Music Education Standards for South Carolina


Enrollment: 718,000

Music Educators Association

Music/Arts Education Policy

Subject areas in the basic program/curriculum include visual and performing arts. This shall include, but is not limited to, art and music. The state regulation can be found at   The defined programs for K-5 are found in regulations 43-231. The defined programs for 6-8 are found in regulations 43-232, and 234 for high school requirements. South Carolina is implementing the Education Economic Development Act. The law organizes high schools into as many as 16 career clusters. Smaller high schools could have as many as two or three clusters. The arts are included in the Arts, Audio-video Technology, and Communications Cluster. This cluster is the second highest cluster in which students are enrolled in South Carolina. South Carolina has no arts requirment for high school graduation.

Music Standards Information

The South Carolina music curriculum standards are designed to embrace the national standards for music education. Educational systems in the United States have recognized the need for national standards to provide the basis for a common curricula and academic programs throughout the country.

Studies in general, choral, and instrumental (band and orchestra) music are components of a comprehensive music program and are part of the overall school curriculum. One component cannot be the sole provider of music education. A schools music curriculum should include general, choral, and instrumental music courses that encompass all of the national standards and yet place greater emphasis on certain of those standards, depending upon the focus of study. For example, the national content standard 1, Singing alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music, is best addressed in the general or the choral music programs, although instrumental programs should have children sing their instrumental parts. The South Carolina music curriculum standardswhich are divided into general, choral, and instrumental sectionssupport this position.

Choral and instrumental music instruction is not always offered at every grade level in a given school district. Therefore, music teacherswho are held accountable for students attainment of the music standardsmust understand how the music standards provide for sequential learning. The scale used in this document for choral and instrumental music corresponds to the scale used in the national standards. The 3-5/6-8 beginning level standards are for students who have little or no previous training in choral or instrumental methods. The 6-8/9-12 intermediate level provides standards for the middle school student who has some experience or the high school student who is in the first year of study. The 912 proficient level is intended for students who have completed courses involving relevant skills and knowledge for one to two years beyond the eighth grade. Students at the 912 advanced level are expected to achieve the standards established for all students as well as the advanced-level standards.

Many school districts in South Carolina do not introduce choral and instrumental music courses into the curriculum until the middle school level, and most of these courses are offered as electives. Because some students may enter middle school music programs with little or no prior training, it is imperative that the 3-5/6-8 beginning level years be regarded as foundational. It is therefore of critical importance that the scheduling of music classes at the middle school level allow enough instructional time for these beginning standards to be addressed. Teachers for whom contact hours are limited to nine-week exploratory courses or semester-long courses cannot realistically be expected to address all of these standards. Many middle school students can be expected to make progress toward mastering the 6-8/9-12 intermediate level standards.

The scheduling of 6-8/9-12 intermediate level music courses that serve as a students initial exposure to choral and instrumental music instruction should allow sufficient time for the music educator to provide background instruction and the student to build basic skills as well as for the educator to address the 912 proficient level standards.

The 9-12 advanced level standards are designed to reflect the highest possible degree of achievement in music at the high school level. High schools that aspire to build advanced courses to meet the 9-12 advanced level standards should have strong feeder elementary or middle school music programs in place to ensure that these higher standards can be met. The South Carolina uniform grading policy will allow the advanced standards to qualify eligible students for honors credit in their third and fourth years of course work.


Music Assessment

South Carolina has a voluntary arts assessment program. The program is a collaboration between the University of South Carolina Office of Program Evaluation and the South Carolina Department of Education. Currently, we continue to assess fourth-grade music and visual arts students through the SCDE’s Distinguished Arts Program sites, identified through the Arts Curricular Innovation Grants program. The South Carolina Arts Assessment Program (SCAAP) conducted and completed a field test in the spring of 2005 of an entry-level assessment for dance and theatre for grades 7–11. Performance tasks were developed in dance and theater which were piloted in spring of 2007. In addition, SC has developed a middle-level music and visual arts multiple choice and performance task test, which was field tested to seventh graders in spring 2008. The Arts Education Research Project has utilized results from SCAAP to study correlations with SC’s Palmetto Achievement Challenge Test (PACT), now Palmetto Assessment of Student Success (PASS). In 2009–10, approximately 3,300 fourth grade art and music students participated in SCAAP. This is the 10th year of SCAAP. For more information, please visit our website at

Teacher Evaluation

ADEPT is South Carolina’s system for assisting, developing, and evaluating professional teaching. Based on state expectations (i.e., the ADEPT Performance Standards) that are aligned with nationally recognized professional standards, the ADEPT system forms a seamless continuum for educators throughout the entirety of their careers. In addition to applications for classroom-based teachers, the ADEPT system also includes standards and models for assisting, developing, and evaluating special area educators (i.e., school guidance counselors, library media specialists, and speech-language therapists).





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