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National Visual Arts Standards
Grades 5 - 8

Except as noted,the standards in this section describe the cumulative skills and knowledge expected of all students upon exiting grade 8. Students in grades 5-7 should engage in developmentally appropriate learning experiences to prepare them to achieve these standards at grade 8. These standards presume that the students have achieved the standards specified for grades K-4; they assume that the students will demonstrate higher levels of the expected skills and knowledge, will deal with increasingly complex art works, and will provide more sophisticated responses to works of art. Determining the curriculum and the specific instructional activities necessary to achieve the standards is the responsibility of states, local school districts, and individual teachers.

Students in grades 5-8 continue to need a framework that aids them in learning the characteristics of the visual arts by using a wide range of subject matter, symbols, meaningful images, and visual expressions. They grow ever more sophisticated in their need to use the visual arts to reflect their feelings and emotions and in their abilities to evaluate the merits of their efforts. These standards provide that framework in a way that promotes the students' thinking, working, communicating, reasoning, and investigating skills and provides for their growing familiarity with the ideas, concepts, issues, dilemmas, and knowledge important in the visual arts. As students gain this knowledge and these skills, they gain in their ability to apply the knowledge and skills in the visual arts to their widening personal worlds.

These standards present educational goals. It is the responsibility of practitioners to choose among the array of possibilities offered by the visual arts to accomplish specific educational objectives in specific circumstances. The visual arts offer the richness of drawing and painting, sculpture, and design; architecture, film, and video; and folk arts--all of these can be used to help students achieve the standards. For example, students could create works in the medium of videotape, engage in historical and cultural investigations of the medium, and take part in analyzing works of art produced on videotape. The visual arts also involve varied tools, techniques, and processes--all of which can play a role in students' achieving the standards, as well.

To meet the standards, students must learn vocabularies and concepts associated with various types of work in the visual arts. As they develop increasing fluency in visual, oral, and written communication, they must exhibit their greater artistic competence through all of these avenues.

In grades 5-8, students' visual expressions become more individualistic and imaginative. The problem-solving activities inherent in art making help them develop cognitive, affective, and psychomotor skills. They select and transform ideas, discriminate, synthesize and appraise, and they apply these skills to their expanding knowledge of the visual arts and to their own creative work. Students understand that making and responding to works of visual art are inextricably interwoven and that perception, analysis, and critical judgment are inherent to both.

Their own art making becomes infused with a variety of images and approaches. They learn that preferences of others may differ from their own. Students refine the questions that they ask in response to artworks. This leads them to an appreciation of multiple artistic solutions and interpretations. Study of historical and cultural contexts gives students insights into the role played by the visual arts in human achievement. As they consider examples of visual art works within historical contexts, students gain a deeper appreciation of their own values, of the values of other people, and the connection of the visual arts to universal human needs, values, and beliefs. They understand that the art of a culture is influenced by aesthetic ideas as well as by social, political, economic, and other factors. Through these efforts, students develop an understanding of the meaning and importance of the visual world in which they live.

1. CONTENTS STANDARD:
Understanding and applying media, techniques, and processes

ACHIEVEMENT STANDARDS: STUDENTS

a. select media, techniques, and processes; analyze what makes them effective or not effective in communicating ideas; and reflect upon the effectiveness of their choices
b. intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and processes to enhance

2. CONTENTS STANDARD:
Using knowledge of structures and functions
ACHIEVEMENT STANDARDS: STUDENTS
a. generalize about the effects of visual structures and functions and reflect upon these effects in their own work
b. employ organizational structures and analyze what makes them effective or not effective in the communication of ideas
c. select and use the qualities of structures and functions of art to improve communication of their ideas

3. CONTENTS STANDARD:
Choosing and evaluating a range of subject matter, symbols and ideas
ACHIEVEMENT STANDARDS: STUDENTS
a. integrate visual, spatial, and temporal concepts with content to communicate intended meaning in their artworks
b. use subjects, themes, and symbols that demonstrate knowledge of contexts, values, and aesthetics that communicate intended meaning in artworks

4. CONTENTS STANDARD:
Understanding the visual arts in relation to history and cultures
ACHIEVEMENT STANDARDS: STUDENTS
a. know and compare the characteristics of artworks in various eras and cultures
b. describe and place a variety of art objects in historical and cultural contexts
c. analyze, describe, and demonstrate how factors of time and place (such as climate, resources, ideas, and technology) influence visual characteristics that give meaning and value to a work of art

5. CONTENTS STANDARD:
Reflecting upon and assessing the characteristics and merits of their work and the work of others
ACHIEVEMENT STANDARDS: STUDENTS
a. compare multiple purposes for creating works of art
b. analyze contemporary and historic meanings in specific artworks through cultural and aesthetic inquiry
c. describe and compare a variety of individual responses to their own artworks and to artworks from various eras and cultures

6. CONTENTS STANDARD:
Making connections between visual arts and other disciplines
ACHIEVEMENT STANDARDS: STUDENTS
a. compare the characteristics of works in two or more art forms that share similar subject matter, historical periods, or cultural context
b. describe ways in which the principles and subject matter of other disciplines taught in the school are interrelated with the visual arts

GRADES K - 4

GRADES 9 - 12

WHAT ARE THE NATIONAL VISUAL ARTS STANDARDS?