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Program Assessment & Evaluation
Over the past four years, data about our work in schools has been collected to reflect the following impact of performing arts programs that are integrated into the everyday literacy instruction. Data has been collected for both teachers (>40) and students(>350) we serve and is compared with students and teachers from similar or the same schools who have not participated in our programs. Surveys, classroom observations, interviews and standardized test data have been used to report the following outcomes.
Improved attendance – Increases in student attendance for participating classes when compared with similar classes on the same grade level at the same school show an increase from 2-7 percentage points for the average class attendance for the year. Further data analysis shows attendance rates being the highest for participating classes during the months of January and June (during the bi-annual slam team competition weeks)
Increases motivation for learning – Participating teachers note that students in the participating schools enjoy the writing process more when they can perform their original work. Data gathered from qualitative means such as classroom observations and individual interviews suggest strong program impacts on student motivation and attitudes towards literacy.
Increases retention – The most significant data reported in this area has been the profound impact of integrated arts and literacy programs serving our English Language Learners. Over the past 3 years data shows evidence of a decrease in the ELL designation of students by 50% in participating schools. We attribute this mostly to promoting native language poetry development and the increase in self-confidence for this particular subgroup of students.
Improves writing quality – Analysis of state standardized test scores have showed that participating students’ scores have increased, while comparison students’ scores have demonstrated slight declines. Some of these differences have been statistically significant. NYC ELA test scores for treatment students in the sixth grade (participating in 2004) showed an increase in the mean scale score from 654.07 to 655.348 in pre- and post-test comparisons. Comparison students from the same grade levels showed a decline in mean scale score from 647.62 to 645.32. In most instances there was also a higher level of students in levels 3 and 4 on ELA test results than comparison groups.
Increases student self-esteem & self awareness – Many teachers and students surveyed reported multiple instances of shy students coming out of their shells and unengaged students becoming more participative.
Enhances communication & social skills – The use of videoconference technology has also supported an increase in student self-confidence and communication skills, especially when participating students are engaged in interaction with authentic audiences. These skills have also carried over to other subject area learning for our students particularly in areas such as social studies debate classes and collaborative team project work.
Engages multiple learning styles – Use of technology resources such as multimedia applications has allowed students to engage in writing and performing through multiple learning styles.
Offers immediate feedback – Students receive feedback about their work from their peers within and outside of their own classrooms. Videoconference technology allows for convenient and immediate feedback from multiple students and multiple schools without loss of important instructional time for travel and scheduling.
Extends literacy instruction options – Others noted that they feel more comfortable teaching writing, a subject that teachers have traditionally found difficult. One teacher wrote that she teaches poetry every day now and another indicated that the program “…has made me love poetry and in turn has made my students more interested in poetry. I use poetry quite frequently in my lessons. It has inspired me to write and publish my own.”
Develops collaborative teaching skills – teachers indicated that they learned teaching strategies from co-teaching with art experts. For example, one teacher noted that sharing the class with the teaching artist “helps me observe my class in a different learning environment…I am able to see and share qualities that I might not have experimented; this improves my future teaching.” Teachers engaged in ongoing professional development sessions (six per year) with professional poets indicated that they learn teaching strategies through interaction with the poets and gain comfort with performance instruction through the integrated approach. Treatment teachers, in their survey responses, indicated feeling more equipped to mentor other teachers in writing through participation in POETRY Express.
Learns how to integrate arts – Furthermore, teachers noted that the program has helped them to better differentiate instruction for students with different learning styles in their classroom and one teacher noted that she includes more drama, physical work, and icebreakers into the school day now. Ninety percent of participating teachers surveyed indicated that they had integrated poetry into their class lessons
Learns how to integrate technology – Increased comfort in use of technology for publication – A school blog site. At least three other schools in the Bronx WRITeS/POETRY Express program have begun to use web blogging as a means of publishing student work in a multimedia format. and 100 percent of teachers had integrated technology into their classroom activities.
Anecdotal Quotes from Teachers
“Students enjoy writing more when they get to perform their original work”.
“Students learn to give constructive feedback and be good audience members”.
“I have experienced several situations where shy students come out of their shells and misbehaved students engage in the process”
“the program gives students an opportunity to express themselves” and “shy students ‘come out of their shells’ after participating in the program.”
“I have learned teaching strategies from my poet and have gained comfort with performance instruction and use of technology”.