Arts Integration Improves Student Achievement

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: [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.

Project RAISE is an Arts Integration model. This model integrates the arts into Common Core curricula of 10 K-6 elementary schools. Instructional coherence during arts integration included grade-level teams participating in 10 hours of professional development activities and 10 sessions with local teaching artists to learn and employ strategies and techniques to integrate art forms into classroom subjects. Besides experiencing the formal model of arts integration in core subjects, teachers and students in all schools had additional arts experiences that enriched content and connected students to cultural arts institutions.

Two Trial, Random Controlled Trial, Experimental Design
This grant has employed a fully experimental random controlled trial design with treatment and control schools deployed over two grants or trials, seven years (2007-2009; no trial in 2010, and 2011-2014) and approximately 32,000 thousand students. A true randomization was performed on 39 K-6 schools that resulted in 11 randomly selected treatment schools and 28 control schools. In year 2 (2011-2012) one of the treatment schools dropped out and is not included in any analysis.

Summary Results for Grades 3, 4, 5, 6
Overall results on the new Common Core-aligned New York State Tests:

• The total of four grades 3 – 6 realized a 41.4% advantage in ELA and a 38.0% advantage in Mathematics; in other words, 41.4% more students who received arts integration passed the ELA Test, and 38.0% more students passed the Mathematics Test.

• Sixth grade saw the largest comparative advantage, with 88.8% more students in the treatment group passing the ELA and 95.0% more students passing the Mathematics.

• Third grade saw big gains as well, with 57.8% more passing ELA and 55.9% passing Mathematics.

• Fourth and fifth grade realized smaller gains, with 21.9% more fourth graders passing the ELA and 14.9% more passing the Mathematics Test; for fifth grade it was 10.3% more passing the ELA and 4.4% passing the Mathematics.

Dr. Robert A. Southworth, Jr.

Dr. Robert A. Southworth, Jr.

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