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Learning Standards

Learning Standards

Posted by: San Francisco Film Society

Learning standards are written statements of what students should know and be able to accomplish at every grade level and are generally presented by subject (e.g., English, math). The U.S. Department of Education outlines one set of learning standards through their Common Core initiative, and individual states also have their own standards for student learning. 

Why are learning standards important for media instruction?

Students and teachers both benefit from clear instruction that is scaffolded, consistent and challenging. To successfully integrate media arts instruction into a classroom in another content area, alignment with standards allows for the development of focused, clear and measurable lessons tailored to the developmental stages of young learners. Just because arts instruction is creative and expressive doesn’t mean it can’t be challenging, rigorous and formalized.

What is the Common Core?

The Common Core State Standards provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them. The standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that young people need for success in college and careers. 

An integrated model of literacy 

Although the Standards are divided into Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening, and language strands for conceptual clarity, the processes of communication are closely connected, as reflected throughout this guide. 

Research and media skills blended into the Standards as a whole

To be ready for college, workforce training and life in a technological society, students need the ability to gather, comprehend, evaluate, synthesize and report on information and ideas; to conduct research in order to answer questions or solve problems; and to analyze and create a range of print and non-print texts in media forms old and new. The need to conduct research and to produce and consume media is embedded into every aspect of today’s curriculum.

For a grade-level specific version of the CA Visual Arts Standards, visit http://www.cde.ca.gov/be/st/ss/vamain.asp

For more information about Visual Arts learning standards in your state, visit

• MediaLiteracy.com: resources for advancing media education, United States Standards for media literacy education. http://www.medialiteracy.com/standards.htm

• Frank W Baker’s guide to State Standards Which Include Elements of Media Literacy. 

For reference:
California Media Literacy Standards
NYC Dept of Education Blueprint for Teaching and Leaning in the Arts: The Moving Image
US Dept of Education National Arts Standards for Theater, Visual Art, Music and Dance
US Dept of Education Common Core Standards

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