Evaluation to Measure Impact of Detroit Wolf Trap’s Early Learning through the Arts on Teacher Growth in Instructional Ability

Dates: 2019 -

Detroit Wolf Trap’s Early Learning Through the Arts provides arts-based teaching strategies and services to early childhood teachers. As a regional affiliate, Living Arts will provide approximately 70 eight-week arts integration residencies to Early Head Start and Head Start educators in Detroit, Michigan across six Head Start grantees. Classroom residencies embed routine coaching for teachers, stand-alone professional development workshops, and out-of-school performing arts experiences. The residences emphasize improving the quality of early education by infusing art into pre-K instruction in math, science, and literacy. To understand the impact of the program on teacher instruction, RFA will conduct a mixed-methods randomized study where 70 teachers are randomly selected to participate in the program and 70 are randomly selected to serve as a comparison group. The research will draw on a mixed-methods approach that provides both breadth and depth: a close-in description of pre-and post-training classroom instruction from observations of a small number of classrooms coupled with pre- and post-training survey data from teachers and secondary analysis of two dimensions of the Classroom Assessment Scoring System that measure teacher instructional ability: Instructional Learning Formats and Concept Development CLASS scores. This pre-post design will provide a rich description of how classroom instruction changes when teachers participate in the DWT program. In addition, this study will produce valid evidence of the successes and challenges of DWT’s program, including how it aligns with existing models of professional development, what drives impact on teacher outcomes, and variation in impact across teachers.