Skip to Content

Fine arts gets a boost with its own data dashboard

Thursday, December 17, 2020

The fine arts, which include the disciplines of dance, music, theater, and visual arts, are an important part of a well-rounded education. To that end, the Iowa Department of Education has launched The Iowa Arts Education Data Project, an interactive dashboard displaying statewide high school arts course enrollment and participation data.

“The dashboard gives stakeholders a statewide snapshot of high school arts course enrollment and offerings, as well as displays what arts participation looks like across buildings, districts, and Area Education Agencies,” said Department Consultant Angela Matsuoka. “The primary goal of the project is to encourage stakeholders to use the data to improve arts access, equity, and participation in schools across Iowa.

“The dashboard highlights areas of strength as well as needs, so communities can be empowered by the data to make informed and equitable decisions about arts education.”

Historically, fine arts has been thought of as good-to-have but not essential in a school curriculum. But that notion is dated.

“The fine arts require higher-order thinking, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration,” Matsuoka said. “The arts have the incredible potential to celebrate students’ individual perspectives and increase student self-efficacy and agency in unique ways.  When students are creating something, oftentimes in collaboration with peers, and performing or presenting their art forms before an audience, that engagement and ability to communicate in complex ways strengthens students’ self-perceptions and social-emotional learning.”

The customizable and interactive dashboard offers a variety of grain sizes and lenses through which to view the data, displaying high school course and participation data by fine arts discipline and by grade level, gender, and building demographics such as majority race/ethnicity and majority free and reduced lunch status.

The Iowa Arts Education Data Project will promote equity in arts education. By making arts education access and opportunities highly visible, stakeholders can begin to analyze their educational systems with a focus on increasing arts access for all students.

The dashboard displays data that districts and schools are required to report to the state. The dashboard does not display any information on extracurricular fine arts programming or community arts offerings.

Since the dashboard will be updated annually to reflect current data, a long-term goal will be to determine and track arts educational growth and trends over time.

The Iowa Arts Education Data Project is made possible through a partnership with Quadrant Research, a pioneering national leader in arts education data.

To visit the dashboard and learn more about the project, visit

Article Type: 

Printed from the Iowa Department of Education website on March 08, 2021 at 4:30pm.