Student artwork from the NAEP Arts assessment.
A nationally representative sample of 7,900 eighth-grade students from 260 public and private schools participated in the 2008 NAEP assessment in arts. Approximately one-half of the students were assessed in music, and the other half were assessed in visual arts.
Two separate scores are reported for the arts assessment: average responding score and average creating task score. The average responding score is reported for both music and visual arts and reflects students’ ability to observe, describe, analyze, and evaluate works of art. The average responding score is reported on a scale from 0 to 300.
The average creating task score is reported only for visual arts and reflects students’ ability to express ideas and feelings in the form of an original work of art. It is reported as the average percentage of the maximum possible score from 0 to 100.
Although the results for music and visual arts are reported separately and cannot be compared, some general patterns in differences between student groups emerged.
In both music and visual arts,
Average responding scores were higher for White and Asian/Pacific Islander students than Black and Hispanic students. The pattern was the same for the visual arts creating task scores.
Female students had a higher average responding score than male students. Female students had a higher average creating task score in visual arts.
Students who were eligible for free/reduced price school lunch
had a lower average responding score and a lower average creating task score in visual arts than those who were not eligible.
Additional findings included the following:
Fifty-seven percent of eighth-graders in 2008 attended schools where students received music instruction at least three or four times a week. This was not found to be significantly different from the 43 percent of students reported in 1997.
Forty-seven percent of eighth-graders in 2008 attended schools where students received visual arts instruction at least three or four times a week. This was not found to be significantly different from the 52 percent reported in 1997.
Because music and visual arts are two distinct disciplines, results are reported separately and cannot be compared. For more information, see Interpreting NAEP Arts Results.
Find out more about the assessment.