In 2003, the National Museum of Women in the Arts received a grant from the U.S. Department of Education to develop an arts integration curriculum and to study the impact of the curriculum on student learning. Results of the three-year study show that the Art, Books, and Creativity curriculum:
- Provides a significant positive effect on student learning in the visual arts and writing;
- Works as an effective model for integrating visual arts and language arts;
- Supports State and National Learning Standards, and;
- Shows particular effectiveness in high-poverty schools.
A second grant from the U.S. Department of Education, in 2006, supported NMWA’s efforts to develop and evaluate a model professional development program that helps teachers integrate the visual arts into the core curriculum by using web-based platforms to extend real-time learning opportunities. By facilitating teachers’ efforts at arts integration, the museum fostered student visual and verbal literacy, creativity, and critical thinking. Findings from the four-year of Teachers Connect: Distance Learning in the Arts include:
- Students in classrooms with participating Teachers Connect teachers outperformed students in the control groups on the visual arts concepts test and the written expression test;
- The majority of Teachers Connect teachers perceived improvement in students’ ability to use art vocabulary, recognize art forms and the elements of art, use visual arts concepts meaningfully and engage in critical thinking; and
- The majority of Teachers Connect teachers had a positive reaction to the program and perceived that it enabled them to implement the visual arts into their classrooms through literacy, media, and artwork exploration; thinking routines (cognitive strategies); and artists’ books.