighe & Grant Wiggins.


Email Emily Titterton, or call (802) 479-1378.

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Vermont Agency of Education
Secretary Rebecca Holcombe
219 North Main Street, Suite 402
Barre, VT 05641

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