Date of Graduation

7-2020

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Education Policy (PhD)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Education Reform

Advisor

Jay P. Greene

Committee Member

Sarah McKenzie

Second Committee Member

Jonathan N. Mills

Keywords

Art integration, Collaboration Programs, Field Trips, Non-academic outcomes

Abstract

My dissertation evaluates the first year of a three-year intervention, the Windgate School Partnership Program (WSPP), where participating schools participate in three week-long arts integration units taught by resident artists and two educational tours at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art led by museum educators. The WSPP looks to affect students’ academic and non-academic outcomes through an arts-integration program that includes two key features, artist residencies and field trips. A recent meta-analysis of arts integration studies suggests a moderately positive effect on many student outcomes (Ludwig et al., 2017). I use a mixed-methods research design to measure and describe the first-year results. In this mixed-methods study, I examine the following research questions: what non-academic outcomes are associated with participation in the WSPP; what academic outcomes are associated with participation in the WSPP; what the program looks like for participants; and what the participants think of the first year of the program.

For the quantitative portion of this study, I examine how this program affects students’ academic and non-academic skills. Because the program is implemented uniformly in participating schools’ third grade cohort, I use an adjacent cohort, the school’s prior-year third grade cohort, to serve as a comparison group for the treatment third graders. In addition to estimating the average effect of the intervention, I conducted a phenomenological case study to provide a description of what the program entailed and what the program experience was for participants.

The findings from these two arms of my research study indicate a significant, negative effect associated with program treatment on students’ desire to participate in creating art in the future and their self-reported levels of empathy toward others. There were marginally significant, negative effects associated with treatment on students’ desire to consume art as well as their self-reported level of tolerance toward others. From the findings of the qualitative study, students spend the majority of their classroom time participating in visual arts or dance/theater arts activities that support the subject matter for each week in the classroom. Students were engaged and the classroom teachers were supportive. During the field trips, museum educators engaged students’ interest and thinking with a skillful questioning regimen as well as activities that reinforced the content. Students, classroom teachers, resident artists, and museum educators all describe generally positive views on the first year experience; some potential areas of improvement include reworking the classroom teachers’ professional development as well as improving the communication between the two main program providers, the resident artists and museum educators. From these findings, I suggest future policy recommendations when implementing arts integration collaboration programs.

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