To maintain the National Standard as a useful information collection system over time, periodic revisions are made to the system. About the National Standard contains general information on the goals and principles guiding all revisions.

The National Standard is currently undergoing a revisions process. This process is overseen by the National Standard Working Group and staff members of NASAA and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).

Invitation to Comment

The National Standard Working Group has developed a National Standard Revisions Proposal for review by all stakeholders.

All states, regions, grant management system providers, cultural researchers and other interested parties may comment on the revisions proposal prior to its ultimate consideration by the NASAA board of directors and NEA senior staff. All responses and questions regarding the Revisions Proposal or this process should be submitted to NASAA Research Director Ryan Stubbs by March 25, 2014.

Key documents related to the proposal:

National Standard Revisions Proposal

NEA FY15 Final Descriptive Report Instructions

After this proposal has been reviewed by the field, comments will be considered by the Working Group prior to the proposal being submitted to the NASAA board of directors and NEA senior staff for final approval.

Revisions Process and Background

In 2010, a National Standard Revisions Working Group was formed to initiate consideration of changes to the system to meet the current needs of states, regions, the NEA and NASAA. The Working Group embarked on a comprehensive and inclusive process for assessing revisions needs and options and seeking a broad base of input.

Under the guidance of the Working Group, a field assessment survey was administered to all state arts agencies and regional arts organizations in 2010. In addition to reviewing the detailed findings of this assessment, the Working Group identified major areas of interest and concern important to the formulation of a revisions plan.

As the field assessment results were being considered, the working group received notice from the NEA that the agency would be revising its Final Descriptive Report (FDR) requirements for all NEA grantees, including states and regions. However, specific details on those data needs were not available at that time. A joint NEA/NASAA decision therefore was made to place the National Standard revisions process on temporary hold in order to allow the process to dovetail meaningfully with changes in the NEA's data collection strategies. This decision was made, in part, for the sake of efficiency. (Nobody wanted states and regions to have to modify all of their guidelines, databases and information management systems twice.) It also allowed for the possibility of harmonizing the National Standard and NEA reporting requirements to the greatest possible degree.

The NEA's process for articulating new reporting requirements evolved in stages between 2011 and 2013. The Working Group and NASAA staff provided input to the NEA on the proposed reporting requirement changes to supplement the feedback that the NEA collected directly from Partnership Agreement grants recipients through webinars and e-mail. Final proposed changes were submitted to the Office of Management and Budget in September 2013.

In December 2013, the Office of Management and Budget approved new NEA Final Descriptive Report Instructions affecting NEA fiscal year 2015 / SAA and regional arts organization fiscal year 2016. This approval allowed the National Standard Working Group to reconvene and finalize a revisions proposal. The finalized changes to all NEA fiscal years under consideration are outlined in this memo to the field from NEA State and Regional Project Director Laura Scanlan and are also available in FDR reporting instructions format.

Updated March 2014

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