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Executive Summary of Arts in Education Research Project



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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY OF ARTS IN EDUCATION RESEARCH PROJECT October 2005 A report submitted to Christine Fisher Director Arts in Basic Curriculum Project Winthrop University Prepared by Ching Ching Yap Office of Program Evaluation College of Education University of South Carolina Project funded by the Arts in Basic Curriculum Project through grants received from the National Endowment for the Arts the South Carolina Arts Commission and the South Carolina Department of Education through contract with the Office of Program Evaluation College of Education University of South Carolina 1 Office of Program Evaluation Executive Summary of Arts in Education Research Project Introduction Background Since 1999 the South Carolina Arts Commission the South Carolina Department of Education and later the Arts in Basic Curriculum Project ABC have co sponsored the Arts Education Research Project to track the progress and effects of arts education reform efforts in various ABC schools across the state The specific purposes of the Arts Education Research Project were to a document the arts instruction in place prior to reform implementation b determine the effects of increased modified or integrated arts instruction and c identify potential influences that promote inhibit or sustain changes in schools that implemented arts reform ABC schools are public schools that received assistance from the ABC Project The ABC Project is a statewide collaborative initiative directed by the South Carolina Arts Commission SCAC the South Carolina Department of Education SDE and the College of Visual and Performing Arts at Winthrop University The project began in 1987 with the goal of ensuring that every child in South Carolina has access to a comprehensive quality arts education Funded by the National Endowment for the Arts NEA the ABC Project completed a blueprint for arts education in 1988 With the assistance and support of state agencies and universities the ongoing effort of ABC project is to assist in the development of innovative standards based arts programs in South Carolina public schools and provide professional development courses for arts and non arts educators Evaluation The evaluation of the Arts Education Research Project is based on a observations of arts classes music visual arts and general education classes ELA Science and Math b surveys of teachers parents and students and c interviews of teachers and administrators The focus of the observations includes the physical condition of the school and classrooms classroom management student behavior classroom supplies and equipment school and classroom displays of artworks and performances and instructional content and approach Topics for the surveys included teacher parent and student attitude towards a the school and community b the school arts program and c the role and impact of arts education on the school in general on student achievement and on student behavior For the interviews the questions emphasized the teachers and administrators perception of the arts programs impact in their schools Additional information regarding the scheduling of arts classes and fund allocation for arts programs was also obtained Finally school enrollment figures discipline records and student achievement based on the non arts state mandated standardized assessment were also obtained for evaluation purposes 2 Office of Program Evaluation This publication is a summary that contains key findings and recommendations based on the four year Arts Education Research Project Yearly reports and additional information of the Arts Education Research Project can be obtained at http ope ed sc edu aerp htm Types of Arts Education Reform Each school in South Carolina that is implementing arts education reform with the assistance of an ABC Project grant is required to have a five year arts strategic plan The strategic plans are written by the arts steering committee members of each school and are designed to address the unique needs of the school with regard to school environment budgeting and student population characteristics Consequently the researchers observed a variety of arts education reform initiatives being implemented The types of arts education reform can be classified into three general categories Arts Enhancement in which the goal is increased opportunities in arts for all students with a modification of the arts curriculum to emphasize standards Arts Integration which emphasizes the integration of the arts into other content areas and the integration of other content areas into the arts Arts Immersion with the central focus of the school on the arts which combines elements of both Arts Enhancement and Arts Integration Based on observations the researchers stipulated that specific types of arts education reform being implemented may contribute to different levels of impact on schools They believed that the types of arts education reform should be considered when conducting comparative studies of arts education reform impacts Further understanding of the differential effects of arts education reform types may assist educators in implementing arts education reform Effects of Arts Education Reform Based on a meta analysis of available data on the effects of arts education reform six primary themes emerged The six themes identified here are the result of a synthesis and analysis of findings from the four year studies of arts education reform Standard Based Curriculum and Content Changes In terms of the quality of arts instruction researchers observed changes in the teaching approaches of the arts teacher who had participated in the professional development courses Those changes included additional efforts to implement arts integrated curriculum use of classroom assessments and alignment of instructions to the state visual and performing arts standards The integration efforts however were mostly observed in arts classes The impact of professional development on students arts achievement was not investigated due to the lack of available standardized arts assessments Without being able to objectively compare students arts achievement evaluation of the quality of those arts programs was limited to anecdotal reports of teachers and administrators and 3 Office of Program Evaluation subjective criteria set up by the evaluators In addition arts teachers reported that their measurement of student arts achievement has been based primarily on a combination of observed student


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