Measuring arts integration teacher effectiveness in non-arts classrooms through student growth
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John Dewey is known as the father of American experiential education. His views on building understanding in children through experiences in a correlated curriculum continue to influence educational practice to this day. His writings and experiments with experiential education also influenced music and arts education, most recently through the formation and implementation of arts integration programs. Several well-known arts integration program leaders cite Dewey as a foundational figure in the existence of their initiatives. While influenced by Dewey, programs such as the Kennedy Center Changing Education Through the Arts (CETA) and the Chicago Arts Partnership in Education (CAPE) also are directly connected to the modern testing movement, and often gauge program success through reporting on a comparative analysis of standardized test scores. Current teacher evaluation models also measure student growth, along with teacher effectiveness, through the use of student test scores. Several arts education figures make an argument against measuring success in the arts through the use of test scores, stating that the true impact of study in the arts cannot be measured in this way. This study piloted a model of measuring growth in arts integration classrooms through the use of the Tennessee Fine Arts Student Growth Measures (TFASGM) system, a portfolio-based teacher evaluation and student growth measurement model. Teachers worked in control and treatment groups to implement the TFASGM in general education classrooms. Along with using the model, a teacher treatment group received targeted arts integration training, and through the model’s results, the impact of the training through teacher effect scores was also measured. Results showed teachers receiving arts integration training produced more significant student growth, and had a greater effect on student performance. Higher levels of arts integration that are more closely aligned with Dewey’s experiential education philosophy, such as process-based learning and the exploration of concepts common to arts and non-arts subjects, were also observed. More study, including a wider-scale implementation of the TFASGM in arts integration classrooms, is needed to make more substantial conclusions. However, this study demonstrates the viability of a growth-based arts teacher evaluation model in arts integration classrooms, and a new way of reporting on the success of arts integration programs that is in line with Dewey’s experiential, growth-based philosophy.