Catterall, J., & Waldorf, L. (1999). Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education summary evaluation. In E. Fiske (Ed.), Champions of change: The impact of the arts on learning (pp. 47-62). The Arts Education Partnership and The President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. Washington, DC.


This study evaluates the Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education (CAPE), a program that provided grants to schools to form partnerships between local artists, arts agencies, and teachers to integrate arts across the school curriculum. When the program was fully implemented, it encompassed 37 schools, 53 professional arts organizations, and 27 community organizations. The evaluation reports on the program’s impacts on the classroom, students, teachers, and artists, and on the support the program received from schools and communities in Chicago.

Key Findings:

There were four main categories of findings: (1) impact on the classroom, (2) effects on teachers and artists, (3) impact on students, and (4) support from school- and community- based groups.

Impacts on the classroom

  • Teachers and artists were more likely to integrate arts into reading.
  • Visual art was the most popular art form with teachers.

Effects on teachers and artists

  • Teachers and artists collaborated greatly in the preparation and instruction of the arts integrated lessons.
  • Teachers bought into the implementation of the program.
  • Although teacher participation in CAPE-provided professional development was low, teachers found the professional development useful.

Impact on students

  • Students in CAPE schools performed better in reading and mathematics than students from comparison schools, however, the difference was statistically significant only at the elementary school level and not at the high school level.
  • Students enjoyed arts-integrated lessons.

Support from school and community based groups

  • School principals and community arts organizations were supportive of the implementation of CAPE.

Significance of the Findings:

The report summarizes findings from an arts-integration program that spanned five years. The report provides important insight into the effects of the program on various stakeholders, including students and teachers. Findings indicate that implementing such a program could be beneficial to schools, teachers, students, and the community. The report could be useful to inform arts organizations, community agencies, or schools interested in implementing a similar program.


The CAPE program provided grants to schools to form partnerships between local artists, arts agencies, and teachers to integrate arts into the curriculum. To evaluate the program, researchers collected data through document review, surveys, case studies, classroom observations, interviews, and focus groups. Evaluators collected and analyzed Iowa Test of Basic Skills data to evaluate the program’s impact on student achievement in reading and mathematics.

Limitations of the Research:

The evaluation focused on one program. The results of the evaluation are only relevant to the CAPE program and caution should be used if the results are to be generalized to other arts-integration programs.

Questions to Guide New Research:

How did the level of implementation affect the outcomes? Did higher-implementing sites have more positive results? Would implementation of the program in other settings, such as rural or suburban areas, result in similar findings?