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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Embracing the Burden of Proof: New Strategies for Determining Predictive Links Between Arts Integration Teacher Professional Development, Student Arts Learning, and Student Academic Achievement Outcomes


This article provides a window into Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education’s (CAPE) Partnerships in Arts Integration Research (PAIR) project conducted in Chicago public schools (CPS) (, which statistically demonstrates how a three-year arts integration project can impact treatment versus control students in both academic and arts cluster schools.  A multivariate design framework featuring the development of survey, interview, and performance assessment instruments was used to document and rate multiple aspects of individual teacher and student performance.  This design also included a series of correlation and stepwise regression analyses[i] demonstrating that statistically significant links existed between various teacher professional development outcomes, student arts and arts integration performance assessment outcomes, and academic test results. Overall, these findings offer evidence that students at schools with an arts focus combined with arts integration programming scored higher on state academic tests than did students who received exclusively academic or conventional arts learning instruction. Furthermore, these data revealed that the achievement gap between previously designated low, average, and high performing students had narrowed or disappeared. Because these findings are based on multivariate statistical methods,[ii] researchers were able to identify what sequence of factors was most predictive of achievements in student outcomes.

[i] A statistical process used to sort the single most powerful predictor of academic achievement in the context of many competing factors, which, when considered in isolation, all correlated significantly with a primary outcome variable.

[ii] Methods that allow for exploration of a broad range of possible interrelationships among variables, rather than narrow the scope of inquiry testing for simple one-way causal relationship between two variables


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