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The Arts andAfterschool ProgramsA Research SynthesisDeveloped for theu.s. Department of educationTechnical Assistance and Professional Development for21st Century Community Learning Centersby thenational partnership forQuality Afterschool learningAdvancing Research, Improving Education

The Arts and Afterschool Programs: A Research SynthesisSuzanne Stiegelbauer, PhDWith assistance from:Linda Malcolm, PhDTara AdamsJanuary 16, 2008

The Arts and Afterschool Programs: A Research SynthesisThe Arts and Afterschool Programs:A Research SynthesisSuzanne Stiegelbauer, PhDAmong all the fields of study in our schools, the arts are at the forefront in thecelebration of diversity, individuality, and surprise: “the possibilities for growth in andthrough the arts cease only when we do” (Eisner, The Arts and the Creation of Mind,2002).The artist endeavors: to see, to know, to shape, to show. It is also true that by followingin the footsteps of the artist we are led: to see, to know, to shape, to show, and thus cometo recognize, humble or small, the artist in us all (Booth & Hachiya, 2004).INTRODUCTIONRecent years have seen much discussion about the role and value of the arts—music,visual arts, drama, and dance—in and out of the school day. As school districts havehad to turn their attention to the requirements of No Child Left Behind (NCLB),many of them have cut back on the availability of the arts, especially in low-incomeareas. If the arts are not as available in the school day, where do they fit? And whatdo they have to offer that other subjects cannot provide? For many middle and upperclass families, the arts might be accessible through summer programs or privatelessons. For those without resources, engagement with the arts may not be an easyoption. What then is lost?One answer to this question is that the arts present another way for children to learn,and one that potentially provides opportunities for children to succeed where theymight not in other traditional academic subjects. Where language, social status,National Partnership for Quality Afterschool Learning1

The Arts and Afterschool Programs: A Research Synthesisacademic achievement or other factors work against them in a traditional classroom,the hands-on, individualistic strategy of arts teaching provides another way toapproach a problem; teaching artists become alternative models of success andfacilitate the development of a self-concept based on each student’s individual talents(Americans for the Arts, 2004). Again, if the arts are undervalued in many schooldistricts because of other pressures, where will these children receive the benefits ofthe arts, either as arts education or using the approach of the arts as a way to teachother subjects through arts integration? Afterschool programs have become oneoption.There are few afterschool programs that would not acknowledge the fact that childrenenjoy and learn from the arts; whether taught only one afternoon, or using localmusical talent to produce a musical--the arts in many cases are a major attractionfactor. Many of these programs do not have trained art teachers and are unable to gobeyond occasional activities. Unless they have been able to develop a partnershipwith an arts organization, train their own staff, or find funding for a visiting artist,more in-depth work with the arts is unlikely despite its acknowledged value(Stiegelbauer, 2007). If research has shown the arts to have value to learning andacademic achievement, as well as to self-confidence and reaching disengaged youth,how can afterschool use this arts advantage in their programs? In what ways are thearts important; what does research have to say about how the arts have contributed tolearning and self-efficacy? What is unique about the arts in Afterschool settings?National Partnership for Quality Afterschool Learning2

The Arts and Afterschool Programs: A Research SynthesisOver the last ten years, a large number of research studies and compilations ofresearch on the effects of the arts have come forward. These studies cross the artforms—music, visual arts, drama, and dance, providing slightly different findingsdepending on the art form that was part of the research. After the first wave ofgeneral findings, researchers began to look more specifically at the intrinsic andextrinsic value of the arts as well as at the kinds of transfer occurring between artsinstruction and academic achievement. In broad overview, all these research studiesreinforce the idea that students exhibit enhanced learning and achievement wheninvolved in a variety of arts experiences. Such studies showed that the arts1: Reach students in ways that they are not otherwise being reached Reach students who are not otherwise being reached Connect students to themselves and each other Transform the environment for learning Provide learning opportunities for the adults in the lives of young people Provide new challenges for those students already considered successful Connect learning experiences to the world of real work Enable students to have direct involvement with the arts and artists Require significant staff development Support life-long and occasionally professional engagement with the artisticprocess.1A number of studies of the arts mention similar factors, including Champions ofChange (Fiske, 1999), the Wallace Foundation’s Gifts of the Muse (McCarthy et al,2004), Critical Links (Deasy, 2002), the Arts Education Partnership’s Third Space(Stevenson & Deasy, 2005), and the Annenberg Foundation’s The Arts and SchoolReform (2003).National Partnership for Quality Afterschool Learning3

The Arts and Afterschool Programs: A Research SynthesisMany of these same themes can be seen in research on the potential of afterschoolenvironments as described by Miller in Critical Hours (2003). This synthesis ofresearch found that afterschool programs provide students with opportunities to learnfrom adults and peers through hands-on activities that hold interest and develop skillsand a sense of competence. This holds true regardless of the age (preschool to highschool) or the locale of the student (urban to rural). The studies included in theCritical Hours synthesis show that: Students who participate in extracurricular activities and community servicehave higher academic achievement, even when other factors that affect schoolsuccess are taken into consideration Students who attend afterschool programs are more engaged in learning Increased engagement in learning can result in higher academic performance Afterschool programs have a special role to play in reducing racial andincome achievement gaps, especially in providing access to enrichmentactivities common to higher income students (Miller, highlights, 2003).Definitions:Intrinsic: has a value in itself, i.e. the arts have value just because individualsenjoy their experience with them.Extrinsic: a value placed from the outside, i.e. the arts have value because theyimprove students’ ability to problem solve.Instrumental: the arts play an important role in achieving certain results, such asdeveloping an improved capacity for math.Transfer: what has been learned through one method can be moved to another,i.e. what is learned through the arts “transfers” to learning in other subjects.National Partnership for Quality Afterschool Learning4

The Arts and Afterschool Programs: A Research SynthesisTHE NATURE AND LIMITATIONS OF RESEARCH ON THE ARTSOR ARTS IN AFTERSCHOOLConducting research on the value and effects of the arts is not an efficient endeavor.Whether the research looks at the impact of arts education (where work with one ofthe arts is the subject of research), or arts integration (where an academic goal is setusing the arts as a strategy), looking for outcomes most often is done through aqualitative method—case studies, ethnographic work, observation and interviews—with, perhaps, a quantitative comparison added if the study requires it. A quantitativestrategy would be to compare the students involved with the arts to students who arenot involved and see what difference their grades are in a particular subject (musicstudents and math: Catterall et al, 1999), or their academic outcomes in general(students with high arts involvement—more time with the arts—have better academicscores than students with low arts involvement (Burton et al, 1999). The quantitativeoutcomes may or may not be statistically significant. Many of the capacities oftendescribed as a result of arts learning (such as creative thinking, imagination, etc.) arealso dimensions that can be attributed to learning in other subject areas (Burton et al,2000).Burton, Horowitz and Abeles (2000) in their research with 2,406 students in 12schools on the question of transfer (arts skills to academic areas) struggled to create aresearch design that reduced other variables. Yet they say, “when considering ourresults, the reader should keep in mind that we worked within real schoolNational Partnership for Quality Afterschool Learning5

The Arts and Afterschool Programs: A Research Synthesissettings .we did not introduce an experimental ‘treatment’ or only observe whereteachers intentionally taught for transfer. By relying on children’s memories of theirpast arts experiences, we undoubtedly added error . but made our results moreconvincing” (2000, 238).Heath and Roach (1998) studied three out-of-school youth programs, one focused onathletics, one community centered, and one arts based. To their surprise, it was thearts based program that was the rich cognitive environment, an unanticipated findinggiven the three settings. Through their anthropological collection and analysis ofstatements made by students and adults involved with the program, they found thatthe arts program had the greatest effect on attitude, self-confidence, and skilldevelopment. They compare the research process to a comment an art student made:“in prose you try to tell everything that happened; in poetry you leave out things onpurpose so that you can tell the truth” (1998, 33). They go on to say that “it is notpossible—in prose or poetry—to portray all that goes on in the learning that happensthrough participation in the arts within youth organizations,” though, qualitatively,they can describe many of the outcomes and the essence of the organizational life thatseems to create them. Qualitative research takes time, especially as it involves thedevelopment of youth who are changing before your eyes.Likewise with afterschool research. Afterschool programs are as different as thepeople involved. They are different in community, in strategy and goals, inresources, in curriculum, in teachers and teaching, and in student populations. InNational Partnership for Quality Afterschool Learning6

The Arts and Afterschool Programs: A Research Synthesissetting questions about the arts in afterschool environments, similar researchstrategies emerge: descriptive and qualitative to capture a portrait of the afterschoolenvironment; statistical comparisons of students and student academic outcomes.Studies of the arts in afterschool are largely limited to evaluation projects (SnellJohns et al, 2006; Ingram & Seashore, 2003; Wolf, 2003) with some exceptions(Heath, 1998, Fanelli & Klippel, 2001 as a sample). The majority of researchaddresses art education in school day settings, or independent programs in the arts;a few studies address arts integration or project-based learning (AEP, 2006).Choosing Studies to Be Included in This SynthesisStudies were selected from searches in the Educator Reference Desk, ERIC, EBSCO,databases with categories “afterschool” and “Arts” and “Programs” and “At-Risk”and “Arts Education” and “Artist Residencies” and “Museum educational programs”among others. Further articles were located by using initial research to search forother research. Also utilized were large searchable databases about and for the are:Americans for the Arts, National Educational Report Card, Kennedy Center,ArtsEdge, etc. Large meta-analysis, annotated bibliographies and research reviewswere important pieces of data. Publications such as Critical Links, Critical Hours,and Champions of Change, were helpful not only in providing summaries butbibliographies that lead to other sources. Most of the studies included here are datadriven utilizing qualitative, quantitative, and mixed method research strategies. Aneffort was made to find studies that had an empirical base or experimental model.National Partnership for Quality Afterschool Learning7

The Arts and Afterschool Programs: A Research SynthesisFurther, the studies included were selected based on the following criteria:1. They represent high quality national and international efforts to understand thevalue and application of the arts to learning2. They include analyses of large samples, or3. The study addresses a specific example of application, e.g. the relationship ofmusic to mathematics learning, or visual arts to reading4. Primary investigators are external, known and reliable5. A reasonable causal link is made for findingsThere are many studies that could have been included; and many that represent gooddescriptions or applications of a use of the arts for learning. However, they wereexcluded because they did not meet the broader criteria described above, or becausethey did not address one or more of the questions set out for investigation in thispaper.Questions used for structuring synthesisIn considering what we might want to know about the research on the arts that wouldbe of value to afterschool, the following questions were developed to guide thesynthesis:1. What is the value of arts education and its relationship to learning as a generalpremise?2. How have the arts been used by afterschool programs?3. And, what effects might be seen in working with the arts, especially effectsrelated to academic achievement and student self-efficacy, in either setting?National Partnership for Quality Afterschool Learning8

The Arts and Afterschool Programs: A Research Synthesis4. What recommendations come from research and expert opinion as to what isimportant for the arts or teaching with or through the arts in afterschool?RESEARCH ON THE VALUE AND RELATIONSHIP OF THE ARTS TOLEARNINGThe importance of the arts. A place to start in this section would be with twonational compilations of research that stand as hallmarks for an increased interest andinvestigation of the relationship of the arts to learning. The first is the researchpresented by Champions of Change: The Impact of the Arts on Learning, a studyconducted by the Arts Education Partnership in cooperation with the President’sCommittee on the Arts and Humanities, and funded by the GE fund and the John D.and Catherine T. MacArther Foundation (Fiske, 1999). This five-year study wasconducted by seven teams of researchers looking at a variety of art educationprograms using diverse methods. These studies covered both in-school and out-ofschool settings. The studies included: The Imagination Project at the University of Los Angeles, analyzing data onmore than 25,000 students to determine the relation of engagement in the artsto student performance and attitudes (conducted by James S. Catterall). School programs for youth in poor communities—looking at the qualities thatmade programs in the arts, sports, and community service effective sites forlearning and development. This study illustrated ways that involvement withthe arts influenced success in and out of school (Shirley Brice Heath).National Partnership for Quality Afterschool Learning9

The Arts and Afterschool Programs: A Research Synthesis Arts education programs in elementary and junior high schools (Burton,Horowitz, and Abeles of Columbia University). The Chicago Arts Partnership in Education (CAPE), a partnership of 23 localschools, 33 art organizations and 11 community based organization thatintegrated arts with learning across the curriculum (James Catterall and theNorth Central Regional Educational Laboratory). The offerings of Arts Connection, the largest provider of arts educationprogramming to the New York City public school system (National Center forGifted and Talented, University of Connecticut). Two teacher training programs of Shakespeare & Company: the NationalInstitute on Teaching Shakespeare and the Fall Festival of Shakespeare (SteveSeidel, Harvard University’s Project Zero). The Creating Original Opera Program of the Metropolitan Opera Guild(Dennie Palmer Wolf, Harvard Graduate School of Education).All of these studies found that learners could attain higher levels of achievementthrough their engagement with the arts, especially students from disadvantagedcircumstances. The programs and institutions examined in these research projectswere selected because they were making a difference and were “models ofexcellence”. They all had the following criteria:1. They enabled young people to have direct involvement with the artsand artists2. The provided the necessary staff development3. They supported extended engagement in the artistic processNational Partnership for Quality Afterschool Learning10

The Arts and Afterschool Programs: A Research Synthesis4. They encouraged self-directed learning5. They promoted complexity in the learning experience6. They allowed management of risk by the learners7. They engaged community leaders and resources.Important to all the studies was the phenomena of the arts as a learning strategydifferent from that in the school day. Students in these studies engaged in learningexperiences that broadened their outlook in personal and academic ways. Many ofthem learned through strategies that would not have been accepted in a day schoolenvironment, might have even gotten them in trouble (Oreck et al, 1999). Allbenefited from involvement with adult models, such as artists, that offered themanother way to see adult work and roles. These effects were particularly marked indisadvantaged communities.If Champions of Change broke ground for public acknowledgement and furtherresearch of the role of the arts in learning, Critical Links: Learning in the Arts andStudent Academic and Social Development (Deasy, 2002) illustrated further how thearts work to broaden students’ social and academic skills. This compendiumsummarizes and discusses 62 research studies, conducted in a variety of settings andmethodologies. Taken as a whole these studies presented themes related to thefollowing categories2:2Catterall, James (2002). A Summary of Findings from Critical Links. The listshown here represents findings across a number of studies included in Critical Links.National Partnership for Quality Afterschool Learning11

The Arts and Afterschool Programs: A Research Synthesis The arts and children at risk: the arts contribute to basic readingcomprehension and achievement motivation through nurturing feelings ofcompetence and engagement, especially for economically disadvantagedchildren. These children also showed increased attendance and fewerdiscipline referrals. Special populations: arts activities associated with outcomes related to writingand reading skills, oral language skills, and sustained attention and focus.Arts activities had special value to English Language learners, low SESstudents, special education, and students who responded to different learningstrategies. Differentiated groups: the studies in Critical Links identify no fewer the 84separately distinguishable, valid effects of the arts when differentiated amonggroups of children who benefit, from children at risk to all children. Literacy Skill development: the arts pay off greatly in the areas of readingskills, language development, and writing skills, as well as general academicskills. Fundamental Thinking Skills and Capacities: Learning in individual art forms,as well as in multiple arts experiences engages and strengthens suchfundamental cognitive capacities as spatial reasoning, conditional reasoning,problem solving and creative thinking. Motivation to Learn: Learning in the arts nurtures motivation, including activeengagement, disciplined and sustained attention, persistence and risk taking.It also increases attendance and interest in pursuing education.National Partnership for Quality Afterschool Learning12

The Arts and Afterschool Programs: A Research Synthesis Effective Social Behavior: Learning in certain arts activities promotes studentgrowth in self-confidence, self-control, self-identity, conflict resolutions,collaboration, empathy, and social tolerance, and attention to moraldevelopment. Specific contributions of each of the arts: many of the studies looked at musicand classroom drama with their predictable effects on literacy and math; fewerlooked at dance and visual arts. Highlights include:o Music: important impacts on brain functions related to spatialreasoning and spatial-temporal reasoning, or the relations of ideas andobjects in space in time. This includes problem solving, mathematics,and creative scientific processes.o Drama: shows consistent effects on narrative understanding as well ason identifying characters and the motivations, reading and writingskills and interpersonal skills, collaboration and conflict resolution.o Dance: contributes to self-confidence, persistence, social tolerance,and appreciation of individual and group social development;indirectly also to originality, fluency, flexibility, and creative thinking.o Visual Arts: increases reading readiness in preschoolers, drawing helpscommunication and writing, contributes to science, history, andreading skills.The 62 research studies that are a part of Critical Links range from “The effects of amovement poetry program on the creativity of children with behavioral disorders” to“Strengthening verbal skills through the use of classroom drama: a clear link” to “theNational Partnership for Quality Afterschool Learning13

The Arts and Afterschool Programs: A Research Synthesiseffects of three years of piano instruction on children’s cognitive development”.While there are likely many other studies that could have been included in thisnational compilation, Champions of Change and Critical Links laid the foundation forputting elements associated with the arts into discussions about learning, cognition,instructional strategies, and curriculum content and design. The Arts EducationPartnership (AEP), the publisher of Critical Links, currently publishes a quarterlynewsletter featuring articles and resources on emerging issues related to artseducation and promising practices3. As with Critical Links, their ongoing focus is torevel the important relationships between learning in the arts and cognitive capacitiesand motivations that underlie academic achievement and effective social behavior.The political environment of research. These two compilations of studiescome out of a political and social environment where arts advocates are trying toemphasize that the arts are “basic” to education, not something to be disenfranchisedby the emphasis put on academic subjects by the politics of the time. While No ChildLeft Behind states that the Arts are a “core subject,” in reality many School districtshave redirected resources to work on improving literacy and math scores leaving thearts behind. Arts communities increasingly made a case for the arts in terms of theirinstrumental benefits to individuals and communities. This trend started with the late1990’s with studies that looked at the relationship between arts education andacademic growth. Many of these earlier studies were focused on the benefits of artseducation in relation to its potential to level the “learning field” across socio-3http://www.aep-arts.orgNational Partnership for Quality Afterschool Learning14

The Arts and Afterschool Programs: A Research Synthesiseconomic boundaries. Catterall (1998, 1999) in his reviews of the Chicago ArtsPartnership (23 schools, 33 arts organizations, 11 community organizations) and theImagination Project, Involvement in the Arts and Success in Secondary Schools,found that sustained involvement with the arts makes a difference in academicproficiency (especially music and math) and developmental growth.Burton, Horowitz and Abeles of Columbia University (1999) in looking at “LearningIn and Through the Arts” found that students in the arts performed better than non artstudents on measures of creativity, fluency, originality, elaboration and resistance toclosure; they took more risks in learning, and were more able to layer one thoughtupon another and to see problems from different perspectives. Further, they foundthat there is clear empirical evidence that children are less able to extend theirthinking in a narrowly conceived curriculum in which the arts are either not offered orare offered in limited or sporadic amounts.Dennie Palmer Wolf (2003) in her longitudinal study of student outcomes related toprograms of Dallas ArtsPartners, an arts and cultural education service for schoolsand afterschool, found that students working with ArtsPartners-enriched lesson cyclesshowed significant growth on the Reading Texas Learning Index--6 percentage pointshigher than those students who did not receive ArtsPartners enrichment. This wasparticularly true of students of color. African American students involved withArtsPartners curriculum were an average of 16.09 points higher than their peers;Hispanic students 4.98 points higher. Disadvantaged students showed generallymoreNational Partnership for Quality Afterschool Learning15

The Arts and Afterschool Programs: A Research Synthesisaccelerated growth than other groups. ArtsPartners infused curriculum had a positiveimpact on students across ethnic, socio-economic, and academic separations.Ingram and Seashore (2003) working with the Annenberg Foundation, evaluated theeffects of the “Arts for Academic Achievement Program”, an integrated arts programin the Minneapolis Public Schools (45 schools ranging from elementary to highschool). They found a significant relationship between arts integrated instruction andimproved student learning in reading and mathematics. Further, this relationship wasmore powerful for disadvantaged learners, helping to close the achievement gap. Itwas not the mere presence of arts integration that made the difference but theintensity of it that related to gains in student learning, especially in reading and math,intensity in this case meaning, using the arts or an arts strategy frequently,persistently, and for a long period of time. It may be valuable to remember that thearts reflect the senses--vision, hearing, touching, moving, speaking, and feeling--andas such provide different ways for the brain to collect and synthesize information(Stiegelbauer, 2000). As with multiple intelligences, the more pathways for learning,the more likely learning will occur.The debate about benefits. The emphasis on the instrumental benefits of thearts has engendered a response requiring more evidence of the truth of benefits. Giftsof the Muse: Reframing the Debate About the Benefits of the Arts (McCarthy et al,2004), a study commissioned by the Wallace Foundation, evaluated the strengths andweaknesses of the instrumental benefit arguments and made the case that a newNational Partnership for Quality Afterschool Learning16

The Arts and Afterschool Programs: A Research Synthesisapproach to understanding the benefits of the arts is needed. The authors call for agreater recognition of the intrinsic benefits of the arts experience, their value toindividuals and their life paths, and link the realization of those benefits to the natureof arts involvement. They emphasize the importance of sustained involvement in thearts to the achievement of both instrumental and intrinsic benefits. The authorsfound that most of the empirical research on instrumental benefits suffered fromconceptual or methodological limitations, especially as related to a lack oflongitudinal study. The authors emphasize a need to examine the intrinsic benefits,such as pleasure, expanded capacity for empathy, cognitive growth, the creation ofsocial bonds, the expression of communal meanings, and the phenomenon of raptabsorption that can more the individual away from everyday reality. They suggestthat promoting early exposure to the arts and supporting or creating circumstances forrewarding arts experiences would go a long way to creating a context for bothintrinsic and some instrumental benefits of arts exposure.Harvard’s Project Zero’s Project REAP (Reviewing Education and Arts Project,Winner & Hetland, 2000) which conducted 10 meta-analyses of 188 reportsinvestigating the relationship between one or more arts areas to one or more academicareas found that there was a clear causal link between education in an art form andachievement in a non-arts academic area, especially in the areas of music and spatialtemporal reasoning and classroom drama and verbal skills. They caution however,that many of the studies, are not structured to test causal hypotheses and show resultsthat might be based on other factors (Winner & Hetland, 2002). They suggest that anNational Partnership for Quality Afterschool Learning17

The Arts and Afterschool Programs: A Research Synthesisimportant information base is not necessarily instrumental relationships, but whatcognitive, affective, and social skills are taught and learned in arts classes, especiallywhen taught well. In a high school study in process, Winner & Hetland describe howstudents are being helped to reflect about their work, to evaluate their work and thatmade by other, to learn from their mistakes, and to see in new ways (2002, 5).Whether their art learning transfers or influences their work with other subjects isdifficult to map.The debate about intrinsic and instrumental benefits of arts instruction continues withCritical Evidence: How the Arts Benefit Studen

the arts is the subject of research), or arts integration (where an academic goal is set using the arts as a strategy), looking for outcomes most often is done through a qualitative method—case studies, ethnographic work, observation and interviews— with, perhaps, a quantitative