Music Education Standards for North Dakota


Enrollment:  95,000

Music Educators Association

Music/Arts Education Policy

At the elementary level, grades 1-6, the state has established minimum requirements for music and visual art instructional programs. In all districts, music is to be taught at least 90 minutes per week and art is to be taught at least 45 minutes per week. At the minimum for grades 7 and 8, the schools must offer students 60 clock hours of music (or one semester). One hundred and twenty clock hours (or two semesters) are to be made available in one or more of seven electives that may include visual art. Schools at the secondary level, grades 9-12, are currently required to offer at least one unit in music. A secondary school must provide additional units of elective credit, based on their enrollment, in one or more of nine electives that may include visual art.

Music Standards Information

The North Dakota Content Standards for Music (2000) are “general statements that describe what students should know and the skills they should have in a specific content area.”  The North Dakota Achievement Standards for Music (2000) document “the expected or required level of student performance or understanding. This may be identified within a set of rubrics.”

There are nine Content Standards for North Dakota music students:

  • Standard 1:  Singing
  • Standard 2:  Instrumental Achivement
  • Standard 3:  Improvisation
  • Standard 4:  Composition
  • Standard 5:  Reading Music
  • Standard 6:  Listening
  • Standard 7:  Evaluating Music
  • Standard 8:  Music and Other Disciplines
  • Standard 9:  Music, History, and Culture

North Dakota has music standards separated by Grade Level:  K-4, 5-8, and 9-12. Within each Grade Level, there are one or more Benchmarks aligned to each Standard.

Each Benchmark has a four-point Achievement Standard, which specifies different levels of performance of the Benchmark.  According to page 1, students should achieve a level 3 Achievement Standard to pass a Benchmark.

The Achievement Standards are:

4 Demonstrated exemplary performance; exceeds achievement standard; advanced proficiency.

3 Demonstrates solid performance; meets state achievement standard; proficient.

2 Performance is emerging or developing toward achievement standard; partially proficient.

1 Attempt made but there are serious errors; novice.


The document mentions an Achievement Activity as “An activity that allows students to demonstrate knowledge of the standard.”  However, there are no state designed assessments which are aligned to the Standards and Benchmarks of North Dakota.

Sign-Up for Email Updates

Stay up to date. We'll send out periodic emails on the state of music education standards.