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Trying to Prove the Impact of Arts Education


Eduflack contends in an essay-like blog entry, "Arts Education and Quantification," that positive academic outcomes from arts education can be quantified. He implies that educators may have to make use of this kind of data to ensure that the arts keeps a strong presence in U.S. schooling.

I gleaned some new information from the essay. I hadn't known, for example, that the National Assessment of Educational Progress includes data on arts proficiency.

I felt sad reading the essay, however, because I don't want to accept the idea that the arts, which feeds our spiritual and creative sides, needs to be measured in an objective way for people in schools to ensure its survival in the curriculum.

Last evening, I finished reading I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou, for the second time, and she writes about how an after-school theater and dance program was a lifeline for her as a teenager. Why can't such testimonies garner the support that arts education needs?


I totally agree about the importance of art, and music. Teaching students to think creatively not only has a role in school, it has a vital importance. (In the Bloom's taxonomy of higher order thinking, creativity is placed at the very top.)

That said, I think that teachers of every subject area should be encouraging students to think artistically and creatively. There are so many innovative ways to do so.


You hit the point right there: innovative. Music and arts help engage that right side of the brain where innovation and imagination live. I work with MENC: The National Association for Music Education. They are currently conducting a petition drive asking for equal access to music and the arts in schools. Please sign and forward to your friends and family:

Thank you!

You bring up an interesting and pertinent question, Mary Ann, as many educators try to match their passion for the arts with the evidence-based requirements of state and federal funding legislation.

Issuelab has recently put together a unique collection of 60+ case studies on arts education. Research in the collection illuminates many of the topics you touch on, including evaluation practices, integrating art into the everyday classroom, and the positive impact of art on developing creative young minds.

One place you may want to start is the Chicago Arts Partnerships for Education's report on moving towards a "culture of evidence" in their program evaluation which can be accessed here: http://tinyurl.com/m5pov7 I encourage you to explore the wider collection at http://www.issuelab.org/closeup and continue to engage in an informed conversation on this vital social issue!

IssueLab: Bringing Non-Profit Research into Focus http://www.issuelab.org

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