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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Arts in Education: The Impact of the Arts Integration Program and Lessons Learned

  • Author(s): Miller, Joyce Ann
  • Bogatova, Tania
  • et al.

Erie Arts & Culture (formerly ArtsErie), in partnership with the Union City Area School District, Crawford Central School District, Penncrest School District and Edinboro University in Pennsylvania received Arts in Education Model Development and Dissemination Grant from the U.S. Department of Education in 2010. This grant provided the opportunity to design and implement Arts Integration: From Vision to Implementation,a four-year project that integrated dance, music, visual arts, and drama into existing curriculum. Arts Integrationprovided professional development for classroom teachers and teaching artists and established avenues for their collaboration to design and implement arts-integrated classroom-based learning through an artist-in-residence experience. The purpose of the project was to improve lesson planning and the quality of teaching; student engagement in the learning process and their learning habits associated with the arts; and ultimately, students’ achievement in math and reading. This project reached approximately 900 students annually in participating schools. Student data presented were collected only for students in participating and control classrooms, whose teachers agreed to be included in the evaluation. Included participating, or treatment, classrooms were selected from three schools that experienced arts-integrated learning. Included control classrooms were selected from two schools of similar demographic composition, where the project was not implemented. The data were collected from 54 treatment and 50 control classrooms. The total number of students in treatment classrooms was 969, and, in control classrooms, 962 students.  The total of 35 participating classroom teachers, 32 control classroom teachers, and 16 teaching artists participated in the evaluation part of the project. Arts Integrationproduced a number of positive outcomes for the participating students, as well as teachers and teaching artists, who participated in the program.  This evaluation documented a number of positive outcomes related to quality of teaching, student engagement and learning habits.  At the same time, because the program was time-limited and the level of exposure for individual students was not long-term, the impact of arts-integration on student achievement in math and reading could not be definitively determined.  This article provides a number of recommendations that would enhance the design and implementation of similar arts-integration programs, as well as offers lessons learned with respect to its evaluation.

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