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Measuring Up Survey of Arts Education in NH Public Schools Results Released


Measuring Up: NH Arts Education Data Project released findings from a 2008-2009 survey examining the status and condition of arts education in New Hampshire public schools. In addition to survey results, the report includes recommendations and actions for supporting arts education.

A total of 153 NH public schools representing 84,840 students completed the voluntary survey. This represents 32 percent of the schools and 43.6 percent of the student population.

The survey asked questions about each school's curriculum, funding of arts education, arts educators' certification status, programs offered during the traditional school day and after school, dedicated classroom space as well as each schools' use of artists in residence, grants and community arts resources. Arts disciplines surveyed included music, visual arts, dance, theatre, creative writing and media arts. One goal of the project is to help schools make use of New Hampshire arts resources that meet their varied needs.

  • Key findings from the report include:
    88 percent of elementary students participate in both music and visual arts classes for approximately 50 minutes per week in each art form;
  • 73 percent of high schools have a local policy that exceeds the state graduation requirement of one-half credit in the arts;
  • 67 percent of schools spend $20 or less per student per year on materials and resources for all arts education combined, excluding teacher salaries and capital expenditures; and
  • 15 percent spend $1 or less per student per year on materials and resources for all arts education combined, excluding teacher salaries and capital expenditures.

Recommendations for strengthening arts education in New Hampshire are based on findings from Measuring Up and on the responses and ideas generated through initial conversations about the data with leaders and advisors from around the state. Some recommendations are:

  • align practices and policies that support the arts as essential components of a complete curriculum;
  • use arts-based strategies to support student learning and school improvement goals;
  • build on and utilize current data systems;
  • leverage resources and ideas to expand opportunities in arts education; and
  • increase technology opportunities in the arts for all NH students

Commissioner of Education, Virginia M. Barry, Ph.D. notes: “I believe the arts are an important component of education for the whole child, preparing students more completely for success in college, career and life. According to the Center for Arts Education, many students stay in school because of their involvement in the arts. The skills developed by studying the arts include collaboration, creativity, problem-solving, flexibility and perseverance; and these are critical to the 21st century skills. The arts enliven our schools with music, visual arts, dance and theatre, and showcase our students’ abilities in these areas.”

Dr. Roger Brooks, chair of the NH State Council on the Arts and a retired principal and educator for more than 35 years adds: “This report gives visibility to schools’ successes, encourages school and community leaders to sustain and enhance their quality arts programs, and provides a catalyst for discussion in schools and across school districts focused on common interests and needs. We ask parents, educators, artists and community and business leaders to read the report and reflect on the results and recommendations.”

The Measuring Up project is a partnership initiative of the NH Department of Education (NHDOE), the NH State Council on the Arts (NHSCA) and the Arts Alliance of Northern NH (AANNH). Research lead and data analysis was provided by Quadrant Arts Education Research. The project Web site www.aannh.org/measuringup will house Measuring Up: NH Arts Education Data Project Report, the complete data set, an executive summary, a list of participating schools, an executive summary, plus resources for parents, educators, students and community leaders.

The project is funded by the NHDOE, the NHSCA, and the National Endowment for the Arts, with grants support from the NH Charitable Foundation, Lincoln Financial Foundation and others.


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