Arts and Education - Northern Illinois University

We collaborated with researchers at Northern Illinois University's Art Education Program (NIU) and the University of Minnesota Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement (UMinn) to examine how students' artistic production can be used to assess the impact of arts-integration on student learning and to promote the development of instruments that can facilitate such assessments.

Our researchers investigated three main questions:

  • What student assessment is being undertaken?
    (What is currently being used and how?)
  • What additional general goals and specific outcomes can be assessed in arts-integrated situations through the arts?
    (What are the intended versus the enacted outcomes? What art and non-art knowledge do students learn in arts-integrated programs?)
  • What practical new strategies can teachers use in these contexts to gain full access to student learning as demonstrated in their artistic production?
    (How can we assess student art and art-related production to reveal learning?)

Rather than focus on artistic quality, assessments in this context aimed to reveal student knowledge of the arts, interdisciplinary knowledge, and knowledge of other school subjects.

To facilitate the project, researchers recruited six two-person teacher-artist teams from Minneapolis, Chicago and New York. Two teacher-artist teams located within each city site worked together to develop assessment strategies for student artistic production. The researchers convenes monthly meetings, visited classrooms and supported artist-teacher partnerships throughout the project.

The project was conducted within on-going arts partnerships at each city site. In Chicago, researchers at NIU worked with schools that are part of Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education (CAPE). UMinn researchers conducted the project through the Minneapolis Public Schools' Academic Achievement through the Arts (AAA) program. In New York City, researchers at CCT conducted the project in an Empire State Partnership Project (ESP) school and a Center for Arts Education school. Each city site includes schools in high poverty areas that are culturally diverse.


Terry Baker (PI)