Arts Integration is an approach to teaching and learning through which content standards are taught and assessed equitably in and through the arts. With over 30 years worth of research, multiple studies have shown arts integration to positively impact student achievement. Key findings in a recent research study conducted by the Wallace Foundation indicate that the average student could go from the 50th to the 54th percentile as the result of arts integration in his or her school¹.
STEAM is an educational approach to learning that uses Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics as access points for guiding student inquiry, dialogue, and critical thinking. The end results are students who take thoughtful risks, engage in experiential learning, persist in problem-solving, embrace collaboration, and work through the creative process².
With the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in 2015, federal funds are now available to support the implementation of both arts integration and STEAM in schools through at least 12 sources within the law³.
In the new ESSA law, the arts and music are included in a definition of a “well-rounded education,” which has replaced the current term “core academic subjects.” This term, “well-rounded education,” including the arts and music, is clear throughout the bill, and ensures that federal funds are used to support educational opportunities through a variety of subjects.
Those subjects include English, language arts, writing, science, technology, engineering, mathematics, foreign languages, civics and government, economics, arts, history, geography, computer science, music, career and technical education, health, physical education, and any other subject determined by state or local governments.