Language Translation
  Close Menu


Unlimited potential for improving the literacy of students who experience PACE

The PACE program provides a glimpse of what a focused quality education in the arts would provide for learners over time. It also includes illustrations of the benefits collaborations between teaching artists and arts educators can produce in student learning in the arts.

Findings from the three-year study of the impact the PACE program is having on students’ learning demonstrated clear growth and a positive impact on the overall development of the arts education and attitudes of young people involved in the program.

Although the levels of growth were modest in some cases, nonetheless, they were consistently positive and suggest that the PACE program is moving toward accomplishing its goals and the vision created for the program. Comparisons of findings from the study, thus far, provide an emerging and intriguing portrait of how the PACE program is providing consistent growth and advancement of students’ knowledge, skills, and attitudes in the arts.

Research topics of the study included: 

  1. Students’ general knowledge of and interest in the arts
  2. Students’ arts discipline-specific knowledge and vocabulary
  3. Students’ arts skills
  4. Students’ writing about the arts
  5. Students’ general attitudes about the arts

The makeup of the 1,875 students in the PACE program included:

  • 333 students who participated during the 2015-2016 academic year
  • 584 students who participated during the 2016-2017 academic year
  • 480 students who participated during the 2017-2018 academic year
  • 260 students who participated during the 2018-2019 academic year
  • 218 students who participated during the 2019-2020 academic year

Of these:

  • 598 or 32% studied dance
  • 579 or 31% studied theatre
  • 574 or 31% studied visual art
  • 124 or 7% studied music

The research methodology included surveys from the fall of 2015 through the spring of 2018 academic years of stratified samples of 1,397 elementary students from first grade through fifth grade. The PACE program included six elementary schools representing urban, suburban, and rural school districts from across Indiana. Arts disciplines in the study, including art, dance, and theater, were represented by two schools each. Survey instruments were developed for each of the research topics in the study. Assessments were conducted in the fall (pre-test) and spring (post-test) of each academic year. Instruments included Likert–style, forced-choice, and open-ended items. Rubrics were provided to participating arts educators and teaching artists for evaluating students’ responses. Data were aggregated by class, grade level, school, and arts discipline. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze data and to summarize findings.

Man with blue suit on

About the Researcher

Dr. F. Robert “Bob” Sabol

Dr. F. Robert Sabol is the Associate Head of the Rueff School of Design, Art, and Performance and a Professor of Visual and Performing Arts at Purdue University. His research interests include assessment, multiculturalism, arts education policy, curriculum development, and professional development of art educators. He has given over 150 presentations of his research at state, national, and international conferences. He has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the U. S. Department of Education, the National Art Education Foundation, and other funding sources to support his research. He has published numerous articles in professional journals and is a co-author of Assessing Expressive Learning and Through the Prism: Looking into the Spectrum of Writings by Enid Zimmerman. He has received numerous awards for his research and teaching including NAEA Distinguished Fellow, NAEA Manual Barkan Memorial Award, NAEA Western Region Higher Education Art Educator of the Year, Art Education Association of Indiana (AEAI) Art Educator of the Year, AEAI Elementary Art Educator of the Year, AEAI Education Higher Education Art Educator of the Year, AEAI Distinguished Fellow, and Purdue University Excellence in Teaching Award twice. He has been President of the National Art Education Association (NAEA), President of the NAEA Public Policy and Arts Administration issues group, President of AEAI, NAEA Western Region Vice President, and a member of the Executive Committee of the NAEA Board of Directors.