I hearken back to Plato’s dictum that the single most important thing for a society to accomplish in order to succeed is to teach young people to find pleasure in the right things. There is no righter right thing that humans know than the experience of creative engagement—making worlds we care about and exploring the worlds others have made—and there is a lifetime of pleasure to be had in the lifelong learning.

Eric Booth (2013)

Research & Evaluation

An opportunity gap for creative engagement exists in our nation’s schools. In the economy of the Creativity Age, this gap in creative, artistic, and innovative learning experiences threatens greater economic disparity and lifelong fulfillment. To combat this growing disparity, some school change efforts have successfully incorporated an arts-integrated approach to boost engagement, academic achievement, and creative skills. The middle school period, especially, presents a unique opportunity to reverse the typical decline in student engagement, enhance creative and academic achievement, and prepare disadvantaged students to transition to high school successfully.

The current research undertaken in the ArtCore project focuses on learning from students, teachers, and schools as a whole to inform continued improvement. That work will conclude with a four-year longitudinal study that includes a non-equivalent comparison group to investigate the effects of a comprehensive arts integration model, experienced during the three years of middle school. 



Central Line of Inquiry

Can intensive creative engagement through arts integration drive historically marginalized students to greater success in middle school and beyond?




The project team is collecting and analyzing data on implementation of the project at each school and a range of student-, teacher-, and school-level outcomes. Over the course of the project, data collection and analysis continue to support ongoing efforts at clarity and improvement in the teacher and student learning experience.  Studies published or underway are listed below. Please contact Principal Investigator, Ross Anderson, to receive copies of published materials.

Professional presentations

Seeking to communicate the work broadly, the ArtCore research and evaluation team has presented to national audiences of policymakers, educators, artists, administrators, and education researchers from a variety of fields. Please click on the images below to view some of the presentation materials. 

Student Voice on Creative Engagement in the Arts

This work exploring the student perspective was presented at the American Education Research Association's 2017 annual meeting in the Arts and Learning special interest group.  

Divergent Thinking, Flow, and a Supportive Environment

Presented at the American Education Research Association's 2017 annual meeting, this research suggests that student's evaluation of the support for openness at their school links to their level of flow and divergent thinking.

School Culture for Deeper Learning 

These presentation slides represent a 3.5 hour arts integrated workshop facilitated by ArtCore team members at the 2017 Deeper Learning Conference at High Tech High in San Diego, CA.

Observing Creative Engagement in the Classroom

Presented at the 2016 American Education Research Association's annual meeting, this research describes the development, validation, and application of a classroom observation protocol.

ArtCore Research Design

Presented at the American Education Research Association's 2016 Annual Meeting, this poster provides the theory of change, rationale, and research design in the ArtCore project.

Relational Support and Creative Ideation

These findings presented at the Association of Education Finance and Policy 2016 conference illustrates the link between creative ideational flexibility and fluency and relational support from peers and teachers in school.

Affective Neuroscience and Arts Integration

These presentation materials include the images and narrative shared by Ross Anderson at the 2017 ArtCore Winter Institute. The perspective is inspired by emerging research in the field of affective neuroscience in education.*

Evaluation REPorts

Interim ArtCore Evaluation Booklet

This booklet summarizes the mission, vision, and approach developed in the ArtCore project from 2015–2017. The booklet also provides some qualitative and quantitative results from the first year of research and evaluation. Click on the image to download the booklet.

Other Projects

Edutopia: Profile of Bates Middle School
Read More

President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities
Read More

Kennedy Center’s Changing Education Through the Arts Report
Read More 

Right Brain Initiative
Read More

Searchable Database of Past Research

*Image Source: http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/01/28/teenage-brain_custom-c9a9e5062df2b50530ee89c3084eae77bd6736fb-s900-c85.jpg