Findings From First Grant, 2007-2009
1. We do observe effects of arts integration on student achievement, and they are large, and they are statistically significant (with approximately 4,500 students in the treatment group; nearly 30,000 students in all). Because the scope of this intervention was so large, the results are statistically “robust”:
- The biggest gains were in Year 3.
- We had seen some gains in Year 2.
- In a number of instances, the treatment group students started behind the control group students, but caught up and passed these control group students.
2. We see as much as a 25% gain overall in Kindergarten by Year 3. This was the largest effect we saw.
3. We found the more poor the students, the greater the effects (for example, a 6% advantage for first graders receiving a free or reduced-price lunch).
4. Overall, the younger the pupils the larger the effects; the reverse is also true.
5. We see gains for Students with Disabilities. For example, among Students with Disabilities in Grade 1 we saw 6% – 18% gains.
6. We see gains for English Language Learners. Among ELL students in Grade 1 we saw 12% – 18% gains.
7. The biggest surprise: while all students gained from this intervention, students in lower performing schools made greater gains than students in higher performing schools. This is significant because it demonstrates that Arts Impact acts as a protective factor for students who did not have the fortune to be attending one of our high performing schools; Arts Impact acts as a compensatory mechanism for these pupils.
8. While the effects at 3 – 6 were not as robust as K – 2 (with uneven reporting even within 3 – 6), they may be greater – because the testing data on which our conclusions were based – the State Tests – were at that time administered in the winter – so we never captured the effects of the full year. Now that the State Tests are administered in the spring, we may see greater effects, owing only to the timing of the testing.
- But even then we saw some significant gains: In Grade 6 gains of 13% to 20% on the State Tests.
- The switching from Terra Nova to NWEA, in some of our treatment schools, and we were not able to validly compare, also depressed our overall results – they may have been higher.
- Students who were in the original treatment schools, who were now in control schools, did not sustain the gains they originally achieved. We had suspected this (we had seen this in the original America’s Choice evaluation), so this was not a surprise. But we will continue to monitor. There have been studies where effects “disappear” only to reappear in later years.