Archive for the ‘Research’ Category

h1

Shooting Star

January 7, 2020

AftA post

This is reprinted from the ARTS Blog, November 12, 2019, Americans for the Arts written by Narric Rome.

Yesterday, an Education Commission of the States staff member with the memorable name of Claus von Zastrow published a blog reporting the findings of an arteducation question included in the 2019 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in Math. It’s a substantial discovery—akin to when new stars are detected in a constellation, or a new species of insect is identified. His blog post and the accompanying data tables are a must-read. My blog here is about the context that must be considered in his discovery.

Since 2001, the “arts,” comprising the disciplines of dance, music, theatre, and visual arts, have been named as one of ten Core Academic Subjects (No Child Left Behind Act) and currently are one of the 18 subjects listed in the definition of a Well-Rounded Education (Every Student Succeeds Act). In theory, this should mean that the U.S. Department of Education and its research arm, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), should provide ongoing and detailed data into how arts education is resourced in the country—right?

No. Longtime Department of Education watchers know that since 1995, there have been just two kinds of arts education research by the federal government. A few federal research “access” reports (1995, 2002, 2012) asked principals and teachers in just 1,800 schools about who is receiving, or being offered, arts education in their schools. Relatedly, there have been three NAEPs in the Arts (1997, 2008, 2016) which measure knowledge and skills in the subject, but is severely limited in its scope. How and why is it limited? That’s a story for another time, but not one of these tests over 25 years has ever captured arts education data on a state-by-state basis.

As Claus mentions, the federal agency tasked with administering the “Nation’s Report Card” (the National Assessment Governing Board or NAGB) decided to terminate one of these two federal studies this past July, which immediately alarmed arts education advocates and education staff in the U.S. Senate who were frustrated by this unexpected development. It appears that federal arts education research has been cut by 50%.

So when eagle-eyed Claus spotted in the Math NAEP released in October 2019, among the 40 multi-part questions asked of the eighth grade test takers, that Question #21 was about art education—he must have been floored. As I am.

This question, put to the 147,000 students that were a part of the 2019 Math NAEP sample, must be the single largest arts education data point in the history of federal education research.

Now, the question only refers to one discipline, (visual) art education—I’m sure my friends at the National Art Education Association and the Arts Education Partnership will be excitedly digesting this data for quite some time—so it’s in no way capturing the full arts education picture. But here are three simple highlights I’ve spotted from this single question, with thanks again to Claus for assembling the data.

For the first time ever in history, there is a state by state breakdown of participation in art education.

In the graphic below, the darker the state, the greater the participation in art education. Vermont has the highest at 68%; some states, like Montana, South Dakota, Utah, Colorado, and Alaska, didn’t get enough students in the sample to count; and Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana provided the least art education, between 16% to 18% of eighth graders.

As conventional wisdom holds, students from wealthier families have greater participation in art classes.

In Indiana, 40% of students eligible for the National Free & Reduced Lunch program (an indicator of household income) were in an art education course, compared to 50% of (wealthier) students not eligible for the lunch program. There’s a similar 10 point gap in Rhode Island, an 11 point gap in New York, a 12 point gap in Pennsylvania, and a whopping 21 point difference in Connecticut! On the other hand, Iowa, Nebraska, West Virginia, and Wisconsin by this measure present very little wealth disparities in who receives art education in their states.

Art education can be provided in any location—city, suburb, town, or rural community.

Arkansas is among a handful of states that provides significantly more art education in its rural areas, surpassing city, suburb, and town categories. The largest state, California, demonstrates equal particpation in art education among these location categories. This set of data, comparing provision of art education in varying population densities, is also the first time federal data of this kind has ever been shared nationally.

Like a singular and brief shooting star, the “von Zastrow discovery” leaves us with so many more questions, some about the data and some about the federal research efforts.

  • Who put this question into the Math NAEP?
  • Was anyone at NAGB going to tell the arts education field this question was there?
  • Are any federal researchers reviewing this data—and will they include questions like this in future studies for the other arts disciplines?
  • Is the arts education field expected to survive on data breadcrumbs that some enlightened soul at the National Center for Education Statistics stuck into a NAEP survey?

Arts education advocates, and Congress, have begun to respond to the proposed demise of the Arts NAEP, and innovations and advances in collecting arts education access and participation data may result from this effort. In fact, significant progress continues to be made in several states that have tapped into their state longitudinal data systems for annual state-level data on arts education—see California, New Jersey, Ohio, and Arizona. But if the U.S. Department of Education’s purpose is anything, it’s to report on education access on a national level—not just passively leave this task to states and nonprofits to cobble it together.

So, while we can celebrate this beautiful shooting star of a data point tucked away in the Math NAEP, we need more. We need the arts to be treated as a full constellation in the sky.

h1

The Art of Education

December 9, 2019

Photo booth in the classroom

Informative blog post put out by The Art of Education. Seven Reasons You Need a Photo Booth in the Art Room. A Lightbox is one and a studio photo setup is another. The ARTICLE expands on these two topics providing you with useful information.

The Art of Ed University provides resources in a variety of ways. Check out the WEBSITE to learn more.

h1

Harvard Study on Music

December 4, 2019

Songs across societies

Scientists at Harvard published a study on music as a cultural product, which examines what features of song tend to be shared across societies.

We sometimes talk about cultures and communities in terms of the music that represent them. I have been moved to tears more than once while listening to a song while visiting another country. One time while visiting a Japanese elementary school I looked down the row of American guests in an outdoor setting and there wasn’t a dry eye in the group.

The Harvard scientists set out to address big questions: Is music a cultural universal? If that’s a given, which musical qualities overlap across disparate societies? If it isn’t, why does it seem so ubiquitous? But they needed a data set of unprecedented breadth and depth. Over a five-year period, the team hunted down hundreds of recordings in libraries and private collections of scientists half a world away.

“We are so used to being able to find any piece of music that we like on the internet,” said Mehr, who is now a principal investigator at Harvard’s Music Lab. “But there are thousands and thousands of recordings buried in archives.

The entire article is at THIS LINK.

h1

Brain Power and Music

November 9, 2019

Learning 

“If children are not introduced to music at an early age, I believe something fundamental is actually being taken from them.” ~ Luciano Pavarotti

Teaching Artists Allison and Hunt Smith

Studies, research, papers, surveys, and much more all focused on the developing brain – there’s so many that support the ideas around the importance and impact that music education can make. Now more ever there is research that links the benefits of music as medicine and music therapy is always highlighting using music as a treatment that impacts mental health issues.

I especially like what this article includes – read for yourself. Available at THIS LINK. I suggest adding this to your advocacy resources to pull out at a moments notice to share with school leaders, colleagues, and community members.

h1

Bye Bye Birdie

November 7, 2019

Medomak Valley High School

 

 

h1

National Art Ed Conference

October 30, 2019

Registration open

National Art Education Association conference, March 26-28, 21020, Minneapolis. REGISTRATION IS OPEN!

h1

Off to Helsinki

October 29, 2019

HundrED

In one week Lindsay Pinchbeck, founder, director and teacher at the Sweetland School in Hope and I will be landing in Helsinki, Finland for the HundrED Innovation Summit. We are thrilled to be invited and looking forward to meeting educators from around the world and visiting with those we met last year who are returning. I’ve blogged about HundrED before but for those of you who are unfamiliar hopefully this post will inspire you to take a look at the HundrED website and tap into their amazing resources.

I plan on blogging from Helsinki next week so keep your fingers crossed that my connectivity works from Finland!

WHAT IS HUNDRED?

HundrED.org is a not-for-profit organization that discovers inspiring innovations in K12 education. HundrED’s goal is to help improve education and inspire a grassroots movement through encouraging pedagogically sound, ambitious innovations to spread across the world.

The purpose of education is to help every child flourish, no matter what happens in life. In a fast-changing world, education must adapt to keep up. The world is full of inspiring innovations, but they can struggle to spread beyond their immediate environments. That’s why HundrED discovers, researches and shares impactful and scalable K12 innovations with the world, for free.

This (under 2 minute) video says it well.

CHECK OUT THE RESOURCES

You can become a HundrED Innovator as well and learn more about the many many innovations included in the site. There are amazing educators doing amazing work around the world and many have been recognized by HundrEd and have profiles on the website. You can learn how to become a HundrED innovator and see the many profiles of Innovators by CLICKING HERE.

OUR WORK (and play!)

The invitation to attend HundrED during November 2018 was based on the work that Lindsay and I have been participating in since 2016 with the Go Malawi program. We offered arts integration workshops when we traveled to Malawi for almost three weeks that summer. We were recognized by HundrED as Ambassadors – you can read about our work on the Go Malawi site at THIS LINK. Check out Lindsay’s profile on the HundrED site or Argy’s profile.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

%d bloggers like this: