Reforms to arts-based GCSEs and A-levels which will be introduced from September 2016 will make the subjects more rigorous and demanding.
The GCSEs are to be re-designed to the same high standards as new GCSEs in the EBacc subjects. The arts subjects affected by the change are art and design, music, drama and dance.
Five other subjects - citizenship, computer science, design and technology, PE and religious studies - are also set to be reformed.
These nine subjects can be included in the new secondary accountability measure, which is based on pupils' progress in several subjects: English and maths, three EBacc subjects and three other subjects.
Content for rigorous new GCSEs in English and maths has already been put together and will be introduced from September 2015.
More students will be encouraged to attain high standards in the arts as a result of the increase in the number of subjects that count in performance tables.
A number of A-level subjects are also set to be reformed, undergoing changes to ensure students have the relevant skills and knowledge to succeed at undergraduate level.
They are to be introduced in September 2016, along with new A-levels in maths, further maths, languages and geography.
Education secretary Michael Gove said: "I am passionate about great art, drama, dance, music and design, and I am determined to ensure every child enjoys access to the best in our culture. I also want all schools to be able to nurture creative talent in every child.
"That is why I am delighted that new high-quality qualifications in creative and cultural subjects will be made available to all students."
The more demanding content for the nine GCSE subjects and six A-levels is to be drawn up by exam boards working in consultation with experts in the fields, such as Arts Council England, the Design and Technology Association and the Incorporated Society of Musicians.
Universities will also be consulted to help create the more demanding A-levels.
Posted by Tim Colman