Studies, Findings, and Resources

NAEA Research Commission

Research Reports

ArtsEdSearch is the nation’s hub for research on the impact of the arts in education. You can find summaries of relevant studies by using the search box, or by browsing research by outcome.

Advancing Arts Education Through an Expanded School Day: Lessons from Five Schools (June 2013)
This is a joint study by the National Center on Time & Leaning and the Wallace Foundation. Researchers focused their work on five questions:
1) How does the school take advantage of arts education?
2) How does the school balance its human resources to accommodate teachers’ professional experiences and students’ learning?
3) How does the school integrate the arts into academic subjects?
4) What skills and competencies do educators expect students to develop?
5) What has been learned about the arts in schools?

Despite differences among the schools, there are three common approaches to arts education:
1) Educators view arts classes as a core element of their educational program;
2) The central role of the arts is reflected in how educators organize their day; and
3) Educators value that the arts affect students’ engagement and achievement in school.

Arts Education for America’s Students, A Shared Endeavor
The National Art Education Association (NAEA), in partnership with 12 national arts and education organizations, has released Arts Education for America’s Students, A Shared Endeavor, a statement outlining the importance of high quality arts education and those responsible for providing it to students. A Shared Endeavor articulates the purpose and value of art education in the balanced curriculum of all students, asserts its place as a core academic subject area, and details how sequential arts learning can be supported by rigorous national standards and assessments.

AERA SIG Communication of Research
Included are links to approximately 125 electronic journals in the field of education that are scholarly, peer-reviewed, full text and accessible without cost.

Americans for the Arts - Reports and Data
To make a case for the arts and expand arts programs and initiatives in your community, you need the power of data to inform your decisions and build support for those decisions. Find a wide array of information and data-rich resources, publications, reports, fact sheets, and tool kits to help you do just that.

Americans for the Arts - Research Studies & Publications
We know how hard you work to build arts programs in your community. Americans for the Arts produces a number of annual publications, e-newsletters, and reports to help you make the case for arts funding, educate lawmakers and citizens, and lead effective advocacy campaigns. We also conduct and produce research, surveys, and reports about the arts in America to provide quantitative, measurable impact of our field. See: Americans for the Arts Publications; Arts & Economic Prosperity IV; Arts Index; and Creative Industries.

Measures of Teaching Effectiveness
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has released its third and final research report on Measures of Teaching Effectiveness. Media coverage of the release has been extensive. In addition to the three reports, a set of guiding principles (see below) has also been issued. The MET project’s reports and publications are available on the project’s website.

NAEA-AAMD Research Study: Impact of Art Museum Programs on K–12 Students
The NAEA Museum Education Division and its partner, the Association of Art Museum Directors, have completed a large-scale impact study investigating the question, What are the benefits to students of engaging with original works of art within the context of object-based art museum programs that take place during the formal school day? We hope to build on and significantly amplify the limited prior research that exists about the impact of art museum programs on participants. Our goal is to explore, at a large scale, how engaging directly with original works of art within the distinctive physical and social setting of art museums and through constructivist pedagogies, might lead to or heighten a range of student outcomes. The Samuel H. Kress Foundation provided a generous grant award to support the planning year for this impact study, which began on August 1, 2014.

National Endowment for the Arts Releases Study of Arts and Early Childhood Research
In their first years, children experience rapid and important emotional, physical, and cognitive growth. What role do the arts play in early childhood development? A new report from the National Endowment for the Arts looks at research on how the arts affect young children from birth to age eight. The news is good, but several research questions remain, according to this literature review.

The Arts in Early Childhood: Social and Emotional Benefits of Arts Participation: A Literature Review and Gap-Analysis (2000-2015)
The Arts in Early Childhood synthesized findings from 18 recent reports in psychology and education research journals. These studies focused on the social and emotional outcomes of young children who participated in art forms such as music, dance, theater, drawing, and painting. These quantitative studies looked at typically developing populations, as well as children with autism spectrum disorder. For more information go to

President’s Committee for the Arts and Humanities Releases Arts Education Study Reinvesting in Arts Education: Winning America’s Future Through Creative Schools
Reinvesting in Arts Education makes a compelling case for arts education and the essential role it will play in preparing students for success in the knowledge and innovation economy. This report shows us the link between arts education and achievement in other subjects. It documents that the process of making art –– whether is it written, performed, sculpted, photographed, lmed, danced, or painted –– prepares children for success in the workforce not simply as artists, but all professions. Most importantly, it makes a compelling argument for creating arts-rich schools and engaging artists in ways that complement the study of other subjects such as literature, history, science, and mathematics.

The Qualities of Quality: Understanding Excellence in Arts Education (June 2009)
This study, “The Qualities of Quality: Understanding Excellence in Arts Education” was authored by staff at Project Zero at Harvard University, and commissioned by the Wallace Foundation with additional support from Arts Education Partnership. The study was designed around three questions:
1) how do arts educators in the United States define high quality arts learning and teacher?
2) What do educators and administrators look for as markers of excellence? And
3) how do foundational and daily decisions affect pursuing and achieving quality?

Results follow a series of trends including that quality is tied to values, identity, and meaning; quality has overlapping dimensions, including learning, pedagogy, community dynamics, and environment; and the pursuit of quality is affected by who is teaching, where teaching takes place, what is being taught, and how programs are assessed.

SNAAP Releases Study on Arts Graduates
The Strategic National Arts Alumni Project has released its findings from the fall 2010 survey of over 13,500 alumni of 154 arts high schools, arts colleges and conservators, and arts schools and departments within universities. The report is entitled Forks in the Road: The Many Paths of Arts Alumni. Respondents include graduates form fine arts, theater, dance, music, creative writing, media arts, film, design and architecture programs. The results provide insights into the lives and careers of arts graduates including what they studied in school, satisfaction with their educational training and experiences, the various jobs they have held, their involvement in the arts outside of work, and additional demographics. The findings are very positive. For example, 92% of those who wish to work currently are, with most finding employment soon after graduating. The study found that most 80% of professional fine artists were very satisfied with the opportunity to be creative at work.

Government Documents

ArtScan, a project of the Arts Education Partnership, is a searchable clearinghouse of the latest state policies supporting education in and through the arts from all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

STATE OF THE STATES 2016 - Arts Education State Policy Summary
The State of the States 2016 summarizes state policies for arts education identified in statute or administrative code for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Information is based on a comprehensive search of state education statute and codes on each state’s relevant websites. Complete results from this review are available in an online searchable database at

10 Years of Arts Integration from the U.S. Department of Education
In the past 10 years, the Arts in Education Model Development and Dissemination (AEMDD) and Professional Development for Art Educators (PDAE) grant programs have unleashed the creative minds of students, deepened their learning experiences in core academic subjects through arts integration, and enhanced the knowledge and skills of teachers to meet high standards in the arts. Both programs emphasize collaborations between school districts and non-profit organizations that result in a well-rounded education for all students as well as greater student engagement across the curriculum and increased school attendance by both students and teachers. In addition, AEMDD projects, using rigorous evaluation measures, have documented gains in academic achievement by students involved in arts-integrated teaching and learning compared to their peers.

Arts and Achievement in At-Risk Youth: Findings from Four Longitudinal Studies (National Endowment for the Arts)
Having the arts in young people’s lives is essential; we know that intuitively. Parents sing to their babies, dance with their toddlers, and occupy children with crayons and paper. And there was a time in this country when schools did their parts: bands, choruses, theatricals, and art studios used to fill the days alongside the 3 Rs, gym, social studies, science, and the rest. But over the past four decades, budget pressures andan increasing focus on just reading and math have crowded the arts out of too many school days. What’s lost? The chance for a child to express himself. The chance for the idiosyncratic child who has not yet succeeded elsewhere to shine. A sense of play, of fun, of discovery. James Catterall and his fellow authors have shown that something else is lost, too: potential. Students who have arts-rich experiences in school do better across-the-board academically, and they also become more active and engaged citizens, voting, volunteering, and generally participating at higher rates than their peers.

Arts Education in Public Elementary and Secondary Schools: 1999-2000 and 2009-10
This report presents selected findings from a congressionally mandated study on arts education in public K–12 schools. The data were collected through seven Fast Response Survey System (FRSS) surveys during the 2009-10 school year. This report provides national data about arts education for public elementary and secondary schools, elementary classroom teachers, and elementary and secondary music and visual arts specialists. Comparisons with data from the 1999–2000 FRSS arts education study are included where applicable.

Additional Supplemental Table: Number and percent of students in public elementary and secondary schools without instruction designated specifically for music, visual arts, dance or drama/theatre, by school poverty level: school years 2008-09 and 2009-10
Additional Supplemental Table: Percent of public elementary and secondary schools with instruction designated specifically for music, by school type: school years 2008-09 and 2009-10
Additional Supplemental Table: Elementary Schools With and Without Music Specialists

Improving the Assessment of Student Learning in the Arts–State of the Field and Recommendations, Commissioned by NEA
Given the increased focus on assessment and accountability since the 1990s, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) identified the need to capture the current status of arts assessment. In 2005, the NEA began requiring a narrative statement of assessment practices to apply for arts education funds. Project applicants needed to explain their assessments methods and types of tools used to measure student knowledge and skills. Through several grant cycles, it became clear to NEA staff that applicants did not necessarily differentiate between program evaluation and assessment of student learning. As such, the NEA commissioned WestEd to examine current trends, promising techniques, and successful practices being used to assess student learning in the arts throughout the country, as well as identify potential areas in which arts assessment could be improved. Although the original intent of the study was to identify strong models of assessment practices that could serve as examples for possible replication, the study found that such models were not available and are in fact a need of the field. Thus, this report provides a description of the current state of arts assessment, including a review of the high-quality literature available, common practices being used to assess student learning, and needs of the field to improve arts assessment.

The Nation’s Report Card: Arts 2008
This report presents the results of the 2008 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) arts assessment. It was administered to a nationally representative sample of 7,900 eighth-grade public and private school students. Approximately one-half of these students were assessed in music, and the other half were assessed in visual arts.

National Endowment for the Arts
The National Endowment for the Arts was established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. To date, the NEA has awarded more than $4 billion to support artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. The NEA extends its work through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector.

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