Dr. Southworth’s Presentation at AERA on April 28 at 2:15pm

Measuring the Effect of Arts Integration on Disadvantaged Students and Their Teachers.

In Event: Best Practices in Teacher Education and Professional Development in the Arts

Fri, April 28, 2:15 to 3:45pm, Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, Meeting Room Level, Room 210 B


Elementary school teachers have used the arts in a variety of ways over the years—as a fun break from content, as an engagement technique or an arts skill lesson and/or as a teaching strategy with the goal of integrating the arts into non-arts subjects. Although the definition of arts integration varies historically in form and concept (Burnaford, Brown, Doherty, & McLaughlin, 2007), the definition used in this research comes directly from the Rochester City School District research site: “Arts integration is the use of arts strategies (singing, dancing/movement, acting, creating art projects) combined with classroom curriculum to help students understand concepts and content.

The research here uses a scientific, randomized, treatment and control design and establishes a logic chain of evidence between sustained teacher learning of arts integration teaching methodology in Common Core elementary classrooms and a variety of benefits that include, acquisition of skills for both students and teachers, transfer and overlap of skills sets through long-term retention of content, instructional improvement and increased student achievement for disadvantaged populations. Arts transfer in this study was identified as overlapping skill learning in multiple contexts (Gardiner, 2008). Students experienced cross-fertilization of the skill sets through analogous thinking and mental stretching (Gardiner, 2008). The outcome of this research is a refined definition of arts integration as a teaching and learning methodology that uses skill learning in the arts integrated with skill retention in curriculum resulting in improved student and teacher learning.


  • Southworth, R., Gardiner, M., & Westervelt, N. (2017). Measuring the Effectiveness of Arts Integration on Instructional Improvement and Student Achievement in Disadvantaged Populations. San Antonio, TX: Paper presented at the American Educational Research Association annual meeting.
Dr. Robert A. Southworth, Jr.

Dr. Robert A. Southworth, Jr.

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