The updated Illinois Arts Learning Standards identify what is important for students to know and be able to do in the artistic disciplines of dance, media arts, music, theatre, and visual arts. They reinforce best practices in the classroom and provide updated guidance on what constitutes quality arts education.

This suite of tools and resources is designed to support CPS teachers, administrators, and other stakeholders as they work to align their curriculum, instruction, and assessment to the updated Standards and provide outstanding, rigorous arts education to students across the district.

The Illinois Arts Learning Standards

Downloadable Illinois Arts Learning Standards: Access full PDF sets of standards for music, visual arts, theatre, dance, and media arts at this site, hosted by Arts Alliance Illinois.

Standards Overview Documents

Artistic Processes and Anchor Standards: A one-pager detailing the four artistic processes (Create, Perform/Present/Produce, Respond, Connect) and all eleven anchor standards.

Best Practices in Standards-Aligned Arts Education: Six indicators of quality arts education, as defined by the CPS Department of Arts Education, that support the Standards’ ultimate goal of artistic literacy.

Illinois Arts Learning Standards Initiative Report: This report by the Standards Initiative group to the IL State Board of Education summarizes the update process, presents an overview of the standards, and outlines practical strategies for implementing them.


Standards Alignment Diagnostic Tools

Curriculum Alignment Tools

Educators can use these tools to get a big-picture view of how their units align to the performance standards, and to determine which standards/artistic processes need to be further addressed. Educators can choose primary (assessed) standards and secondary standards that they are hitting in each unit; the digital tool auto-tallies the standards that are hit across units and across the year.

Choose your discipline below, then make your own copy of the corresponding tool in “My Drive” (or download it as an Excel file). Or select the PDF for a printable version that can be manually completed.

Dance Curriculum Alignment Tool

Media Arts Curriculum Alignment Tool

Music Curriculum Alignment Tool

Theatre Curriculum Alignment Tool

Visual Arts Curriculum Alignment Tool

PDF Version of Curriculum Alignment Tool – All Disciplines

Curriculum Alignment Self-Reflection: After completing curriculum alignments (above), educators can use this form to reflect on where their units best align to performance standards and where there are areas for growth or adjustment.

Best Practice Alignment Tools

Educator Self-Assessment: Alignment to Best Practices: A tool for educators to reflect on where their own instructional and classroom practices align to best practices in standards-aligned arts education, and where there are areas for growth.


Classroom Tools

Arts Lesson Plan Template: A teacher-vetted Lesson Plan template for arts educators that aligns to standards and best practices.

Arts Unit Plan Template: A teacher-vetted Unit Plan template for arts educators that aligns to standards and best practices.


Standards-Focused Professional Learning

The Department of Arts Education is offering multiple opportunities throughout the school year for CPS teachers and administrators to learn strategies and acquire tools for aligning curriculum, assessment, and instruction to the Illinois Arts Learning Standards, and to see standards-aligned teaching and learning in action.