Online tool presents detailed data and view of arts education in R.I. public schools

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Dashboard highlights

R.I. State Council on the Arts (RISCA) has introduced the most comprehensive view to date of the arts education landscape in R.I.’s public charter and public schools, pre-K through high school. In partnership with the Arts Education Data Project and prepared by Quadrant Research, R.I.’s Arts Education Data Dashboard presents an intuitive, interactive and detailed online look at arts education in our state starting with the 2016-17 school year.

Hosted by RISCA, you can find the Dashboard by clicking here

The R.I. Arts Education Data Dashboard has been in development for more than two years and was built to analyze statistics currently and publicly made available by the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) in partnership with DataSpark at the University of Rhode Island. The Dashboard has been reviewed and approved by RISCA’s staff, its Council’s Executive Committee, the Arts Agency’s Arts Learning Network Committee and representatives from RIDE.

Join the webinar on R.I.’s Arts Education Data Dashboard, on Monday, Oct. 31, at 1 p.m. RSVP is required. Click here, to RSVP.

“This powerful tool, which is easy to navigate, gives unique insight into statewide, district and school level arts education as well as data by artistic discipline,” RISCA’s Executive Director, Lynne McCormack said. “We are pleased to be partnering with the nation’s leading arts education data team and look forward to sharing this powerful tool with parents, educators and school administrators throughout the state.”

Arts education data project’s goals

All students in Rhode Island are entitled to a high-quality arts education that will provide them with the important skills they need to succeed in tomorrow’s workforce. Rhode Island is home to more than 2,000 arts-related businesses that employ almost 16,000 people. The creative industries sector accounts for nearly 5% of the total number of businesses based in Rhode Island. 

The Dashboard can be used to help school leaders, parents and advocates determine the status of arts education access in schools and identify and address existing inequities. By having a complete picture of where schools currently stand, leaders will be able to take steps to close gaps in access to a core arts education curriculum in their districts, ensuring that each R.I. high school graduate is meeting the arts proficiency graduation requirement per the Basic Education Plan.

Arts education requirements in Rhode Island

In schools, Rhode Island has adopted and endorsed the National Core Art Standards,  which include comprehensive proficiency-based standards in dance, media arts, visual arts, music and theatre. According to Rhode Island’s Basic Education Plan:

“Classes in at least visual arts and design and music shall be available for each student in each grade through the middle level. [K-8] Curriculum that includes dance and theatre shall adhere to the applicable grade span expectations. A program of study shall exist for all secondary students to enable them to demonstrate proficiency in at least one art form. Additionally, secondary school students shall be provided with the opportunity to do multiple levels of coursework in visual arts and design in both two and three dimensions and in at least one performing arts discipline.”

In addition to the above language, the arts are a core content area and a diploma requirement for all students.  The information about this arts requirement can be found on relevant tabs on the Data Dashboard, by hovering over the question mark icon.

Key findings from the 2019-20 school year:

  • Most students (98%) had access to at least one arts discipline. However, only 83.6% of students have access to the required amount of arts education.
  • Notwithstanding, the State’s arts proficiency diploma the access rate was lowest in high schools (63%).
  • While access may be high, student enrollments are less than 70% in all five artistic disciplines:
    • 63% of students are enrolled in Music courses.
    • 69% of students are enrolled in Visual Arts courses.
    • 3% of students are enrolled in Theatre courses.
    • >1% of students are enrolled in Dance courses.
    • 12% of students are enrolled in Media Arts courses.
  • 27 districts offered Advanced Placement (AP) course work in the arts and those courses were only in visual arts and music. This is only 41% of public Local Education Agencies (LEAs) or districts in Rhode Island.
  • 64% of schools offer courses in at least 2 arts disciplines. Ten percent of schools offer courses in 4+ disciplines and 3% of schools have no arts courses.

Please note:

The aim of releasing this tool, with some data limitations, is to work to continue to bring awareness and address data quality issues. As with any data project, we will continue to assess its accuracy and collection methods. Please understand the following:

  • Data used for the Rhode Island Arts Education Data Project was self-reported by districts and LEAs.
  • Data may not reflect the complete number of students enrolled or with access to arts programing.
  • Dashboard is missing complete arts course enrollment from a minority of public schools in Rhode Island.
    • As a result, please take caution when considering schools with 0% arts enrollment.
  • Data limitations are present due to inaccuracies with data reporting.

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Have questions about this project or how to view the data? Email for more information.

Thank you to our partners