Magazine article Curriculum Administrator

Controversy over Mandatory Fine Arts Testing

Magazine article Curriculum Administrator

Controversy over Mandatory Fine Arts Testing

Article excerpt

Controversy is brewing over whether students should have to take a 90-minute fine arts video test administered as a portion of the Missouri Assessment Program test. The interest in arts testing reflects a new appreciation of the importance of fine arts education. The arts traditionally have been valued as enriching a person's life, but new research has found that music and art also stimulate brain development and enhance cognitive abilities.

The National Report Card on the Arts, released in 1998, said the new research shows that the arts helps children build both basic and advanced thinking skills, enhances their self-discipline and promotes opportunity for cross-cultural learning. It also helps children develop both basic and advanced thinking skills.

In addition, the national education goals for 2000-2001 list the arts among core academic subjects that children should learn.

"This testing lends credence to what educators in the arts industry have always known, and that is that the arts are a fundamental part of the overall student learning experience," says Maria Fleming, director of curriculum and assessment for the Independence School District in Missouri.

Next spring, Missouri school districts will voluntarily administer the video examination. …

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