Ohio Alliance for Arts Education
Arts on Line Education Update
January 26, 2015
1) Ohio News
- 131st Ohio General Assembly: The Ohio House and Senate will hold sessions and committee meetings this week.
The House Finance Committee, chaired by Representative Ryan Smith, will meet on January 27, 2015 at 3:00 PM in hearing room 313, and the House Education Committee, chaired by Representative Hayes, will meet on January 28, 2015 in hearing room 121. Both committees will hold organizational meetings, but the House Education Committee will also receive a presentation about charter school accountability.
- Charter School Audit: Ohio State Auditor David Yost released on January 22, 2015 the results of an audit of student attendance at 30 site-based charter schools in response to questions about “irregular community school attendance and enrollment practices”. The audit found significant discrepancies in student attendance in half of the schools when compared to the number of students reported to the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) as enrolled in the school in July 2014. The audit also found schools in which only half of the students enrolled actually attended the schools.
According to Auditor Yost’s report, state auditors randomly selected 30 charter schools, from a possible 381 charter schools in Ohio, to check student attendance on October 1, 2014. Seven of 30 schools audited, mostly dropout recovery schools, had head counts more than two standard deviations below the number of students enrolled as reported to the Ohio Department of Education; nine schools had head counts at least 10 percent below the number reported to the ODE; 14 schools had head counts that were close to the numbers reported to the state; drop out recovery and prevention (DORP) schools had the highest variances in attendance; and 27 of 30 schools had fewer students at the school than the number reported to the state for funding purposes.
Of the schools with the highest variances in attendance rates compared to reported enrollment, Life Skills Center of Youngstown had an attendance rate of 17 percent of reported enrollment; Life Skills Center of Cincinnati had a rate of 18 percent; Life Skills Center of Hamilton County had a rate of 23 percent; and Dayton Technology Design High School had a rate of 25 percent.
The audit includes the following recommendations:
-The ODE should require the sponsors identified in this report to review and investigate the schools with large or unusual variances between actual and reported head counts.
-The ODE should update its FY2015 Education Management Information System (EMIS) Manual and School Options Enrollment System (SOES) Manual, and include the changes that the ODE made during the EMISRewrite and consolidation of SOES.
-The ODE should clarify that “while state Foundation funding is based upon annualized enrollment, the monthly reporting of student enrollments should be founded upon actual data rather than projections.” Some charter schools might be improperly reporting higher than actual projections of enrollment during the early months of the school year to prevent cash flow problems.
-The ODE should review the errors identified by the SOES flagging system for potential enrollment errors that might have occurred during the months of September through November 2014, due to the lack of monitoring by resident schools, community schools, and ODE during this period.
-The ODE should provide charter school sponsors assistance regarding curriculum policies and documentation requirements for blended learning models. Sponsors should be discouraged from “boilerplate language approval” of blended learning models in the educational plans of charter schools.
-The ODE should institute a guarantee mechanism to ensure that charter schools that close can pay any outstanding obligations to the state.
-Sponsors should actively review the enrollment and student attendance of charter schools, and conduct on site FTE reviews to verify enrollment.
-Sponsors of schools using blended learning should review school records to ensure that students are logging in and documenting completed lessons.
-The State Auditors Office will review the results of this investigation and incorporate any practices that would make more effective or cost-efficient the regular charter school financial audit.
The report also identifies some provisions in policy and law that should be strengthened to increase the accountability of charter schools. For example, beginning in July 2015, the ODE will determine the first Foundation payment for a new charter school based on the sponsor’s rating. High performing sponsors will be able to approve Foundation payments in July for the new charter schools that they sponsor, but charter schools not sponsored by high performing sponsors will not receive payment until September. This policy is based on changes authorized in Am. Sub. 129-HB 555 to ensure that charter schools are not over-paid for students, but the provision only applies to new charter schools. Foundation payments for existing charter schools are based on estimates from the previous school year, which do not take into account students who graduated or other changes in enrollment.
The report also found that the current structure of charter school law “lacks appropriate segregation of duties.” The ODE oversees community school sponsors; acts as a sponsor; collects enrollment and performance data; calculates and provides funding; and develops policies for charter schools. The report states, “Proper segregation increases the State’s ability to have accurate and meaningful financial and performance information and reporting. Separating the authorization and oversight duties and assigning them to different State agencies could increase the integrity of the sponsor and community school oversight process.”
There are also inconsistencies in charter school law that raise questions about conflicts of interest. For example, sponsors can charge charter schools for oversight and monitoring and services, which might cause some sponsors to think twice about closing a charter school. There are no requirements for governing board members or officials employed by charter schools, management companies, or sponsors to disclose personal financial interest in the schools they serve. And, according to the report, “Ohio’s law does not truly require a community school’s governing board to be independent of its management company. This is a significant policy question for the legislature.”
The report also cautions that there is an increased risk that dropout recovery and prevention schools are over-reporting student attendance; there is a lack of clearly defined minimum standards for blended learning schools making it difficult to evaluate charter school compliance with the 920 hours of required instruction; there are no consequences for charter schools or sponsors that don’t follow the education plan outlined in their contracts; and the requirement that charter schools post a payable bond to the state to use to pay the state money owed if the school closes only applies to schools sponsored by the ODE’s Office of Ohio School Sponsorship.
Other “matters for possible reform” identified by the audit include the following:
-To maintain benefits under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) students must be enrolled in school for a minimum number of hours. Some dropout recovery and prevention schools reported that some students come to school to meet the minimum hour requirement in order to retain benefits, but fail to actively participate in learning opportunities.
-ODE’s failure to notify certain state offices and agencies regarding the closure of charter schools has resulted in public monies continuing to flow to the schools, when such funding should have been suspended or terminated.
-There should be a provision in law to pay court appointed “receivers” when assigned to a charter school that is insolvent. “If there isn’t a provision for the receiver to be paid for their services, a receiver may petition the court to vacate their position. This can lead to significant delays in the completion of close out procedures and distribution of assets for a closed community school as well as an inability to obtain records for audit.”
-Minimum legislative standards should be established to guide sponsors as they vet charter school applications, to ensure that the charter school’s educational program, mission, and focus of the curriculum are well defined.
According to Auditor Yost, the findings of the audit cannot be used to “substantiate fraud or findings of recovery”, but warrant further inquiries by the sponsors of the charter schools and the Ohio Department of Education.
See “Report on Community School Attendance Counts”, Auditor of State, January 22, 2015 at
- Senate Democrats Present Policy Agenda: The Senate Democratic Caucus hosted a briefing on January 21, 2015 to present their legislative priorities for the 131st General Assembly. The briefing, led by Senate Minority Leader Joe Schiavoni, focused on priorities to support families, communities, and opportunities to build a better future for Ohio.
Senate Democrats expect to introduce legislation over the next weeks to raise the minimum wage, implement a permanent Medicaid expansion system, make the Earned Income Tax Credit refundable, restore the local government fund, invest in infrastructure, improve police and community relations, and protect Ohio’s drinking water.
Regarding education, the Senate Democrats will advocate for making college more affordable, reforming charter school laws, and making investments in job training and support for veterans.
See “Senate Democrats Outline Legislative Priorities For 131st General Assembly” at http://www.ohiosenate.gov/democrats
2) Ohio House and Senate Name Committee Rosters: Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger and Senate President Keith Faber announced last week the membership of the Controlling Board, the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR), and other House and Senate committees. The committee rosters follow:
-Controlling Board: The Senate members include Senators Bill Coley (R), Chris Widener (R), and Tom Sawyer (D). The House members on the panel include Representatives Ryan Smith (R), Jeff McClain (R), and Kevin Boyce (D). The first meeting of the Controlling Board will be January 26, 2015.
-JCARR: The members of the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review include Representatives Mike Duffey (R), chair; Bill Hayes (R); Gary Scherer (R); Cheryl Grossman (R); Debbie Phillips (D); and Greta Johnson (D). The Senate members include Senators Joe Uecker (R), vice chair; Troy Balderson (R); Frank LaRose (R); Charleta Tavares (D); and Kenny Yuko (D).
-House Education Committee: The House Education Committee will meet on Wednesdays at 4:00 PM in Room 121. The Republican members of the committee are Representatives Bill Hayes, chair; Andy Brenner, vice chair; Lou Blessing, Robert Cupp, Tim Derickson, Michael Henne, Steve Huffman, Kyle Koehler, Nathan Manning, Kristina Daley Roegner, Marilyn Slaby, and Ryan Smith.
The Democrat members of the committee are Representatives Teresa Fedor, ranking minority member; Janine Boyd, Bill Patmon, John Patterson, Debbie Phillips, Dan Ramos, and Kent Smith.
-House Finance and Appropriations Committee: The Finance and Appropriations Committee will meet in room 313. The Republican members of the committee are Representatives Ryan Smith, chair; Gary Schuring, vice chair; Marlene Anielski, Tony Burkley, Robert Cupp, Timothy Derickson, Michael Dovilla, Mike Duffey, Doug Green, Cheryl Grossman, David Hall, Stephanie Kunze, Ron Maag, Jeff McClain, Rick Perales, Willian Reineke, Mark Romanchuk, Gary Scherer, Barbara Sears, Robert Sprague, and Andrew Thompson.
The Democrat members of the committee are Representatives Denise Driehaus, ranking minority member; Nickie Antonio, Kevin Boyce, Jack Cera, Kathlene Clyde, Michael O’Brien, John Patterson, Debbie Phillips, Dan Ramos, Alicia Reece, and Emilia Strong Sykes.
-House Finance Committee Subcommittee – Primary and Secondary Education
The Republican members are Representatives Robert Cupp, chair; Timothy Derickson, and Stephanie Kunze.
The Democrat members of the committee are Representatives Debbie Phillips, ranking minority member; and John Patterson.
-House Finance Committee Subcommittee – Higher Education
The Republican members are Representatives Kevin Duffey, chair; Marlene Anielski, and Rick Perales.
The Democrat members of the committee are Representatives Dan Ramos, ranking minority member; and Kevin Boyce.
Senate Education Committee: The Republican members of the Senate Education Committee are Senators Peggy Lehner, chair; Cliff Hite, vice chair; Troy Balderson, Bill Coley, Randy Gardner, Kris Jordan, Gayle L. Manning, Bob Peterson, and Chris Widener.
The Democrat members of the committee are Senators Tom Sawyer, ranking member; Cecil Thomas, Sandra Williams, and Kenny Yuko.
Senate Finance Committee: The Republican members of the Senate Finance Committee are Senators Scott Oelslager, chair; Bill Coley, vice chair; Bill Beagle, Dave Burke, Randy Gardner, Jim Hughes, Frank La Rose, Tom Patton, and Bob Peterson.
The Democrat members of the Senate Finance Committee are Senators Michael Skindell, ranking member; Lou Gentile, Tom Sawyer, and Charleta Tavares.
Senate Finance Committee Subcommittee Education: The Republican members of the committee are Senators Cliff Hite, chair; Troy Balderson, Bill Beagle, Bill Coley, and Peggy Lehner.
The Democrat members of the committee are Senators Tom Sawyer, vice chair; Cecil Thomas, and Kenny Yuko.
Senate Finance Committee Subcommittee Higher Education: The Republican members of the committee are Senators Randy Gardner, chair; Kevin Bacon, Jim Hughes, and Gayle L. Manning.
The Democrat members of the committee are Senators Capri Cafaro, vice chair; and Cecil Thomas.
2) National News
- State of the Union Address: President Barack Obama presented his sixth State of the Union (SOTU) address to a joint session of Congress on January 20, 2015. The speech included few details about initiatives, but focused on a broader message about expanding opportunities to support “middle-class economics”, which the President believes fueled the nation’s economic recovery from the recession. Details about the initiatives were included in several documents released by the White House prior to the SOTU and in presidential visits to several states over the past weeks.
According to the President’s address, the focus on middle-class economics means ensuring that families are secure in a world of constant change, and can afford childcare, college, health care, a home, and retirement.
The President stayed away from the current debate in Congress about reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and controversial education issues like testing and the common core standards. Instead he spoke about his plan for the federal government to pay for community college for responsible students; urged businesses to expand educational benefits and paid apprenticeships; urged support for tougher laws to protect the privacy of student data; proposed expanded internet access to communities and schools; and proposed increased support for preschool and the child-care tax credit.
The President also proposed lowering the taxes of working families, and a variety of changes in the tax code to pay for his new initiatives, including closing loopholes that allow the wealthy to avoid paying taxes on accumulated wealth, and companies to hide profits overseas.
See http://www.whitehouse.gov/sotu for a transcript or video of the State of the Union.
- Congressional Committees Responsible for NEA: The 114th Congress convened on January 6, 2015, and with a new Congress and Republicans obtaining a majority in the U.S. Senate, some changes have been made to the leadership of the committees that oversees the National Endowment for the Arts and other arts and cultural institutions.
Senate Appropriations Committee
The Republican members of the Senate Appropriations Committee include Senators Thad Cochran (MS), Chairman; Mitch McConnell (KY), Richard Shelby (AL), Lamar Alexander (TN), Susan Collins (ME), Lisa Murkowski (AK), Lindsey Graham (SC), Mark Kirk (IL), Roy Blunt (MO), Jerry Moran (KS), John Hoeven (ND), John Boozman (AR), Shelley Capito (WV), Bill Cassidy (LA), James Lankford (OK), and Steve Daines (MT).
The Democrat members include Senators Barbara Mikulski (MD), Ranking Member; Patrick Leahy (VT), Patty Murray (WA), Dianne Feinstein (CA), Dick Durbin (IL), Jack Reed, (RI), Jon Tester (MT), Tom Udall (NM), Jeanne Shaheen (NH), Jeff Merkley (OR), Christopher Coons (DE), Brian Schatz (HI), Tammy Baldwin (WI), and Christopher Murphy (CT).
Senate Subcommittee on the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies
Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) will serve as chair, and Tom Udall (D-NM) will serve as ranking member on the Senate Appropriations Committee, Subcommittee on the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies.
House Subcommittee on the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies
Representative Ken Calvert (R-CA) is chair, and Representative Betty McCollum (D-MN) will become the ranking member on the House Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Subcommittee.
3) Update on Federal Testing Bills:
- U.S. Senate Hearings on NCLB Focus on Testing and Accountability: Senator Lamar Alexander, chair of the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee (HELP), opened the first education committee hearing of this session of Congress with a discussion about testing and accountability, two critical components of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), also known as No Child Left Behind (NCLB).
The Senator introduced on January 13, 2015 a draft entitled Every Child Ready for College or Career Act of 2015 to reauthorize ESEA. The Elementary and Secondary Education Act was first approved under President Lyndon Johnson in 1965. Its purpose then was to ensure educational opportunities for all students. It has been reauthorized several times, including in 2002 when it became known as the No Child Left Behind Act. The act was up for reauthorization in 2007, but the lack of a bipartisan agreement on the components of the act has delayed Congressional action on it these past years.
Six witnesses, including two teachers, were invited to testify at the HELP Committee meeting last week on Every Child Ready for College or Career Act of 2015. The witnesses included Marty West, Associate Professor of Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education; Tom Boasberg, Superintendent of the Denver School District; Paul Leather, deputy commissioner of education in New Hampshire; Wade Henderson, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and the Leadership Conference Education Fund; Stephen Lazar, teacher at Harvest Collegiate High School, New York City; and Jia Lee, special education teacher at the Earth School in New York City.
The federal testing requirements in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) have been a highly debated topic at the federal, state, and local levels for several years. Here in Ohio Superintendent of Public Instruction Richard Ross released last week recommendations to decrease student testing by 20 percent, and some Ohio lawmakers, including Representative Andy Brenner, have indicated that they will again introduce legislation to limit testing in the 131st Ohio General Assembly. Parents are also opting their children out of standardized testing in many states, including Ohio.
According to written testimony presented to the HELP Committee, four of the witnesses recommended that lawmakers keep the current law about annual testing, which requires annual-testing in grades 3-8 and once in high school in reading and math, and testing science at grade level bands. The two teachers on the panel, Jia Lee and Stephen Lazar, supported eliminating “high stakes testing” in ESEA and giving educators more say in decisions about assessing students.
Lauren Camera reports for Education Week that following the hearing Senator Alexander said that he still doesn’t have a solution to the debate over testing and accountability. Senator Alexander offered two testing options in Every Child Ready for College or Career Act of 2015: One option would allow states to maintain the current annual testing plan, but also would allow school districts, with state approval, to choose assessments. The other option would let states use any type of testing schedule, including annual tests, portfolio exams, grade-span tests, competency based assessments, and more
Education Week reports that Senator Alexander expects to complete the mark-up of the Every Child Ready for College or Career Act of 2015 by the end of February 2015. On January 27, 2015 there will be another hearing on ESEA about teachers and school leaders. Hearings have also been planned about other education bills, including the Strengthening Education Through Research Act and The Higher Education Act.
See “Full Committee Hearing – Fixing No Child Left Behind: Testing and Accountability”. This site includes witness testimony and a video of the hearing.
See “No Resolution to Annual-Testing Debate After First NCLB Reauthorization Hearing, by Lauren Camera, Education Week, January 21, 2015 at
- U.S. House Education Committee Will Consider ESEA Reauthorization: Meanwhile, the House Education and Workforce Committee, chaired by Representative John Klein, reported that it will soon take-up action on the Student Success Act, which was also introduced in the 113th Congress to reauthorize ESEA. In a speech before the American Enterprise Institute on January 22, 2015, Representative Klein said that he is optimistic about reauthorizing ESEA this year. The Student Success Act would require states to continue annual testing in math and language arts in grades 3-8 and once in high school, but would remove the requirement that schools meet adequate yearly progress targets, and would allow states to make decisions about improving schools rather than complying with strategies prescribed by the federal government. The bill would also encourage the expansion of charter schools; allow Title 1 funds to follow students within the public education system; combine funding for several education programs; and give states more flexibility about spending. Like the Senate’s Every Child Ready for College or Career Act of 2015, the Student Success Act would eliminate “maintenance of effort” and the requirements for a highly qualified teacher.
See “Klein speaks on education reform at the American Enterprise Institute”, January 22, 2015 at
See “House will clear NCLB reauthorization by March, Ed. Leader Says”, by Lauren Camera, Education Week, January 22, 2015 at
- Testing and Accountability Bills Introduced in Congress: U.S. Representative Suzanne Bonamici D-Oregon and Senator Tammy Bladwin, D-Wisconsin, introduced on January 21, 2015 the Support Making Assessments Reliable and Timely (SMART) Act. The bill would allow states to use federal funds to audit their assessment systems through the state assessment grant program, which provides some funding for each state and totals about $380 million a year.
- More on Testing in Ohio: An editorial in The Akron Beacon Journal comments about the recent report from State Superintendent Richard Ross about testing in Ohio’s schools. The report is entitled Ohio Testing Report and Recommendations, January 2015 and is available at http://education.ohio.gov/Media/Media-Releases/Department-of-Education-Recommends-Reduction-in-Te#.VMVwl8ZSWgt.
The editorial notes that some of the recommendations in the report to reduce testing are reasonable, such as eliminating the fall administration of the exam to assess third-grade reading.
But the editorial also asks, what is the basis for Superintendent Ross recommending a 20 percent reduction in testing, and questions the recommendation about scaling back the student learning objective tests used to evaluate some teachers, including those in the arts. Switching to “shared attribution” to evaluate some teachers, the editorial states, “represents a sharp departure from what the state supposedly is trying to do with the tests: Evaluate individual teachers on how well they perform in the classroom.”
The editorial goes on to say, “Plain from the outset is how tricky it can be to assess a teacher’s work based on such test scores. So much is beyond the control of the teacher, from poverty to the quality of the previous learning. If student learning objectives tests are flawed, it hardly seems better to rely on an evaluation that lumps all teachers together.”
What educators really need, the editorial concludes, is some stability. “Districts and teachers would like nothing so much as the state taking care in devising a plan and holding to it. As things stand, changes in the protocol are a persistent and frustrating occurrence.”
See “When Testing Gets in the Way of Learning”, Editorial, Akron Beacon Journal, January 20, 2015 at http://www.ohio.com/editorial/editorials/when-testing-gets-in-the-way-of-learning-1.560031
3) Hard Times for Local Governments in Ohio: Governor John Kasich will introduce in the Ohio House his budget recommendations for FY16-17 in early February 2015. As policy makers begin to focus on state spending and resources to support government for the next two years, Policy Matters Ohio released on January 7, 2015 a timely report about the impact of state tax policies and budget cuts on local governments, including cities, townships, villages, counties, and public services, such as children’s services, transportation authorities, boards of developmental disabilities, and libraries.
The report, entitled “Hard Times at City Halls: Ohio Communities Struggle with Damaged Tax Base and State Cuts” by Wendy Patton and Zach Schiller, notes that many communities in Ohio have not yet recovered from the recession. Local governments employ 41,000 fewer people than in 2007; almost a third of local governments have reserves below recommended levels; state funding for local governments decreased by $418 million between FY 2010 and FY2015; and many local governments have increased local taxes to compensate for state spending cuts and lower tax bases.
A fact sheet from the Office of Budget and Management shows that revenues for local governments and schools between 2011-2015 rose by 1.7 percent after being adjusted for inflation. State support decreased in that time from $14.6 billion in FY 2011 to $12.9 billion in FY2013, and then increased to $14.19 billion in 2015. Local governments saw increases in revenue from new casinos, local sales taxes, income taxes, property taxes, but lost over $400 million from the estate tax, which was repealed in January 2013.
According to the report, state policies and budget cuts are responsible for the financial crisis facing local governments in Ohio today.
-Local Government Fund: The state established the Local Government fund in the 1930s and generally supported the fund through the biennial budget. But state funding has decreased by $270 million, dropping from $694 million in 2011 to $370 million in 2015.
-Estate Tax: The Estate Tax was repealed in January 2013. The tax generally raised $231 million a year. Revenue from the new casino tax is expected to replace it.
-Property Value: Property values in Ohio are not expected to return to 2008 levels until 2017. Property values dropped from $241 billion in 2008 to an estimated $232 billion in 2015.
-Property taxes and effective tax rates have increased since 2008 as a result of increases in tax rates rather than in property values.
-Local Income Taxes: Municipal income tax collections between 2007-2013 increased from $4.1 billion to $4.6 billion as a result of rate increases, as the tax base remained flat.
-Sales Tax: The sales tax is the smallest source of revenue for local governments. Counties and transit authorities can levy a sales tax, but schools, townships, and municipalities cannot. Revenue from local sales taxes dropped between 2008 and 2009 during the recession, but recovered in 2010, and has increased to $2.295 billion.
-Municipal Income Taxes: 130-HB5 Municipal Income Tax Reforms changes municipal income tax provisions starting January 1, 2016, which might reduce revenue for municipalities annually.
The report concludes by saying, “Local public services support our quality of life, protect family wealth and underpin opportunity. We all deserve sound, dependable services and stable public finance. Ohio’s communities need more support from the state and a period of stability – without cuts or threats – to recover, rehire and rebuild.”
See “Hard Times at City Halls: Ohio Communities Struggle with Damaged Tax Base and State Cuts” by Wendy Patton and Zach Schiller, Policy Matters Ohio, January 7, 2015 at
- AIR Recommends that the Wolf Trap AEMDD Project Be Expanded: American Institutes for Research (AIR) released on January 19, 2015 a report about how integrating the arts in prek and kindergarten classroom instruction can increase student achievement in math, especially among students who are shy, those who are learning English, and those who had never before attended school. The report is based on a four-year evaluation conducted by AIR of a program developed by the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts, Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts, and supported by a 2010 U.S. Department of Education, Arts in Education Model Development and Dissemination grant (AEMDD grant).
The purpose of the Wolf Trap’s AEMDD project was to “….develop, implement, and disseminate a research-based program of professional development that equips teachers to infuse mathematics instruction with performing arts strategies in their prekindergarten and kindergarten classrooms.” The Wolf Trap’s AEMDD project team developed a professional development program that included annual summer institutes and in-classroom coaching during the school year. Teachers and teaching artists in the disciplines of dance, music, and drama developed standards-based performing arts and mathematics experiences, and implemented them during the school year using a research-based strategy called “the artist residency model”.
AIR examined the implementation of the Wolf Trap AEMDD program, its impact on teacher use of performing arts strategies, and student knowledge of math concepts through a randomized controlled trial in 22 elementary schools in a Virginia school district. The AIR evaluation includes the following observations:
-Impact on Teacher Practice: Arts integration was observed in 32.3 percent of the lessons taught by teachers in the study compared with just 17.9 percent for control teachers.
-Impact on Student Achievement: “The program had a statistically significant positive impact on students’ mathematics achievement in both the first and the second years of implementation. Students participating in Wolf Trap’s Early Childhood STEM Learning Through the Arts (Early STEM/Arts) demonstrated better math achievement compared to control groups.”
The evaluation also determined that the use of music, movement, and dramatizing concepts was beneficial for all students, but in particular for students who were shy, who had never attended school before, or who were speaking another language; teachers found it easier to teach abstract math concepts through the arts; and the Wolf Trap program increased the attention given to student participation, teacher feedback, and improved classroom structure.
AIR recommends that, “The positive impacts of the Wolf Trap AEMDD program on students found in this study as well as a prior study (Klayman, 2006) provide research-based support for the replication of the Wolf Trap professional development model on a larger scale.”
AIR also makes the following recommendations for further study:
-The Wolf Trap affiliate programs should conduct validation studies of a rubric that measures the practice of arts integration. Once the rubric has been validated, it could be used to inform the “….design of the professional development program for teachers and teaching artists based on a standard of arts-integration classroom practice.”
-This research study focused on measuring the academic knowledge students learned through mathematics instruction integrated with performing arts strategies and activities, and not students’ knowledge and skills in the arts disciplines. The Wolf Trap project teams should also develop ways to assess what children are learning in the arts.
-The Wolf Trap project team should explore ways to improve the outcomes of the summer institutes for teachers, since the artist residencies were more likely to affect teacher practice than the summer institutes.
See “Evaluation of Professional Development in the Use of Arts-Integrated Activities With Mathematics Content: Findings From the Evaluation of the Wolf Trap
Arts in Education Model Development and Dissemination Grant: Final Grant Report” by Meredith Ludwig, Ed.D. and Mengli Song, Ph.D., Submitted to Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts, January 2015 at
This update is written weekly by Joan Platz, Research and Knowledge Director for the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education. The purpose of the update is to keep arts education advocates informed about issues dealing with the arts, education, policy, research, and opportunities. The distribution of this information is made possible through the generous support of the Ohio Music Education Association (www.omea-ohio.org), Ohio Art Education Association (www.oaea.org), Ohio Educational Theatre Association (www.ohedta.org); OhioDance (www.ohiodance.org), and the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education (www.oaae.net).