Over this veterans day weekend I watched so many ways in which our country respects the people who guard us, fight for us and sometimes die for us. My family decided to climb an eight story tower on the coast … Continued
The arts play a special role in the lives of citizens. They can engage, challenge and satisfy a vast array of people and they can provide a lasting mark for a society when they are embedded in public works, buildings and museums. In the last ten years interest in the arts has soared, especially around the use of the arts in education. Many educators think the arts stand shoulder to shoulder in importance with other subjects but since testing in English and Math has become the norm in the last twenty years of this “standards-driven” era of reform, educating students about the arts has been steadily reduced. So these last ten years of interest in the arts has some educators arguing for arts for arts sake, i.e., just put the arts back in the curriculum. Other educators have been arguing that the arts do things for students beyond art for art’s sake, i.e., that they help students become more creative, better learners or even that the arts help students with core curriculum such as English and Math.
So these two polarized positions, arts for art’s sake and arts for something else are understood in the field of research as intrinsic and extrinsic positions. However, in my own work, instead of an either/or, intrinsic or extrinsic reason for the arts in education, I have found a range of good reasons for the presence of the arts in schools: from intrinsic reasons such as arts for art’s sake to extrinsic reasons such as arts for better teaching and learning and including arts for student achievement. Most recently, the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, 2014 has just released a report on the use of the arts to helps schools with high-poverty students turn around their performance.
Today’s post is really a shout out to the research team of Kylie Peppler, Christy Powell, Naomi Thompson and James Catterall. Mr. Catterall is at the Center for Research On Creativity at UCLA and the others are working at Indiana University’s School of Education. Their article (Peppler, K., Powell, C., Thompson, N., Catterall, J. (2014). Positive Impact of Arts Integration on Student Academic Achievement in English Language Arts. The Educational Forum, 78(4), 364-377. doi: 10. 1080/ 00131725. 2014.941124) has this to say about their arts research:
Amid the high-stakes testing environments in today’s schools, we argue that high quality arts integration positively influences student academic achievement. Drawing on a longitudinal study of an intensive multi-art integration model implemented in public elementary schools in the Los Angeles area, we found consistent and significant gains in student proficiency on standardized tests of English Language Arts when compared to matched comparison school sites with standalone arts programming (Peppler et. al., 2014, abstract).
Catterall has been leading the charge in researching the effects of the arts on student achievement. This line of research has suffered from methodological design flaws but this current research and my own work in Rochester, NY are helping to uncover these effects through more rigorous designs. Peppler et. al. (2014) found significant results with an arts-integration treatment in 3 treatment schools and 3 matched pair control schools. Average percentage gain for students in the whole school were 11%, while for English Language Learners it was 15%. Researchers cite possible impacts for practice, policy and research.
This paper was just accepted to be presented at AERA in Chicago in April, 2015
Purpose of this Evaluation Report
The purpose of this report is to evaluate an arts integration program in Rochester, NY. The Rochester City School District (RCSD) has won two federal Arts in Education Model Demonstration and Dissemination (AEMDD) grants and this evaluation report covers the third year (2012-2013) of the second grant (2011-2014). The evaluation of the Rochester Arts Impact Study Enhancement (RAISE) is a true experimental design and involves 16,630 K-6 students over four years.
Purpose of AEMDD
The purpose of the Arts In Education Model Demonstration and Dissemination (AEMDD) federal grant is to support the enhancement, expansion, documentation, evaluation, and dissemination of innovative, cohesive models that are based on research and have demonstrated that they effectively:  integrate standards-based arts education into the core elementary and middle school curricula;  strengthen standards-based arts instruction in these grades; and  improve students’ academic performance in ELA and Math, social studies and science, including their skills in creating, performing, and responding to the arts.
On March 20, 2013, John Kania, managing director of a consulting group called “FSG,” presented his research into the uses of “collective impact” by the social sector, followed by a discussion with NEA Director of Arts Education Ayanna Hudson. Both Kania and Hudson then took questions from the public. As defined by FSG, collective impact is the commitment of a group of actors from different sectors to a common agenda for solving a complex social problem. The webinar examined how collective impact can help federal, state, and local leaders move forward in a common direction. – See more at: http://arts.gov/video/nea-arts-education-webinar-collective-impact-part-1#sthash.IjlKCosl.dpuf
Notes of Collective Impact Webinar
I took some notes on the outline of this talk, to get you excited about the language and the importance of these ideas. For example, John mentions five strategies in being successful at collective impact:
mutually reinforcing activities,
backbone support organization.
He came up with these by doing research across multiple sectors, not just education, not just art. These ideas are for working cross sector in the arts, education, etc. He talks about a mindset shift that is needed to be successful at large-scale change: For example, thinking that is more adaptive (answer not know, solution is complex) vs. technical problem solving (if there is a problem, there is a solution); There is no silver bullet, but silver buckshot—the outlook is further out…as in incremental success over time. Credibility vs. credit was another idea where your would demonstrate your organization is producing results but you were also sharing the spotlight.
I want to give the public access to a brief summary of our first study in Rochester, NY on the impact of the arts on student learning. The three year grant (2007-2009) was a quasi-experimental design, 10 schools in the treatment group and 10 schools in control group, to learn the impact of arts integration on student achievement. Our firm was the evaluator for this grant.
Purpose of AEMDD
The purpose of the AEMDD Federal grant is to support the enhancement, expansion, documentation, evaluation, and dissemination of innovative, cohesive models that are based on research and have demonstrated that they effectively: (1) integrate standards-based arts education into the core elementary and middle school curricula; (2) strengthen standards-based arts instruction in these grades; and (3) improve students’ academic performance in ELA and Math, social studies and science, including their skills in creating, performing, and responding to the arts.
Pioneering Performance Assessments
The SchoolWorks Lab, Inc. recommends from previous evaluations (Southworth 2008) that there is a need for a performance assessment system to more accurately and equitably measure the learning outcomes described in the ETSL Templates. There is a vacuum associated with the accurate measurement of complex student performance in education. The arts have a long history of pioneering and were one of the first subject areas to adopt the pursuit of national standards (Consortium of National Arts Education Associations 1994). Researchers (Moss 1996) have argued that assessment is trapped in the psychometric side of understanding, in the standardization of the process across individuals, classrooms, districts and that the creative use of performance assessment might lead to more accurate measurement of student achievement.
For ten years, the SchoolWorks Lab worked with the New York State Council on the Arts. This state arts funding group was responsible for handing out millions of dollars and supporting arts activities around the empire state. In this Common Ground workshop outlined below, Amy Chase Gulden, Phil Alexander and I worked on translating the latest thinking of arts groups into researched stories that could be shared with others:
Transforming your New Thinking
A Common Ground Workshop
On Transforming ETSL Units
Into Public Discussions
In order to Sustain Your Partnership
Between 2008 and 2010, I worked as a consultant for the Theatre Communications Group. Their efforts, called “Building A National TEAM: Theatre Education Assessment Models” supported new types of assessments, consolidated into four models, in order to build the assessment capacity of education departments in American theaters.