In response to an Ohio law requiring schools to include the arts in identifying gifted and talented students (House Bill 282, 2000), a partnership of arts and education organizations designed a project to show how identifying and nurturing students gifted in the arts can affect success in school, especially for those who struggle in the classroom and on standardized tests.
Project START ID, developed by the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) in partnership with the Ohio Arts Council (OAC) and the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education (OAAE), helped two very different schools assess students in dance, music, theatre, and art, and provide advanced instruction for students identified through the program. Classroom teachers were trained to increase their awareness of artistic talent and to help students use these abilities in the. Research focused on observing both students and teachers apply artistic methods to classroom teaching and learning. The final year of the project supported the completion of the research.
Project START ID took place in two elementary schools - John D. Rockefeller Fundamental Education Center in Cleveland, and Cleveland Elementary in Hamilton - that included economically disadvantaged and special education students. Building on existing local partnerships of schools and arts organizations, Project START ID provided the following services:
- Talent assessment of all grade 2-6 students in dance, music, theater, and visual art.
- Advanced arts instruction for identified students during and after the school day.
- On-going professional development (training) for classroom teachers, school art & music teachers, and teaching artists.
- Parent workshops and support services.
- Curriculum development specialists and facilitators to work together with teachers and artists.
- Research on artistic talents, the reliability of the testing process, and the effects of the program on students and teachers.
Project START ID has been an extraordinary venture for the state of Ohio, demonstrating a broad, inclusive approach to the arts and gifted & talented education. Partnering with public education, arts institutions, and community arts organizations, the project applied best practices of authentic assessment, gifted identification, and talent development. Through its innovative approaches to artist training, professional development, and curriculum development, Project START ID helped these communities to recognize and develop the artistic talents of young people while enhancing arts education opportunities for all students, teachers and parents in the school.
Project START ID developed
Curriculum in dance, music, theater, and visual art that is differentiated, engaging, and aligned with state standards.
- Authentic, performance-based assessments in each art form.
- Lessons integrating the arts with other academic subjects.
- Strategies for district and regional planning and communication among arts, gifted, and curriculum coordinators as well as between schools and community arts agencies.
Results of the research show
1) TEACHERS DEMONSTRATED INCREASED AWARENESS of STUDENTS' ARTISTIC TALENTS INCREASED THEIR USE of ACTIVE, ARTS-BASED TEACHING PRACTICES
- Classroom teachers were able to effectively and accurately assess the artistic abilities and behaviors of their students.
- Involvement in talent assessment affected teachers' expectations of talented, underachieving students.
- Arts-based professional development helped teachers apply active artistic teaching strategies in the academic classroom.
2) STUDENTS EXPERIENCED SUCCESS in RIGOROUS ARTS INSTRUCTION INCREASED USE of SELF-REGULATORY BEHAVIORS and EFFECTIVE LEARNING STRATEGIES
- Identified students thrived in talent development classes during and after school.
- Artistically talented students who normally struggle in the classroom demonstrated more effective learning behaviors when the arts were included in classroom instruction.
- Low-scoring students showed particular benefit from specialized tutoring focused on transferring skills from the arts to other academic subjects.
The project was generously supported by: the Jacob K. Javits Gifted and Talented Students Grant (from the United States Department of Education); the Ohio Department of Education (ODE); the Ohio Arts Council (OAC); the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education (OAAE); and The Clowes Fund.