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: Prop 28- What We Know So Far shares timely information about arts funding for California schools. The Arts Education Data Project allows you to see how your school, district, or county compares to others in the state in the provision of arts education services.

Prop 28 – Art and Music Funding – This webpage hosted by the California Department of Education is a source of information and FAQs about the ballot measure passed in Nov 2022 that requires the state to establish a new, ongoing program to support arts instruction in schools.

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.

Turnaround Arts Pilot Evaluation– This summary of findings describe how the schools in the National Turnaround Arts pilot program outperformed other federal School Improvement Grant schools. 

Reinvesting in Arts Education: Winning America’s Future Through Creative Schools – This 2011 report inspired the President’s Committee on Arts and Humanities to create the Turnaround Arts pilot program. The report provides info about the disparities in public arts education across the country, and includes info about the documented outcomes of arts education. It analyzes the challenges and opportunities in the field, and provides recommendations for federal, state and local policymakers. 

Impact of Music Education – “How children benefit from music education in schools” cites dozens of research studies and articles, created by NAMM Foundation.