Pre-AP Visual and Performing Arts

Offer Pre-AP Arts at your school.

Pre-AP offers four year-long courses in the Arts: Pre-AP Dance, Pre-AP Music, Pre-AP Theatre, and Pre-AP Visual Arts.

These four distinct courses share themes, underlying unit foundations, and areas of focus. Frameworks, model lessons, and performance assessments are specific to each course and are designed to be incorporated into schools’ existing performance-focused arts courses.

Frameworks are structured around skills associated with ideation, experimentation, creation, revision, reflection, and analysis—processes and activities that artists use while producing their work.

Areas of Focus

The Pre-AP Arts areas of focus are vertically aligned to the practices embedded in high school and college arts courses, including AP. This gives students multiple opportunities to prioritize and strengthen these disciplinary skills throughout their course of study.

  • Analysis and interpretation: Students observe, investigate, and discuss a limited number of anchor works, which are works of art central to the themes and content of a particular module, and relate these examples to their own creative work.
  • Peer-to-peer dialogue: Students engage in structured conversations with peers to share ideas, respond to and offer advice on works in progress, critique final works, and discuss next steps.
  • Experimentation: Students generate and consider a range of options for both the technical and expressive content of their work and make purposeful decisions about which options to incorporate in the work.
  • Reflective writing: Students communicate and clarify ideas in writing throughout the creative process: as a component of research and idea generation, in describing works in progress, and in reflecting on final works.

Big Ideas

These big ideas are integrated throughout all modules of each course:

  • Observe and interpret
  • Practice and experiment
  • Research and make
  • Reflect and evaluate
  • Revise and share

Instructional Resources

These resources support teachers as they design instruction for each unit, but do not constitute a full day-by-day curriculum. They are intended to be used alongside local school or district materials to address objectives of the course framework:

  • Course framework: An anchor for model lessons and assessments, the framework defines what students should know and be able to do by the end of the course. Teachers can use this as the primary document to align instruction and course content.
  • Teacher resources: Available in print and online, these include a robust set of model lessons that demonstrate how to translate the course framework, shared principles, and areas of focus into daily instruction.

Additional resources

Pre-AP Theatre. Module 1 requires student access to West Side Story.
Pre-AP Music. The Pre-AP Music course may be used with a variety of ensemble types so the specific works needed may vary based on the ensemble type. In addition to musical instruments, Module 1 requires access to sheet music for the following anchor works:

  • Concert band or orchestra: “Superman Suite” by John Williams/arr. Bob Lowden
  • Orchestra: “Pastorale” from Christmas Concerto by Arcangelo Corelli
  • Chorus: “Pie Jesu” from Requiem by Andrew Lloyd Webber or “The Battle of Jericho” traditional, arranged by Moses Hogan

Assessments for Learning

Unlike other Pre-AP courses, assessments in Pre-AP Arts courses are entirely performance-based and rubric-scored. Students are not given separate creative tasks for the sole purpose of assessment.

Arising from authentic work students complete within a module of study, the assessments are designed to evaluate an entire range of abilities: technical skill development, purposeful refinement and revision, and the student’s ability to reflect upon and communicate about their work.