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art education, field trips, school engagement, test scores


This paper presents second year results from the first ever multi-visit, longitudinal experiment on the benefits from arts-focused field trips. Students in fourth and fifth grades in ten elementary schools in a large urban school district were randomly assigned to receive three arts-related field trips throughout the school year, including an art museum, a live theater production, and a symphony performance or to serve as a control. We find that treatment students exhibit higher levels of school engagement as measured by students’ behavioral infractions and self-reported engagement. We also find that treatment students perform significantly better on their end of year standardized tests, up to 16% of a standard deviation increase. These effects are persistent even one year following treatment. However, the effects appear to be stronger for the first cohort of students in our sample.