Collecting Program Data

Understanding the current status of your district arts program ensures that your strategic plan will be based in reality. Effective data collection is a critical first step, and provides a valuable baseline for measuring progress in future years. This section explores various approaches and tools for collecting data about your district’s current arts education program.

School Survey of Arts Education Programs

This survey is intended to give a clear idea of arts instruction that is currently provided at each school site.  When you compile the surveys into summary charts, a picture of the overall district arts programs will emerge. From there, areas of greatest need may be identified, and pockets of excellence may be expanded so that equity and access in the four arts disciplines may be provided to every student.

The survey is organized according to the following “focus areas.”

  • Standards Based Curriculum
  • Instruction and Methodology
  • Student Assessment
  • Professional Development
  • Program Administration and Personnel
  • Partnerships and Collaborations
  • Resources and Facilities
  • Program Evaluation

It is suggested that all of these focus areas be assessed. The survey may be conducted using a variety of methods:

  • An in-person interview with the principal or arts teacher at a school site.
  • A phone interview with the principal or arts teacher at a school site.
  • Distribution and completion of the survey by principals at a regular principals’ meeting.
  • Delivery and return via mail or email.
  • A combination of e-mail or mailed survey followed by in-person interviews.

Select the method (or group of methods) that will yield the highest rate of return in your district context — this will result in a more effective planning effort. We have found that assigning one team member to each school and conducting on-site, in-person interviews, is highly effective.

Click here [PDF: 95KB] to access the School Survey of Arts Education Programs, which is provided as a Microsoft Word document to facilitate adapting it for use in your own district.

Elementary School Survey Chart

At the elementary school level, arts instruction may be delivered by the multiple subject classroom teacher, a credentialed single-subject arts specialist or both. The Elementary School Survey Chart has been designed to capture that information.

Click here [PDF: 74KB] to access a blank copy of the Elementary School Survey Chart.

Middle and High School Online Data Sources

At the middle school and high school level, arts instruction is generally provided in elective courses. Information about course offerings and enrollment may be obtained from the California Department of Education’s DataQuest site at:

In California, the current high school graduation requirements include one year of visual and performing arts OR one year of foreign language. However, the University of California/California State University (UC/CSU) admission requirements now include one full year of the visual and performing arts. As a result of this requirement, many districts have adopted the UC/CSU admissions requirements as their graduation requirements, or are augmenting their course offerings to allow their students to be competitive applicants to the UC/CSU system.

Arts Program Data Summary Chart

Once you have collected data through the survey questionnaire, interviews, site visits, or grade level charts, you will need to compile the data into a summary chart.

Click the links below to access both a blank template and a completed sample of the Arts Program Data Summary Chart:

Arts Program Data Summary Chart (blank) [Word Doc: 40KB]

Arts Program Data Summary Chart (completed sample) [PDF: 71KB]