NAEP American Arts Education Report Released

The National Center for Educational Statistics (U.S. Department of Education, Institute for Education Sciences) has just released its report “The Nation’s Report Card” National Assessment of Educational Progress, Arts 2008. It has been a decade since its last assessment of the state of arts education in American schools.

While this report contains some interesting findings, it seems important to keep in mind that in the past such reports have tended to generate controversy due to both their content/methodology and the ways in which they are misinterpreted for various political purposes.

Here is a link to an announcement of the report:


Here is a link to its results:


According to the executive summary of this report, its most significant finding is the following:

Racial/ethnic and gender gaps evident in both music and visual arts

Although the results for music and visual arts are reported separately and cannot be compared, some general patterns in differences between student groups were similar in the two disciplines.

  • Average responding scores in both music and visual arts were 22 to 32 points higher for White and Asian/Pacific Islander students than for Black and Hispanic students. The creating task scores in visual arts were also higher for White and Asian/Pacific Islander students than for their Black and Hispanic peers.
  • Average responding scores for female students were 10 points higher than for male students in music and 11 points higher in visual arts. Female students also outperformed male students in creating visual art.


Keiper, S., Sandene, B.A., Persky, H.R., and Kuang, M. (2009). The Nation's Report Card: Arts 2008 Music & Visual Arts (NCES 2009–488). National Center for Education Statistics, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, Washington, D.C.

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