National standards are a resource that will help you increase your afterschool program's effectiveness. Educational organizations in each of the four disciplines—dance, music, theatre, and visual arts—have created standards. Here is a summary of this effort, which outlines what students should know and be able to do by the time they have completed secondary school:
They should be able to communicate at a basic level in the four arts disciplines: dance, music, theatre, and the visual arts.
This includes knowledge and skills in the use of the basic vocabularies, materials, tools, techniques, and intellectual methods of each arts discipline.
They should be able to communicate proficiently in at least one art form.
This includes the ability to define and solve artistic problems with insight, reason, and technical proficiency.
They should be able to develop and present basic analyses of works of art from structural, historical, and cultural perspectives, and from combinations of those perspectives.
This includes the ability to understand and evaluate work in the various arts disciplines.
They should have an informed acquaintance with exemplary works of art from a variety of cultures and historical periods.
This includes a basic understanding of historical development in the arts disciplines, across the arts as a whole and within cultures.
They should be able to relate various types of arts knowledge and skills within and across the arts disciplines.
This includes mixing and matching competencies and understandings in art-making, history and culture, and analysis in any arts-related project.
For more information about the arts standards, see
This site has standards for all four disciplines and at all grade levels.