In recent years many school districts have had to restructure their arts curriculums to meet the growing emphasis on standards that is central to most school reform. This unique collection is meant to assist educators, policymakers, grantmakers and other stakeholders by focusing on the potential benefits of arts education for students and communities alike, and providing examples of creative ways school districts are handling their constraints.

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Arts Corps Program Evaluation Report

November 27, 2012

Founded in 2000 on the principle that all young people -- not just those with resources -- should have access to quality arts learning opportunities, Arts Corps is now a leading nonprofit arts education organization in Seattle. Starting with just a few classes at six sites, Arts Corps now serves over 2,000 K-12th grade students a year at approximately 40 sites. Arts Corps places after-school classes and in-school residencies primarily at schools and community centers serving low-income youth who often have few other opportunities for arts learning. Programs cover the spectrum of arts disciplines from dance to visual arts to photography to music, and include popular classes such as Brazilian dance, theater, comic illustration, spoken word, sculpture and more. Programming is designed to foster artistic competencies and creative habits of mind such as imagination, healthy risk-taking, reflection, persistence and critical thinking. The program operates on a school year, with select workshops occurring in the summer months. Arts Corps has conducted program evaluation since inception and has refined its focus each year to better explore and describe the impacts of arts classes on students. This report represents Arts Corps' evaluation work during the 2011-2012 program year.

Student Outcomes

An Unfinished Canvas: A Review of Large-Scale Assessment in K-12 Arts Education

September 16, 2008

Reviews the status of and current practices in statewide standards-based arts assessment for K-12 education accountability. Examines the approaches and criteria of several models of large-scale arts assessment and five states' assessment programs.

Program Models; Student Outcomes

Assessing Learning Through the Arts

February 20, 2008

Within the past several decades, the emphasis in public education nationwide has steadily moved away from arts-rich and creativity based learning toward more standardized, test-based learning. In recent years, budget cuts and the "No Child Left Behind Act" have pushed the education climate even further toward high-stakes testing, narrowing curriculum. In line with this, Washington State has enacted the Washington Assessment of Student Learning standards, shifting local schools' priorities toward meeting test-based standards. At the same time, public education in Washington state faced significant budget cuts. By 2005, Washington ranked 42nd in the nation in public education spending.Public schools have had to cut many rich program offerings including in-school arts classes. In 2005, nearly 60 percent of Washington State principals reported one hour or less of music instruction per week in their schools. Worse yet, 60 percent of Seattle Public School elementary schools offered no visual arts program that same year.During this time, several existing organizations in King County and countless more practitioners were growing to meet a new demand for the arts gap through diverse, innovative programming both in and out of the school day. Seattle's nonprofit arts education organizations were natural advocates for more creative learning opportunities but remained somewhat disconnected from each other, lacking a cohesive, persuasive message to more effectively advocate for arts education. In response to these challenges, among others, seven of these regional nonprofit youth arts education organizations formed the Seattle Arts Education Consortium (Consortium), a collaborative, two-year project, in the summer of 2005.Reflecting on the work of the last two years, the Consortium offers several key findings and lessons learned related to both the process and the product. These findings may be an excellent resource to any group starting a similar process and especially for arts education programs hoping to elevate the rigor and public understanding of their programs' impacts. This report will also be useful to foundations interested in encouraging collaborations among their grantees.The sections that follow include descriptions of the process, outcomes and findings for each project activity including: Evaluation Planning & Implementation, Professional Development for Teaching Artists, Arts Education Communications & Messaging as well as What's Next for the Consortium.

Funding Trends; Program Models; Student Outcomes