A new study from The Kennedy Center found increased creativity and engagement among students who had the arts mixed into other subjects throughout the school day — the same method that makes up a large part of Los Angeles Unified's arts expansion plan.
Published this week, the study surveyed 4th and 5th graders from 32 schools across five school districts in the Washington, D.C. area.
"This study adds to the growing body of knowledge about the impact integrating the arts with other subject areas has on students," said Darrell Ayers, the Kennedy Center's Vice President of Education, in a written statement.
The study used a control group to track student results, and the authors suggest the findings "can be generalized to the larger population of 4th and 5th graders across the United States."
The control group was compared with schools participating in a program known as CETA — Changing Education Through the Arts — which offered teachers workshops, arts related courses and coaching to help them incorporate the arts into the school day.
Here's an excerpt from the study's summary:
Not only do students in the CETA program see the influence of the arts in non-arts subjects, and produce more original and creative ideas, but their teachers notice and encourage this creative ideation as evidenced by significant correlations between student and teacher responses. Teachers in CETA schools also report that their students display more intellectual curiosity, experience higher levels of excitement from their school work, and apply more effort and grit during their attempts to complete their school projects and assignments. Parents of these students identified their children as risk-takers, more comfortable solving ill-defined problems, and tolerant of the opinions and ideas of others.
Los Angeles Unified is running a pilot program on arts integration in lower elementary school grades at some schools and many teachers are already using arts integration teaching methods. Administrators plan to invest more than $9 million in arts integration by 2016-17 to boost arts access throughout the district.
The full study can be read at The Kennedy Center's education website.