Journal of Applied and Educational Research


Julie Flynn



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Teachers and students nationwide are struggling to address the disparity in academic achievement between students in urban, socioeconomically underprivileged and racially segregated school districts, and their more affluent, white, suburban counterparts. Poorer urban schools are also less likely to have adequate funding and support for arts programs. Educators must thus look outside of traditional learning models and explore all opportunities to engage their students and create learning opportunities. Arts integration has been shown to improve student attitudes and engagement, along with a potential to “transfer” skills and knowledge to other subject areas. This study sought to examine whether the integration of art in project-based learning could improve student learning outcomes for fifth graders in an urban elementary school. The study examined three separate classes of fifth grade students who attend a Title 1 school in Hartford, CT. All of the students participated in the same curriculum study of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in their English Language Arts Expeditionary Learning unit. The three classes each received a different level of integrated arts learning in their visual arts classes, ranging from none (control), to moderate, to intense. Student learning outcomes were measured by comparing students’ scores on the English Language Arts Expeditionary Learning Unit Assessment test at the end of each module. As students’ level of arts integration increased, their unit assessment scores also increased, confirming the hypothesis of the study.

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