Research Tools

research in arts education

See below for research articles, fast facts, and organizations to help with your research on why the arts are an important part of a well rounded education.

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Perpich Center’s Top Eight Research and Evaluation Reports

National Core Arts Standards: A Conceptual Framework for Arts Learning

By National Coalition for Core Arts Standards (2014)

This narrative document outlines the philosophy, primary goals, dynamic processes, structures, and outcomes that shape student learning and achievement in dance, media arts, music, theatre, and visual arts, as articulated in the National Core Arts Standards.

Link to Article

Child Development and Arts Education: A Review of Current Research and Best Practices

By the College Board (2012)

There appears to be fewer resources available that explain the ways in which the latest research in cognitive, social, and emotional development in children and young adults may inform the instructional practices of arts educators. This series of literature reviews aims to address the need for this particular type of information, linking current developmental research with recommended best practices for educators of dance, music, theatre, and visual arts students from grades PreK-14.

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Your Aesthetic Brain: A Growing Case for the Arts

By Susan Magsamen, Founder and Executive Director of the International Arts + Mind Lab, Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine. Courtesy of the Dana Foundation. (2019)

Research in the rapidly expanding field of neuro-aesthetics makes clear that experiencing or creating art sparks a dynamic interplay among brain cells that spearheads billions of changes affecting our thoughts, emotions, and actions. This knowledge elevates the arts to a superpower in its potential for healing and empowerment. Indeed, if we were to design a tool from scratch to improve learning, health, and overall well-being, it would look like the arts.

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The Qualities of Quality: Understanding Excellence in Arts Education

By Project Zero, Harvard Graduate School of Education – Steve Seidel, Shari Tishman, Ellen Winner, Lois Hetland, Patricia Palmer (2009)

This study focuses on the character of excellence through three questions:

  1. How do arts educators in the U.S conceive of and define high quality arts learning and teaching?
  2. What markers of excellence do educators and administrators look for in the actual activities of arts learning and teaching as they unfold in the classroom?
  3. How do a program’s foundational decisions, as well as its ongoing day-to-day decisions, affect the pursuit and achievement of quality?

Questions were investigated through interviews with leading arts practitioners, theorists and administrators; site visits to exemplary arts programs across a range of settings; and a review of published literature.

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Champions of Change: The Impact of the Arts on Learning

By Edward B. Fiske, editor. President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. Arts Education Partnership (1999)

This report identifies how involvement with the arts provides unparalleled opportunities for learning that enables young people to reach for and attain higher levels of achievement. The research provides examples of and evidence why the arts should be more widely recognized for their current and potential contributions to the improvement of U.S. education. Involvement with the arts must be a basic part of the learning experiences.

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Review of Evidence: Arts Education Through the Lens of ESSA

By Yinmei Wan, Meredith J. Ludwig, and Andrea Boyle of the American Institutes for Research (2018)

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the 2015 reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, includes a diverse array of programs and funding streams that states, local educational agencies, and schools might leverage to support school improvement and student success. These programs and funding streams include approaches to teaching the arts and learning about the arts. Policymakers, not just arts advocacy groups and educators, view arts as an essential component in a well-rounded education.

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Reinvesting in Arts Education: Winning America’s Future Through Creative Schools

By the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (2011)

Decades of research show strong and consistent links between high-quality arts education and a wide range of impressive educational outcomes. This is true even though, as in most areas where learning is complex, the research base does not yet establish causal proof. The President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities is making five recommendations for actions to be undertaken by different stakeholders to advance arts education. Those actions are designed to clarify the position of the arts in a comprehensive, well-rounded K-12 education that is appropriate for all students; unify and focus efforts to expand arts education offerings to underserved students and communities; and strengthen the evidence base for high quality arts education.

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