Why is it so important to keep the arts strong in our schools? How does the study of the arts contribute to student achievement and success? We know the arts can bolster the skills demanded of a 21st century workforce and enrich the lives of young people and their communities, this comprehensive list of research papers explores these questions and theories.

Critical Evidence: How the Arts Benefit Student Achievement – Published by the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA) in collaboration with the Arts Education Partnership (AEP). This booklet responds to the needs of policymakers, educators, parents and advocates for fact based, non-technical language documenting the most current and compelling research on the value of arts learning experiences. 2006, 20 pages.

Preparing Students for the Next America: The Benefits of an Arts Education – The Arts Education Partnership (AEP), a division of the Council of Chief State School Officers, produced this research bulletin that offers an evidenced-based snapshot of how the arts support achievement in school.

Create CA – Create CA is a coalition of dedicated and innovative leaders who understand that together we have the power to create lasting change for every California student. Particular resources of note: Arts Education Data Project allows you to see how your school, district or county compares to others in the state in provision of arts education services; Declaration of Students Rights to Access Arts Education – tools to advocate for the arts.

ART=OPPORTUNITY – Founded by Merryl Goldberg, Executive Director, and founder of Center ARTES in the School of Arts at CSU San Marcos. The website has access to useful research and advocacy tools.

Review of Evidence: Arts Integration Research through the Lens of the Every Child Succeeds Act (ESSA)The Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 (ESSA) introduced several new funding streams that states and districts can use to improve schools, including 12 that could be used to support arts integration.

How Music and Dancing Relieve Stress, Scientifically Speaking – This blog post informally summarizes research on the power of dance and movement to lower stress hormones, boost endorphins, and foster social connections. It describes what types of music increases concentration, optimism, or relaxation, just by listening.

Arts Education and Social Emotional Learning Outcomes – This report documents how arts education provides opportunities for SEL, primarily by fostering positive relationships which often stand in contrast to those formed within regular academic instruction. They find that the “how” is as important as the “what” in the arts studio or regular classroom: Providing opportunities for students to engage in cycles of practice, production and reflection are essential to helping students process challenges and disappointments in the creative process without alienation or shame. SEL impact of the arts can be positive or negative, and educators must be intentional to create positive SEL.