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Arts Model Competencies

New Hampshire Arts Model Competencies are one in the set of state competencies that establish key learning outcomes for driving education reform in the state. The New Hampshire education redesign effort has spanned a number of years, beginning in 2004 with an extensive review of current practice and hoped-for reform; however, New Hampshire’s work with competencies goes back to 1997 with the development and implementation of New Hampshire's Competency Based Assessment System (CBAS).

The department’s current innovative work focuses on educational transformation (New Hampshire's Story of Transformation) on a larger scale whereas competency-based education is fundamental to the shifts in the delivery and design of education for all New Hampshire students. Central to educational reform in New Hampshire is preparing students for college and career. In 2015, the New Hampshire State Board of Education adopted the New Hampshire Arts Model Graduation Competencies as one resource in a set of content-specific state model competencies for purposes of supporting and promoting positive change and improved student outcomes which, therefore, will better prepare students for success during and beyond high school.

The New Hampshire Arts Model Competencies were created by a committee of state experts in dance, music, theatre, and visual arts education, represented by practicing teachers and faculty members from our institutes of higher education who prepare teachers in each of the arts disciplines. The committee was facilitated by Marcia McCaffrey, Arts Consultant for the NH Department of Education. By decision of the committee, the 2014 National Core Arts Standards were used to inform the overarching goals of the arts competencies.

The New Hampshire Arts Model Competencies are centered on the four artistic processes, or competencies, of Creating, Presenting, Responding, and Connecting. These four competencies span all grade levels and apply to all arts disciplines. These competencies represent the “how” of the arts. What this looks like in each arts discipline and in every arts-based classroom and school-based arts studio around our state is determined at the local level. The National Core Arts Standards, which may be used as a resource at the local level, provides one view of how these competencies scaffold grade by grade and are expressed in the individual arts disciplines of dance, media arts, music, theatre, and visual arts.

It is reasonable to consider these “graduation” competencies as overall PK-12 competencies; Preparing students to graduate from high school does not begin in grade nine. Getting students ready to graduate from high school and be college and/or career ready begins as soon as the young learner enters education, not exits. Therefore, these Arts Model Competencies are for all students and teachers along the educational continuum.

These competencies set-forth demonstrations of learning that translate seamlessly to authentic applied learning, such as project-based, inquiry-based, and performance–based assessment tasks. Since the release of the competencies in 2015, the New Hampshire arts education community has been building model tasks for assessing student learning in the arts that are aligned to the state Arts Competencies. The discipline specific performance standards from the National Core Arts Standards (NCAS) and the eleven NCAS anchor standards provide more specific goals and expectations for student learning in individual arts disciplines (dance, media arts, music, theatre, and visual arts). These two sources, the NH Arts Competencies and the National Core Arts Standards, are the primary documents for arts education in the state at this time.

In 2016, the New Hampshire Department of Education formed an Arts PACE (Performance Assessment for Competency-based Education) committee to create model tasks in visual art and music aligned to the NH Arts Competencies. These tasks are under construction and being piloted in PACE classrooms around the state. As the work proceeds, information will be added to this webpage.

The New Hampshire Department of Education gratefully acknowledges our partnership with the Michigan Arts Education Instruction and Assessment (MAEIA) group, a project of the Michigan Assessment Consortium, the Michigan Department of Education, and Data Recognition Corporation. MAEIA was developed to support Michigan school districts, school buildings, educators, and the public in implementing high quality arts education programs through program improvement and promoting student learning. Both states are working collaboratively to develop quality performance tasks in the arts.

MI Arts Education Instruction and Assessment Logo


What about the 2001 New Hampshire Curriculum Framework for the Arts?

The 2001 New Hampshire Curriculum Framework for the Arts is still the state’s official document for grade span standards in dance, music, theatre, and visual arts. Local schools and districts may use this document as a resource in the local curricular and programmatic design. However, since the 2001 state standards are based on the 1994 National Standards for Arts Education, this work is less relevant today than it was when first released. Furthermore, with the 2014update of the Minimum Standards for Public School Approval, Ed 306.311 (Arts Education) is aligned with the New Hampshire Model Arts Competencies.

Local schools and districts have the leeway to make important decisions related to curriculum and content delivery. If schools wish to align curricula to the 2001 framework, they may. Keep in mind that Ed 306, Minimum Standards for Public School Approval, provides additional rules that schools are expected to meet when designing programs and curricula.

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New Hampshire Department of Education
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Telephone: (603) 271-3494 | TDD Access: Relay NH 711