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Arts Education in Public Elementary and Secondary Schools: 1999-2000
NCES: 2002131
May 2002

Elementary School Teachers of Music and Visual Arts

Highlights

  • In 1999-2000, 45 percent of music specialists and 39 percent of visual arts specialists had a master's degree in their respective fields of study or in a related arts field. Forty-five percent of regular classroom teachers had a master's degree.
  • Arts specialists participated in a variety of professional development activities. For instance, 72 percent of music specialists and 79 percent of visual arts specialists reported professional development activities focusing on the integration of music or visual arts into other subject areas within the last 12 months.
  • A sizable majority of music and visual arts specialists felt that their participation in various professional development activities focusing on arts instruction improved their teaching skills to a moderate or great extent (69 to 75 percent).
  • On a typical school day in 1999-2000, music specialists taught an average of six different classes of students. Visual arts specialists taught on average five classes on a typical school day.
  • Visual arts specialists had more time set aside each week for planning or preparation during the regular school day than music specialists and classroom teachers (4.2 hours versus 3.6 and 3.4, respectively).
  • Forty-six percent of music specialists and 44 percent of visual arts specialists strongly agreed with the statement that parents support them in their efforts to educate their children. Fifty-eight percent of music specialists and 53 percent of visual arts specialists strongly agreed that they were supported by the administration at their schools.

Music and Visual Arts Specialists and Self-Contained Classroom Teachers

This chapter presents information about instructors of music and visual arts in public elementary schools in 1999-2000. It includes findings from the survey of elementary school music specialists, the survey of elementary school visual arts specialists, and the arts survey of elementary school classroom teachers. Self-contained classroom teachers were included in the survey for two reasons: (1) to compare the qualifications and teaching responsibilities of arts teachers to those of non-arts teachers; 19 and (2) to determine the extent to which classroom teachers were incorporating the arts into their instructional programs and participating in professional development relevant to arts instruction (regardless of whether there was an arts specialist on staff). Separate surveys of dance and drama/theatre specialists were not included in the study, since the percentage of schools with either of these specialists on staff was quite small. According to the elementary school survey (see chapter 2), 8 percent of all schools had a full- or part-time dance specialist on staff, and 5 percent had a full- or part-time drama/theatre specialist on staff.

The chapter includes findings related to the preparation, working environments, and instructional practices of public elementary school music and visual arts specialists and non-arts classroom teachers. 20 Specifically, teachers were asked about their educational background and teaching experience and the professional development activities in which they had participated in the last 12 months. They were asked about their teaching load, the amount of planning time their schedules permit, and the kinds of collaboration with other teachers that take place at their schools. Arts specialists were asked to report on the adequacy of the arts facilities, equipment, and other resources available to them at their schools. All teachers were also asked to report their perceptions of the support that arts instruction receives from parents and other staff at their schools. With respect to teaching practices, arts specialists were asked about the curriculum guidelines available at their schools, their goals and objectives for student learning, the assessment strategies they use, and their own involvement in the arts outside of school. Classroom teachers were asked about the extent to which they incorporate various arts subjects into their own instructional programs.

Characteristics of Public Elementary School Arts Specialists and Classroom Teachers

In 1999-2000, an estimated 70,700 music specialists taught elementary school students in U.S. public schools (table 35). Of these, 89 percent taught music full time, and 11 percent taught part time. An estimated 37,800 visual arts specialists taught in elementary schools, of which 80 percent were full time and 20 percent were part time. An estimated 903,200 teachers taught full time in self-contained, regular elementary school classrooms.

Thirty-two percent of elementary school music specialists had 20 or more years of teaching experience in-field (i.e., in music), 34 percent had 10 to 19 years, 20 percent had 4 to 9 years, and 14 percent had 3 or fewer years of music teaching experience. Twenty-four percent of elementary school visual arts specialists had 20 or more years of teaching experience in-field (i.e., in visual arts), 31 percent had 10 to 19 years, 25 percent had 4 to 9 years, and 20 percent had 3 or fewer years of visual arts teaching experience (table 36). As an indicator of the stage at which teachers perceive themselves to be in their careers, teachers were asked to report the approximate number of years they intended to continue teaching. Overall, arts specialists and classroom teachers alike were fairly evenly distributed in their estimations. Between 34 and 39 percent of teachers estimated that they would teach 1 to 9 years more, 35 to 39 percent estimated between 10 and 19 years, and 26 to 28 percent estimated 20 years or more (table 37).

Teacher Background and Professional Development

Data from the teacher surveys also provide information about the educational backgrounds and professional development activities of arts specialists and regular classroom teachers. Music specialists, visual arts specialists, and classroom teachers were asked questions about the highest level of education they attained, which subjects they majored in, and whether or not they received teacher certification in their subject area. They were also asked about their participation in a wide range of professional development activities, as well as the extent to which they believed those activities helped to improve their teaching.

Teacher Education

The type of degree earned by a teacher is one measure used to assess teacher qualifications. While having a bachelor's degree was once considered adequate qualification for teachers, today's teachers often are expected to have advanced degrees (Lewis et al. 1999). At the time of this survey, virtually all elementary school arts specialists and regular classroom teachers had a bachelor's degree (table 38). In addition, 45 percent of music specialists and 39 percent of visual arts specialists had a master's degree in their respective fields of study or in a related field. Forty-three percent of regular classroom teachers had a master's degree.

Overall, 92 percent of music specialists had a bachelor's or master's degree in-field (i.e., in music education or music), and 88 percent of visual arts specialists had a bachelor's or master's degree in-field (i.e., in arts education or applied or fine arts). Among elementary school music specialists, 68 percent completed undergraduate majors in music education, and 29 percent completed majors in music, either performance, history, or theory (table 39). 21 Five percent of music specialists completed undergraduate majors in elementary education, and 7 percent completed majors in other fields. Of the 45 percent of music specialists with a master's degree, 41 percent had a degree in music education, 26 percent had a degree in some form of music study (performance, history, or theory), 4 percent had a degree in elementary education, and 34 percent had degrees in other fields.

Forty-four percent of elementary school visual arts specialists completed undergraduate majors in general/visual arts education, and 45 percent completed majors in applied art, identified as fine arts, studio arts, or visual arts. Ten percent of visual arts specialists reported completing undergraduate majors in elementary education, and 9 percent completed majors in other fields. Of the 39 percent of visual arts teachers with a master's degree, 34 percent had a degree in arts education, 28 percent had a degree in applied or fine arts, 7 percent had a degree in elementary education, and 38 percent had degrees in other fields.

Classroom teachers were asked whether they had an arts major or minor for their bachelor's degree or master's degree (if applicable). 22 Nine percent of classroom teachers had an arts major or minor for their bachelor's degree, and 2 percent of those with a master's degree had an arts major or minor (not shown in tables). Overall, 10 percent of classroom teachers had an arts major or minor for a bachelor's and/or master's degree (not shown in tables).

Teacher Certification

Teachers' certification status is another measure of teachers' qualifications. Over and above the coursework required for a degree, teacher certification includes clinical experiences such as student teaching and often some type of formal assessment. All three types of teachers surveyed in this study were asked to indicate which of three types of certificates they held: (1) a regular, standard, or professional certificate; (2) a probationary certificate; or (3) a provisional, temporary, or emergency certificate. Arts specialists were also asked to specify their certification status in both general elementary education and in their major fields of study (i.e., music education or visual arts education). They could specify more than one type of certification. Almost all music specialists (91 percent) were certified to teach music, and 90 percent of the teachers that were certified to teach music had regular, standard, or professional certification (table 40). Twenty-one percent of music specialists indicated that they had a general elementary education certificate. Similarly, 89 percent of visual arts specialists were certified to teach art, of which 89 percent indicated that they had a regular, standard, or professional certification. Twenty-nine percent of visual arts specialists had a general elementary education certificate. One hundred percent of regular classroom teachers had a general elementary education certificate, of which 93 percent held a regular, standard, or professional certificate. Classroom teachers were not asked whether they were certified to teach an arts subject.

Professional Development

To meet the changing demands of their profession, both new and more experienced teachers must continuously update their knowledge and skills through formal professional development. Some school districts require teachers to participate in professional development, and certain states have passed initiatives encouraging or mandating professional development if teachers are to retain their certification (Lewis et al. 1999). The three teacher surveys asked about participation in various kinds of professional development activities, designed both for music and visual arts specialists in particular, and for all teachers in general. Further, in order to gauge their views on how beneficial these activities were, specialists and regular classroom teachers were asked to rate the extent to which they felt their teaching had improved as a result of participation in these activities.

Content of professional development. Arts specialists and regular classroom teachers were asked to report on the professional development activities in which they had participated in the last 12 months that focused both on enhancement of arts instruction (e.g., applied study in an arts area or connecting arts learning with other subject areas) and on aspects of teaching relevant to all teachers (e.g., new methods of teaching or student performance assessment). Music specialists (49 to 72 percent) and visual arts specialists (56 to 79 percent) were more likely to have participated in arts-related professional development in the last 12 months than were regular classroom teachers (25 to 46 percent) (figure 22). On the other hand, classroom teachers (84 to 90 percent) were more likely than music specialists (65 to 78 percent) and visual arts specialists (64 to 81 percent) to have participated in professional development designed for all teachers (figure 23). It should be noted that at least two-thirds of arts specialists participated in general teacher professional development activities, compared to 25 to 46 percent of classroom teachers who participated in activities related to arts education.

Seventy-two percent of music specialists, 79 percent of visual arts specialists, and 46 percent of regular classroom teachers participated in professional development activities focusing on the integration of music or visual arts into other subject areas within the last 12 months (figure 22). Visual arts specialists were more likely than music specialists to participate in activities designed to develop knowledge about the historical, cultural, or analytical aspects of their subject area (72 percent versus 60 percent). Twenty five percent of classroom teachers participated in this type of professional development. Fifty six percent of visual arts specialists, 49 percent of music specialists, and 27 percent of classroom teachers participated in activities involving applied study of the production or performance aspects of their subject area. As for professional development activities designed for all teachers, 86 percent of regular classroom teachers participated in professional development activities involving new methods of teaching, compared with 68 percent of music specialists and 70 percent of visual arts specialists (figure 23). Similarly, 84 percent of classroom teachers participated in professional development involving integrating educational technologies into instruction in their subject area, compared with 65 percent of music specialists and 64 percent of visual arts specialists. Classroom teachers were also more likely than music and visual arts specialists to have participated in activities that focused on incorporating state or district standards into instruction (90 percent of classroom teachers versus 78 percent of music specialists and 81 percent of visual arts specialists) and student performance assessment (87 percent of classroom teachers versus 69 percent of both music and visual arts specialists).

In general, participation in particular professional development activities within the last 12 months for most music and visual arts specialists and regular classroom teachers lasted from 1 to 8 hours, or the equivalent of 1 day or less of training (table 41). Specifically, of those who participated, music specialists, visual arts specialists, and classroom teachers were more likely to have spent 1 to 8 hours, rather than more than 8 hours, in professional development activities involving connecting arts learning with other subject areas, new methods of teaching, student performance assessment, and integrating education technologies into instruction.

Perceived impact of professional development. Since the rationale behind professional development programs is to provide an opportunity for teachers to upgrade their knowledge, skills, and practices, it is useful to explore the extent to which teachers believed their participation in these activities helped them to achieve these objectives. The surveys asked teachers to assess the extent to which they believed their participation in these activities improved their teaching. Response categories ranged from "not at all" to "a great extent." Overall results showed, for each activity focusing on arts instruction, that 69 to 75 percent of music and visual arts specialists who participated in professional development thought that the activities improved their teaching skills to a moderate or great extent (figure 24). Fewer regular classroom teachers (between 51 and 57 percent) evaluated their participation in artsrelated professional development activities in this way.

With respect to professional development activities designed for all teachers, 50 to 61 percent of music and visual arts specialists who participated reported that these activities had improved their teaching to a moderate or great extent (figure 25). Classroom teachers were more likely than music and visual arts specialists to report that new methods of teaching (77 percent versus 58 and 58 percent), incorporating state or district standards into instruction (70 percent versus 54 and 55 percent), and student performance assessment (67 percent versus 50 and 55 percent) improved their teaching to a moderate or great extent.


Work Environment

A supportive work environment includes features such as reasonable teaching load, adequate time for planning and preparation, adequate facilities, equipment, and materials, and the opportunity to interact and exchange ideas with other teachers. In addition, the perceptions teachers have of parent and staff support may have an impact on their approach to their jobs, and is therefore an important feature of the environment in which they work. Arts specialists and regular classroom teachers were asked about these features of their work environments.

Teaching Load and Time for Planning and Preparation

In 1999-2000, 44 percent of music specialists and 51 percent of visual arts specialists reported that they taught at only one school (table 42). Thirty percent of music specialists and 33 percent of visual arts specialists taught at two schools, and 12 percent of music specialists and 10 percent of visual arts specialists taught at three schools. Fifteen percent of music specialists and 6 percent of visual arts specialists taught at four or more schools.

On a typical school day in 1999-2000, music specialists taught on average six different classes of students, and visual arts specialists taught five classes (table 43). During a typical school week, music specialists taught an average of 24 different classes of students across all schools, and visual arts specialists taught an average of 22 different classes. Music and visual arts specialists were asked to report the total number of students that they taught at the time of the survey, counting all students across all schools if they taught at more than one school. Music specialists taught an average of 450 students per week at the time of the survey, and visual arts specialists taught an average of 555 students per week.

Finally, the amount of time during the school day that teachers have set aside for planning and preparation can make a difference in teaching load. There were some differences in the amount of time arts specialists and classroom teachers had for this purpose. During a typical school week in 1999-2000, visual arts specialists had an average of 4.2 hours each week designated for planning and preparation during regular school hours (i.e., when students were in attendance) (figure 26). Music specialists and classroom teachers had slightly less time designated for these purposes (3.6 and 3.4 hours, respectively).

Views of Arts Specialists on Facilities, Equipment, and Other Resources

Designated rooms, proper equipment, a wide range of supplies and materials, and state-of-the-art technologies may facilitate arts specialists' abilities to present students with a wide range of tools with which they can explore the arts. In addition, teachers may benefit from adequate instructional time with students as well as adequate time to prepare for their classes. The surveys asked elementary school music and visual arts specialists to rate the adequacy of a variety of supports for teaching music or visual arts. Response options ranged from "not at all adequate" to "completely adequate."

Views of music specialists. Forty-three percent of music specialists rated their elementary schools' classroom equipment as completely adequate, and 35 percent rated their schools' dedicated room or space as completely adequate (table 44). On the other hand, 51 percent of music specialists rated their schools' electronic technological support as not at all adequate. In addition, 23 percent of music specialists rated the time they had available for individual or collaborative planning as not at all adequate, and 38 percent rated it as minimally adequate.

Views of visual arts specialists. Forty percent of visual arts specialists reported that the dedicated room or space for visual arts instruction that their schools provided was completely adequate. Many visual arts specialists in public elementary schools rated the art materials-expendable resources such as paint, ink, clay, and paper-at their schools as completely adequate (36 percent). Many also rated the art tools, such as brushes, brayers, and clay tools, as completely adequate (36 percent). On the other hand, visual arts specialists indicated that the electronic technologies used in the study and creation of art were either not at all adequate (30 percent) or minimally adequate (37 percent). Twenty-four percent rated the time they had available for individual or collaborative planning as not at all adequate, and 36 percent rated it as minimally adequate.

Status and Integration of Arts Education into Overall School Programs

Some advocates of arts education contend that the strength of arts education in the nation's schools may be contingent upon the integration of the arts into other academic subject areas (Wilson 1997). Music and visual arts specialists were asked about the extent of their participation in a variety of activities involving collaboration among teachers and the integration of arts instruction into the broader curriculum. Findings show that music and visual arts specialists were able to collaborate to some extent with regular classroom teachers on arts instruction issues. For instance, 49 percent of music specialists and 45 percent of visual arts specialists indicated that they consulted a few times a year with classroom teachers about integrating their subjects into a lesson or unit of study (table 45). However, visual arts specialists were more likely than music specialists to engage in this activity at least once a month (33 percent versus 17 percent). Similarly, visual arts specialists were more likely than music specialists to collaborate with other teachers at least once a month in designing and teaching an interdisciplinary lesson that included their subject (24 percent versus 10 percent). About half or more of both music and visual arts specialists never had a common planning period with other arts specialists (55 percent and 59 percent, respectively) or visited classrooms of colleagues who teach arts subjects (63 percent and 65 percent, respectively).

With respect to collaborative activities that are not arts-specific, arts specialists were as likely as regular classroom teachers to share ideas about teaching with teachers outside their assigned school(s) at least once a month (34 and 30 percent for music and visual arts specialists, respectively, versus 35 percent for classroom teachers) (table 46). However, they were less likely than classroom teachers to have a common planning period with (other) regular classroom teachers at least once a month (7 and 10 percent for music and visual arts specialists, respectively, versus 68 percent for classroom teachers). Further, classroom teachers were more likely than music and visual arts specialists to have participated at least once a month in site-based management or school improvement teams (40 percent versus 18 and 23 percent) and in the preparation of individual educational plans for students with special needs (27 percent versus 5 and 9 percent).

Support for Arts Education from Parents and School Staff

Overall, 46 percent of music specialists and 44 percent of visual arts specialists strongly agreed with the statement that parents support them in their efforts to educate their children (table 47). Fifty-eight percent of music specialists and 53 percent of visual arts specialists strongly agreed that they were supported by the administration at their schools. Twenty-five percent of music specialists and 31 percent of visual arts specialists strongly agreed with the statement that other teachers considered the arts subject they taught as an important part of their school's curriculum. Music specialists differed from visual arts specialists with respect to their belief that administrators and other teachers favored interdisciplinary instruction that included their subject area. Thirty-eight percent of visual arts specialists strongly agreed with this statement, compared with 23 percent of music specialists. Also, visual arts specialists were more likely than music specialists to strongly agree that students were motivated to do well in their classes (64 percent versus 45 percent).


Curriculum and Instruction in the Arts

In 1992, the National Council on Education Standards and Testing (NCEST) issued a report entitled Raising Standards for American Education. A Report to Congress, the Secretary of Education, the National Education Goals Panel, and the American People (1992). It called for the development of voluntary national education standards, along with aligned systems of assessment in core subjects. In 1994, the voluntary National Standards for Arts Education were published (Consortium of National Arts Education Associations 1994). These standards were designed to establish clear guidelines for what a student should know and be able to do in the arts. Specifically, they promoted the notion that students should develop an understanding of such questions as the following: What are the arts? How do artists work, and what tools do they use? How do traditional, popular, and classical art forms influence one another? Why are the arts important to me and my society?

The 2000 surveys of elementary public school music and visual arts specialists included questions about the instructional program in each arts subject, whether it was based on a local or district curriculum guide, aligned with state standards or the National Standards, or integrated with other arts or non-arts subjects. Arts specialists were also asked to indicate the extent to which they emphasized various goals or objectives of student learning, and the kinds of assessments that they used to determine student progress and achievement. To assess the extent to which arts instruction took place in students' regular classrooms, the classroom teacher survey included a question about whether or not different arts subjects were incorporated into instruction in other subject areas.

Arts specialists and regular classroom teachers were asked to indicate whether four statements about arts curricula described the instructional programs that they followed. Specifically, they were asked whether their schools' instructional programs in the arts were (1) based on a written, sequential, local (or district) curriculum guide, (2) aligned with their state's standards or the National Standards for Arts Education, (3) integrated with other arts subjects, and (4) integrated with other academic subjects.

Eighty-six percent of music specialists and 87 percent of visual art specialists reported that their instructional programs were aligned with their state's standards or the National Standards for Arts Education (table 48). Most arts specialists also indicated that their programs were based on a local or district curriculum guide (79 percent of music specialists and 73 percent of visual arts specialists). However, visual arts specialists were more likely than music specialists to report that their programs either were integrated with other arts subjects (69 percent versus 41 percent) or with other academic subjects (77 percent versus 47 percent).

Ninety-two percent of classroom teachers indicated that they included arts instruction in some aspects of their instructional program. Of these, 22 percent indicated that their arts curriculum was based on a local or district curriculum guide, but 17 percent did not know if it was or not (not shown in tables). Twenty nine percent indicated that their arts curriculum was aligned with arts standards, while 56 percent reported that they did not know if this was the case. Eighty-eight percent of classroom teachers indicated that their arts instruction was integrated with other academic subjects.

Classroom teachers who included arts instruction were also asked a series of questions addressing the extent to which they incorporated various arts subjects into their instruction in other areas (table 49). Fifteen percent of classroom teachers incorporated music into their instruction to a great extent, and 27 percent incorporated visual arts into their instruction to a great extent. Twenty eight percent of classroom teachers indicated that they teach thematic units that integrate various subjects, including the arts, to a great extent. On the other hand, 55 percent of classroom teachers reported never having incorporated dance into instruction, and 49 percent never used prepackaged curriculum materials or textbooks to teach the arts.

Goals and Objectives of Student Learning

The National Standards for Arts Education provides lists of content standards for each arts area. In order to capture the extent to which arts teachers were addressing these content standards, the content standards for music and visual arts were used as a basis for developing the survey questions about the goals and objectives of student learning. Music and visual arts specialists were asked to indicate the extent to which they emphasized various goals and objectives in their instruction.

Goals and objectives for student learning in music. The two content areas in which the highest percentage of music specialists placed major emphasis in their teaching were singing a varied repertoire of music (54 percent), and reading and notating music (51 percent) (table 50). 23 Twenty-seven percent of music specialists placed no emphasis on composing and arranging music, and 48 percent indicated a minor emphasis on this objective of student learning. Sixteen percent of music specialists gave no emphasis to improvising melodies, variations, and accompaniments, and 50 percent gave minor emphasis. Goals such as these may be viewed as more appropriate for secondary school students, although the National Standards for Music Education do include several achievement standards at the elementary level under each of these topics.

Goals and objectives for student learning in visual arts. The content areas in which the highest percentage of visual arts teachers placed major emphasis were understanding and applying various media, techniques, and processes (72 percent) and using knowledge of elements, functions, and principles of art (69 percent) (table 51). Fifty-six percent of visual arts teachers also placed major emphasis on creating works in a broad range of art forms (i.e., fine arts, design arts, or crafts), and 51 percent placed major emphasis on understanding the visual arts in relation to history and cultures. Few visual arts specialists reported placing no emphasis on the content areas included in the survey (3 percent or less), and 20 percent or fewer of the specialists placed minor emphasis on any areas (3 to 19 percent).

Assessment in the Arts

Teachers were asked whether they used any formal assessments of student achievement, and if so, to indicate the extent to which they used various assessment techniques. Many music and visual arts specialists did use some formal assessments to determine student progress and achievement (91 percent of music specialists, and 87 percent of visual arts teachers). Forty eight percent of classroom teachers who included arts instruction in any aspect of their instructional program indicated that they used some formal assessments to evaluate student progress in their arts instruction (not shown in tables).

Music specialists relied on the processes of creating art and the products that result from these processes in their assessment of student learning. Eighty-seven percent of music specialists used observation of students as an assessment strategy to a great extent, and 56 percent used performance tasks to a great extent (table 52). On the other hand, selected-response assessments, short written answers or essays, portfolio collections of student work, and developed rubrics were used by 12 percent or fewer of music specialists to a great extent (12 percent, 3 percent, 6 percent, and 6 percent, respectively).

Visual art specialists also relied on observation of students and performance tasks or projects. Eighty-two percent used observation to a great extent, and 73 percent used performance tasks or projects to a great extent. Thirty-five percent of visual arts specialists used portfolio collections of student work to a great extent. However, few visual arts specialists indicated that they rely to a great extent on selected-response assessments (3 percent), short written answers or essays (4 percent), or developed rubrics (14 percent). Sixty-one percent of regular classroom teachers who reported incorporating arts into their classrooms and assessing student progress in art related activities used observation to evaluate that progress to a great extent. Performance tasks or projects were used to a great extent by 44 percent of these classroom teachers, and 27 percent used portfolio collections of student work as an assessment technique to a great extent.

Involvement in the Arts Outside of School

To gain information on teachers' engagement in the arts outside of their teaching professions, arts specialists were asked to indicate the extent to which they participated in a variety of activities related to the arts. This information provides some indication of whether teachers keep their knowledge and skills current through performing and creating their own artwork, studying or writing about art, or responding to the artwork of others.

Music specialists were most likely to participate to a great extent in performing as a soloist or with an ensemble (38 percent) and attending live music performances (33 percent) (table 53). Visual arts specialists were most likely to participate to a great extent in creating works of art (27 percent) and viewing and responding to the works of other artists (31 percent) (table 54). Classroom teachers reported some engagement in the arts outside of their school duties. Thirteen percent reported that they participated to a great extent in attending museums or arts performances, and 43 percent reported doing so to a moderate extent (table 55). Some classroom teachers created or performed works of art as well, with 7 percent indicating that they do so to a great extent and 16 percent doing so to a moderate extent.


19 A question may be raised regarding the comparability of data collected on self-contained classroom teachers and music and visual arts specialists, given the possibility that the elementary grades taught by these groups might not be equivalent. Specifically, there might be concern that classroom teachers (in self-contained classrooms) might not generally teach beyond grade 3, whereas arts specialists might teach all elementary grades. Analysis of the data shows that this is not the case-regular classroom teachers were distributed across all grades available in the elementary schools within the sample. For example, in elementary schools where kindergarten through grade 6 were available, 40 percent of teachers in self-contained classrooms taught kindergarten or grades 1 or 2, 32 percent taught grades 3 or 4, and 29 percent taught grades 5 or 6.

20 While findings from the school-level surveys were presented in terms of national estimates as well as by selected school characteristics, this chapter focuses on national estimates only. The survey samples of arts specialists and classroom teachers were relatively small (453 music specialists, 331 visual arts specialists, and 497 regular classroom teachers). Thus, small cell sizes and the resulting high standard errors might not support comparisons across subgroups of selected independent variables.

21 Specialists could have named up to three majors for a bachelor's and master's degree.

22 The data requesters were interested in determining whether selfcontained classroom teachers had any kind of educational background in the arts.

23 An exception was that music specialists were as likely to place major emphasis on learning about the expressive possibilities of music (41 percent) as on reading and notating music (51 percent). Although the difference between estimates appears large, it is not statistically significant because the estimates have relatively large standard errors (2.8 and 2.8, respectively).

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