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Dance and Dance Education Standards for College and Career Readiness

This is an excerpt from Introduction to Physical Education, Fitness, and Sport-9th Edition by Daryl L. Siedentop & Hans van der Mars.

By Gayle Kassing, PhD

The U.S. Department of Education promotes college or career readiness through state-developed programs and standards. The goal is to prepare America’s students to compete in a world that demands more than just basic skills. A number of educational organizations focus on learning attributes specific to 21st-century skills for the workplace and with the expectation that students will become multiliterate and lifelong learners. These models include academic knowledge, skills, and socioemotional behaviors needed for the transition to college or career and career-specific knowledge and skills (King, 2013). Also, college and career readiness and U.S. educational initiatives such as the No Child Left Behind Act and Every Student Succeeds Act were some of the drivers behind the development of national and state dance standards.

National and State Dance Standards

As a general curriculum framework for dance, national dance standards provide guidelines for what students in dance should be able to do, study, and achieve. National, state, and district standards then provide teachers with kindergarten through grade 12 curriculum frameworks for student learning. Dance standards might be included as one of the art forms of arts education, or they might be embedded in another discipline’s standards, such as physical education. Standards can come from an organization, such as a dance education and advocacy organization, and support the organization’s mission or represent a broader vision of dance education, which can integrate into multiple disciplines within the school curriculum. Understanding dance standards is important for students preparing to teach in kindergarten through grade 12 and for school administrators who have little or no background in dance education as a discipline with standards.

Dance in Physical Education Standards

In 1995 and 2004 the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD) developed National Physical Education Standards that included dance. AAHPERD initiated a third edition of National Standards for kindergarten through grade 12 physical education, but in 2013 the organization restructured itself and changed its name to the Society of Health and Physical Educators, or SHAPE America. In 2014 SHAPE America published the third edition of National Standards & Grade-Level Outcomes for Kindergarten Through Grade 12 Physical Education (SHAPE America, 2014a, 2014b). These standards and outcomes were the product of current literature and research in physical education for a lifetime physical activity approach. They are designed around the goal that the physically literate person has the knowledge, skills, and confidence for the enjoyment of a lifetime of healthful physical activity (SHAPE America, 2014a). Individuals with physical literacy “move with competence in a wide variety of physical activities that benefit the development of the whole person” (Mandigo et al., 2009, p. 28).

The five national physical education standards (and the related grade-level outcomes) include dance activities described as, but not limited to, creative movement or dance, ballet, modern, ethnic or folk, hip-hop, Latin, line, ballroom, social, and square dance (SHAPE America, 2014a, 2014b). In kindergarten through grade 5, the focus is acquisition of motor skills and movement patterns. Middle school and high school grade-level outcomes cover extended rhythmic and movement patterns of dance forms, such as folk, social, creative, line, or world dance.

Dance Standards Within Fine Arts Education

In 1994 the Consortium of National Arts Education Associations (NAEA) developed arts standards for dance, music, theater, and visual arts. These first national standards for dance outlined cumulative skills and knowledge expected of students engaging in dance learning. The original dance standards set the stage for future ones initiated by national organizations that provide different points of view on dance education. The National Dance Education Organization (NDEO) positioned dance as a core art standard. Another organization, the National Coalition for Core Arts Standards (NCCAS)—made up of arts education associations and organizations—wrote A Conceptual Framework for Arts Learning (SEADAE, 2014). Released in 2014, the NCCAS standards for dance indicate the goal for the standards is dance literacy using a creative, inquiry-based approach to learning (NDEO, 2014). The NDEO and NCCAS characterize literacy in the arts as students demonstrating fluency and deep understanding of a particular arts discipline (NDEO, 2014).

Dance in Broad Perspectives

The National Dance Society (NDS) emerged in 2014 and views dance as a performing art, a component of physical education and physical activity, and a recreation and leisure pursuit for anyone as a lifetime activity. The mission and vision of the NDS is dance for all as a lifelong activity. The NDS’s National Dance Education Standards Framework, published in 2019, employs dance content knowledge and dance and art processes. An important foundation of the NDS National Dance Education Standards Framework is the inclusion of 21st-century skills and the five tenets of the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) model (see chapter 4). The WSCC model supports “collaboration between education and health to improve each child’s cognitive, physical, social and emotional development . . . for improving students’ learning and health in our nation’s schools” (ASCD, 2018). The Association for Supervision and Curriculum Develop­ment (ASCD) and CDC list the five tenets of the WSCC model as challenged, supported, engaged, safe, and healthy (ASCD, 2018).

The NDS National Dance Education Standards Framework is intended to guide and support educators in physical education and fine arts who provide dance education to students in various settings (e.g., preschools, schools, senior citizen facilities, community dance studios). It also identifies the skills and knowledge to be obtained by students as they move through their education in the arts.

More Excerpts From Introduction to Physical Education



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