Arts Education Research & Resources

Research & Reports

Everyone who has experienced the arts or observes students learning in and through the arts, can attest to the transformative power of the arts.  However, anecdotes are not a sufficient basis for policy and curriculum.  Thus, we look to rigorous research and analysis that demonstrates the impact of arts education on student learning, academic achievement and personal development. 

Florida Research & Papers


Thought leaders

2008 Cohort Study | 2012 Cohort Study Wallace Foundation: Knowledge Center David Houle
Critical Success Factors Champions of Change Daniel Pink
Expanding Education from STEM to STEAM Critical Links Sir Ken Robinson
Tough Choices or Tough Times Eric Booth


Florida Research & Studies

2012 Cohort Study

2008 Cohort Study

Data  from the Florida Department of Education data vault, compiled at the request of State Senator Wise of Duval County, was analyzed by Dr. Steve Kelly of Florida State University.  The data compare various measures of student achievement (grade point average, SAT scores, school completion) to the number of arts credits earned.  Dr. Kelly found the positive correlation between student achievement and high school arts credits overwhelming. This work was directed and funded by the Florida Music Educator Association (FMEA).

Critical Success Factors

2010 longitudinal study of 26 Florida schools with exemplary arts education programs. Study funded by the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

  • Leadership – At both the district level (superintendent and school board) and at the school level (principal), leadership was the top factor for strong arts programs. In the school, the principal provides the vision and direction for the entire school, as well as pragmatic support in areas such as funding, scheduling, and facilities. Clear policies and initiatives ensure stability necessary for programs to reach their full potential.
  • Arts Teachers – Highly qualifieded, fully certified, and dedicated arts teachers are essential to the success of the arts education program. Longevity at a school is important as it brings stability and consistency to the program.
  • Curriculum – An arts education curriculum that is goal-oriented, standards-based, and taught in a sequential manner is mandatory for success. Programs must be accountable for student learning and demonstrate achievement of significant learning outcomes through the use of appropriate assessment measures.
  • Facilities, Scheduling, and Funding  – Programs thrive when adequate facilities and equipment are provided, the schedule allows universal student access to arts classes and programs and susufficient funds are available to support the materials and experiences that are part of the curriculum.
  • Community Connection – Arts programs typically are a key link between parents and the school, bringing parental involvement in ways otherwise not possible. The connections reach beyond parents to include the business, civic, and cultural community. When the arts program is a public part of the school’s identity, the program is enhanced and the community benefits.
  • School Culture – Respect between academic subject area and arts teachers is a key indicator of a strong program.


Arts Education and STEM Education

Expanding Education from STEM to STEAM: Preparing Florida’s Students to Thrive in the 21st Century
(Paper submitted to Roadmap to Florida’s Future)


National Research Studies & Reports

The Wallace Foundation provides a wealth of information and resources on subjects relating to arts education.

  • Harvard’s Project Zero published The Qualities of Quality: Understanding Excellence in Arts Education.  It is available for download (all 364 pages). This is the report from. Published June 2009 – we have been so busy trying to save arts education, have we overlooked the quality issues?
  • Champions of Change, The Impact of the Arts on Learning, edited by Ted Fiske, The Arts Education Network, 1999, at artsedge.kennedy-center.or
  • “Critical Evidence: How the Arts Benefit Student Achievement,” by Sandra S. Ruppert; National Assembly of State Agencies, 2006 at
  • Using Arts & Culture to Stimulate State Economic Development, National Governors Association Center for Best Practices.
  • Tough Choices or Tough Times: The Report of the New Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce (Executive Summary)


Thought Leaders

David Houle:Shift Ed and Shift Age, two books by David Houle give this futurist’s vision for the 21st Century and the important role of creativity and innovation. See video, subscribe to his free newsletter, and read more

Daniel H. Pink writes of our entry into the Conceptual Age where we will be a society of creators and innovators, and argues compellingly for the importance of the right brain.

Sir Ken RobinsonArts and Minds, Conversations about the Arts in Education, “How Creativity, Education and the Arts Shape a Modern Economy,” an Interview with Sir Ken Robinson, Senior Advisor, Education Policy, Getty Foundation, published by the Education Commission of the States, April 2005 at