The Arts Education Partnership argues that students who regularly participate in the arts do better at mastering reading, writing, and math than those who focus solely on academics. In 2011, C.A.E. received test results from the Garfield Academy administration for 70 students in Grades 5 - 8 who actively participated in C.A.E.'s after-school enrichment program. The Scantron® Performance Test data results showed an overall combined average increase of 34% in Science, Reading, and Math – supporting the findings from the 2002 Arts Education Partnership Study: Arts education has an academic effect.
To ensure program effectiveness, staff continuously evaluate program functioning through observation, data collection, and analysis. The success of the programs is measured by using a variety of methods, including self-evaluation surveys, pre-test and post-tests, interviews, observations, and tracking data over time. These assessments are conducted using a set of predefined criteria, known as Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), to make any necessary improvements in a timely manner.
PARTICIPATION DATA: includes qualitative indicators such as the perceived success of the artistic practice and audience response, student profile, and volunteering as well as quantitative such as participant and audience numbers
MARKETING DATA: includes outreach strategies to target markets
IMPACT DATA: includes involvement, outcomes (e.g., artistic practice, profile, school climate), perception of success
FINANCE & RESOURCES DATA: includes funding, budgeting, resource allocation, and controls
LEADERSHIP & MANAGEMENT: includes staff, volunteers, artists, partners, and board member assessments. Strategic planning, training, rapport with students & families, and clarity/success of program/project objectives
COLLABORATIVE TECHNOLOGY: includes collaborative software tools and systems designed to facilitate group work and allow for more intuitive and coordinated group problem-solving across entire teams' workflows, both in-office and remote.
The criteria derived from workshop objectives involve the following:
Translating those objectives into measures of success and establishing a small number of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and/or Impact Measures around each of the objectives
Testing the assumptions underlying the workshop and its anticipated impacts
Creating a base-line where appropriate (e.g., activity levels, current/target audiences, partnerships, financial parameters, educational attainments, satisfaction surveys) for the KPIs
Setting up light-touch tracking mechanisms for the workshop (e.g., user surveys)
Ensuring that all projects are adequately documented through a range of media
To evaluate the program's long-term impact, program graduates will be surveyed on a semi-annual basis for up to four years after completing the program. These surveys will be used to assess the graduates' level of satisfaction with the services provided and gather feedback on areas for improvement, as seen from the student's perspective.