The Kennedy Center

Research and Evaluation

Snapshots: Exploring Equity and Access to Arts Education

Our Arts in Education National Program grant from the U.S. Department of Education for 2015-2018 encourages us to evaluate our programs regarding how we are addressing the needs and interests of "priority and competitive populations", including students from Title I schools, students with disabilities and English learners. Here's a snapshot of our evaluation design in the first year.

  • R&E Presents at EVAL 2017 (Nov 2017)

    Don Glass will be chairing and presenting at a session at the American Evaluation Association's EVAL 2017 conference in Washington, DC on November 10. The session is titled, "Shared Measurement and Strategic Learning: Arts Education Collective Impact Initiatives" which also includes Patricia Moore Shaffer (NEA), Stacy Hughey-Surman (University of Alabama), and Steven Shewfelt (Ingenuity). This panel will feature collective impact backbone organizations and network hubs in the arts education field who are learning how to foster measurement know-how, establish routines of data use and strategic learning, and co-develop shared systems of data collection and reporting.

    American Evaluation Association

  • R&E Presents at US ED Grantee Meeting (Nov 2017)

    Don Glass will be co-presenting with program and accessibility staff at the U.S. Department of Education's annual arts in education grantee meeting. The session is titled, "The Development of Sensory-Friendly Educational Programming: Process and Preliminary Findings from a Retrospective Case Study." This session begins to tell the retrospective story of how the Kennedy Center got to the place where sensory friendly and educational supports became part of what artists do to design a show.

    Sensory Friendly

  • The Arts and Special Education: A Map for Research (August 2017)

    VSA and R&E partnered with a group of invited scholars, researchers, and practitioners to map out the intersection of arts education and special education research. The map features suggested research questions, considerations, and milestones to grow this collaborative field.

    A Map for Research

    The Arts and Special Education: A Map for Research

  • SHIFT: Age, Concert Experience, and “SHIFTing” Audience Perceptions (June 2017)

    • R&E conducted a survey of over 1000 patrons during SHIFT: A Festival of American Orchestras 2017. The study investigated:
    • How do the 2017 participating Festival orchestras and the 2017 SHIFT Festival contribute to a potential shift of the public’s pre-conceived notions about orchestras?
    • What is the potential impact of the SHIFT 2017 Festival on the Kennedy Center, Washington Performing Arts and orchestras across the country?

    Bar chart of the probability of fresh faces responses to innovation

  • R&E Presents Three Papers at the American Educational Research Association (AERA) Annual Meeting (APRIL 2017)

    On April 28, 2017, several members of the Research and Evaluation team presented results from three studies that we have been conducting at the American Educational Researchers Association (AERA) Annual Meeting in San Antonio, Texas. We share the abstracts from each of these papers here. Eventually, when all the data are collected from these studies of Kennedy Center educational programs, these papers will contribute to articles published in journals for artists, arts educators, teachers and others. In addition, the instruments and tools used in these studies may be shared with interested researchers and evaluators in the arts education field.

    1. The Development of a Scale to Assess Student Arts Engagement in Low-Income Urban Schools
    2. The Impact of Arts Integration Professional Development on Equity and Access in Teaching and Learning
    3. Examining Access and Equity in Arts Partnerships Programming

    American Educational Research Association (AERA) Annual Meeting 2017

  • Factors that Optimize Student Engagement at Performances (March 2017)

    The Kennedy Center Education Research and Evaluation team is conducting performance polling with up to 1500 young people at the Kennedy Center this school year. An 11-item survey is being administered using iPads and asks for responses to measure affective and cognitive engagement, which may be a gateway to learning.

    First results provide some statistically significant evidence about factors that optimize student engagement for educational arts performances. Although it is not surprising that 88% of all students reported being engaged at a world-class performance, we identified students who are currently taking arts lessons that report higher levels of engagement compared to those who have done so in the past or not at all.

    • Students who are currently learning about the art form that they experienced at the performance have a level of engagement that is 11% higher than those who never took arts lessons, and 7% higher than those who took arts lessons in the past.  

    • Preparation highlights another important factor for increasing student engagement at arts performances. Data shows that students who are prepared prior to the performance (through using i.e., Cuesheet performance guides etc.) have a 6% higher level of engagement.  

    While we are excited to conduct further analysis beyond these two findings, shared results may inform the educators’ and administrator’s approach to student’s engagement with the arts.

    Regression line for Collective Efficacy Factor and Access for Students with Disabilities

  • Using Curricular Frameworks to Improve Arts Integration (March 2017)

    Dr. Glass  has co-authored a chapter in the recently released book  Preparing Educators for Arts Integration: Placing Creativity at the Center of Learning  (2017) from Teachers College Press. Along with Lisa Donovan, he discusses how to use curriculum design frameworks to focus improvement in design and evaluation cycles.

    This resource examines professional development approaches from across the United States to help schools and allied arts groups integrate the arts into an already crowded K–12 curriculum. The authors document the purposes and structures of a broad spectrum of current efforts and programs. Readers will find strong, empirically tested models of arts integration to inform curriculum development and teacher professional learning.
    Teachers College Press

    Preparing Educators for Arts Integration book cover

  • R&E Team Builds Evaluation Capacity for Programs (February 2017)

    In addition to monthly brown bag presentations with Kennedy Center education staff, the R&E team has provided presentations and workshops at the annual of meetings of  Any Given Child, Partners in Education, and the Changing Education through the Arts programs. The goal is to build evaluation capacity across the local and national programs so that we can tell meaningful and coherent local and national stories.

    At the Any Given Child Exchange, Dr. Don Glass gave a follow-up talk to Marcie Parkhurst's presentation on evaluating collective Impact. Dr. Glass focused on the collective impact principle of shared measurement, and proposed initiating a Community of Practice that works across the network to more consistently define, measure, and improve access to arts in education.

    Dr. Gail Burnaford and Dr. Glass facilitated a two part workshop at the Partners in Education annual meeting. The workshop provided an overview of evaluation vocabulary, trends, SMART goals, and target-setting. Participants analyzed survey items, responded to a cross-program survey, and developed evaluation plans.

    Dr. Burnaford also presented findings from a CETA impact survey at a recent CETA leadership gathering, and encouraged reflection what it meant for the school programs and the Kennedy Center partnership.

    button with graph of upward data trend

Research & Evaluation

tablet with research graphsThe Research and Evaluation team gathers data and conducts KC Education studies in order to improve programs, gather evidence of what works, and inform decisions about local and national arts education offerings.

Dr. Muna Shami


Dr. Don Glass

Research Manager

Dr. Charlie Beekman

Research Analysis Manager

Stephanie McKeel

Assistant Research Manager