Key Research Findings

Wolf Trap’s Early STEM/Arts program had a statistically significant, positive impact on students’ math
achievement. Wolf Trap students outperformed peers in the control schools on the Early Math Diagnostic
Assessment (EMDA), a standard math assessment for young children.

Students in the classrooms of teachers trained in the Early STEM/Arts program gained the equivalent of more than a month of additional learning in math. The first-year impact translates to 1.3 additional months of learning, or 26 additional days, for students whose teachers participated in program. In the second year, AIR found a sustained impact amounting to 1.7 additional months of learning, or 34 additional days, even though not all students in the second year continued in classrooms with teachers participating in the program.

Wolf Trap’s Early STEM/Arts program demonstrates features of effective, high quality PD. In measuring Wolf Trap’s model against standards of effective PD, research confirms that Wolf Trap provides high quality PD by thoroughly integrating: form, duration, collective participation, content, active learning, and coherence.

Elements of Early STEM/Arts that may have contributed to positive results:

 Reaching children early and improved classroom interaction. For many students, this was their first
introduction to school and the first opportunity to learn English. Teachers said the use of music, movement,
and dramatizing concepts was beneficial for all students, but in particular students who were shy, who had
never been to school, or who spoke another language. Additionally, an increased focus on student
participation, ongoing teacher feedback, and improved classroom structure may have contributed to student
learning.

Giving a boost to teachers’ math instruction. The use of performing arts strategies linked to mathematics
concepts may have provided an instructional boost, making abstract math concepts seem more real and
accessible through the new strategies applied by the teacher and the teaching artist.

Teacher enthusiasm for the arts in the classroom. It may be that the teachers in the treatment schools were
highly receptive to the PD and eager to implement new strategies that could result in improved math
performance.