• Research Supporting Artful Learning

    It has been documented that participation in the arts plays a vital role in influencing brain development and performance.1 Music, painting, dance, and drama are cited as essentials to academic and emotional development. They help reduce stress, improve learning, enhance intrinsic motivation, regulate brain chemistry, augment body memory, and literally rewire neural pathways. 2 The arts, often considered “enrichment” in our education programs, may in fact be central to the way humans neurologically process and learn.

     

    The President’s Commission on the Arts and the Humanities together with the Arts Education Partnership published a landmark report documenting arts education in America, Champions of Change: The Impact of Arts on Learning (1999). The findings show that students with high levels of arts appreciation did better than their peers on achievement and behavior measures, and that this difference was more significant in lower socioeconomic groups. The report also concluded that learning in the arts enhances critical thinking and positively affects learning and other domains. Because this publication included over 60

    Studies, some of which summarized the findings from other studies, it is considered to be the most comprehensive look at the subject. A follow-up document, Critical Links: Learning in the Arts and Student Academic and Social Development (2002), offers additional evidence in support of the impact of arts on learning. The full text of both documents can be found at www.aep-arts.org.

     

    SAT scores for students who included the arts in their educational program throughout high school, scored an average of 59 points higher on the verbal portion of the SAT tests and 44 points higher on the math portion than students not involved in the arts.3

     

    1 Jenson, E. (1998). Teaching with the brain in mind. Alexandria, VA:ASCD

    2 Curtis, C. (Jan. 29, 1999). “Throughout the mind’s eye: researchers discuss their scientific explorations of the brain and its role in creating arts.” Los Angeles Times, retrieved from http://infoweb.newsbank.com

    3 FYI, SAT scores and the arts: Consistent results. Teaching Music. Feb.2001, 62-63

     

     

     

    Academic data from the August, 2009 Cresst Report 7601 follows. This includes data from nine schools across the United States that have fully incorporated the Artful Learning Model into classrooms and curriculum. This data demonstrates higher academic achievement particularly in reading and math when compared to other schools in their districts and the comparison schools.

     

    Table 6

    Average Growth in Percentage of Students Meeting/Exceeding State Standards for Artful

    Learning Schools, their Districts, and Matched Comparison Schools (2000–2003)

     

    Reading

    ELA

    Math

    Artful Learning Schools

    11.5

    5.4

    9.7

    District

    5.5

    5.2

    5.9

    Comparison Schools

    4.9

    3

    5.6

     

    Note. Data sources: State Department of Education websites for CA, FL, GA, PA, and OR.

     

    Table 6 displays the average growth over 3 years in the percentage of students

    meeting/exceeding state standards for the nine Artful Learning schools, their districts as a whole, and 18 matched comparison schools (two matched comparison schools for each Artful Learning school). Results are presented for reading, language arts, and math; note that due to state testing policies, five of the Artful Learning schools provided separate scores for both reading and English language arts, two schools provided results for reading only, and two schools provided results for English language arts only. All of the schools provided math scores. 1

     

    Table 7

    Average Growth in Percentage of Students Meeting/Exceeding State Standards by School Year for Artful Learning Schools, their Districts, and Matched Comparison Schools

     

    Year

    Artful Learning

    District

    Comparison

    Reading

     

     

     

    2000–’01

    17.1

    10.5

    14

    2001–’02

    1.5

    1.5

    -2.5

    2002–’03

    -1.4

    -3.8

    -3.5

    ELA

     

     

     

    2000–’01

    8.6

    5.2

    5.1

    2001–’02

    1

    2.5

    -2.4

    2002–’03

    -1.8

    -1

    -1

    Math

     

     

     

    2000–’01

    8.1

    3.8

    4.7

    2001–’02

    2.1

    2.0

    2.5

    2002–’03

    3.6

    2

    2

    Note. Data sources: State Department of Education websites for CA, FL, GA, PA, and OR.

     

    As the Table 7 shows, on average the Artful Learning schools showed a larger growth in the percentage of students meeting and exceeding standards than either their districts as a whole or their matched comparison schools for reading and math, and showed a larger growth than their matched comparison schools in English language arts. When broken down year-by-year, this trend appears most consistent for reading and math; with the Artful Learning schools on average out-performing in growth their districts as a whole and their matched comparison schools for each of the years included in the analysis, as shown in Table 6. For example, even when, on average, there were dips in the percentage of students meeting and exceeding standards year-to-year, these dips were generally less for the Artful Learning schools than for their comparison schools or districts as a whole. 1

     

    Each of the schools showed comparatively greater growth from 2000 to 2002 than its larger district; on average, the Artful Learning schools grew 22% in the students at the two highest designations of writing assessment, while the district only grew an average of 12%. Writing is a particularly important skill area within the Artful Learning framework, as writing-based activities are often used as a bridge between arts and the other content areas, especially as part of the Reflect component of the Artful Learning model. 1

     

    1 Griffin, N. C. & Myoshi, J. (July 2009). Third Year Report: Evaluation of the Artful Learning Program. CRESST Report 760. National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards and Student Testing (CRESST). Center for the Studey of Evaluation (CSE). Graduate School of Education & Information Studies. University of California, Los Angeles