Integrated Studies

Integrated Studies Research Review: Annotated Bibliography

What the research says about integrated studies.

May 19, 2013 Updated December 1, 2015

Adesope, O.O., Lavin, T., Thompson, T., and Ungerleider, C. (2010). A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of the Cognitive Correlates of Bilingualism [abstract]. Review of Educational Research, 80(2), 207-245. A meta-analysis of studies examined the cognitive correlates of bilingualism. Results indicate that bilingualism is reliably associated with several cognitive outcomes, including increased attention control, working memory, metalinguistic awareness, and abstract and symbolic representation skills.

Barry, N.H. (2010). Oklahoma A+ Schools: What the Research Tells Us 2002-2007, Volume 3: Quantitative Measures (PDF). Edmond, OK: Oklahoma A+ Schools/University of Central Oklahoma. Five-year evaluation study on the effectiveness of A+ arts-integrated school reform strategies in Oklahoma schools, based on a survey of students, teachers, and professional-development faculty. Students participating in the A+ Schools program had higher achievement on standardized tests, better attendance, and decreased disciplinary problems, were more engaged, and demonstrated more positive attitudes toward classroom activities. Teachers reported having more positive attitudes about arts integration and about teacher collaboration, and parent and community involvement increased.

Billig, S. (2010). Why Service Learning is Such a Good Idea: Explanations from the Research. Colleagues, 5(1), Article 6. This article reviews student engagement and volunteerism literature to connect service learning with engagement. The author deconstructs the concept of student engagement and then addresses how to increase engagement, arguing that the practices that increase student engagement are present in service learning. Billig strengthens the argument for service learning by citing the benefits of volunteerism for quality of life. The article's argument is summarized by the conclusion: "Service learning has the characteristics of effective teaching and learning approaches for student engagement, and leads to lifelong benefits."

Blair, D. (2009). The Child in the Garden: An Evaluative Review of the Benefits of School Gardening (PDF). Journal of Environmental Education, 40(2), 15-38. In this literature review on children's gardening covering 20 studies between 1995 and 2007, school-gardening programs were shown generally to increase students' science achievement and food behavior. Effects of these programs on children's environmental attitudes and social behavior were mixed and didn't show consistent improvement.

Borman, G.D., Hewes, G.M., Overman, L.T., and Brown, S. (2003). Comprehensive School Reform and Achievement: A Meta-Analysis (PDF). Review of Educational Research, 73(2), 125-230. In this article, the authors examine research on comprehensive school reform. In their analysis, they found that Expeditionary Learning Outward Bound (ELOB) had highly promising and significant evidence of effectiveness (six studies across multiple states) to support the positive impact the program has on student achievement.

Bredderman, T. (1983). Effects of Activity-Based Elementary Science on Student Outcomes: A Quantitative Synthesis [abstract]. Review of Educational Research, 53(4), 499-518. This meta-analysis synthesizes research on the effectiveness of three major activity-based elementary science programs (Elementary Science Study, Science-A Process Approach, and Science Curriculum Improvement Study), which were developed with federal support. In 57 controlled studies, outcomes were measured in more than 900 classrooms; the overall mean effect size for all outcome areas was 0.35. The mean effect size was 0.52 for science process tests, 0.16 for science content, and 0.28 for affective outcomes. On the average, gains were also realized in creativity, intelligence, language, and mathematics. The author concludes that although the advantages gained and maintained during years of participation in activity-based science programs is not sustained in years following, the more activity-based approaches result in gains over traditional methods in a range of outcomes.

Bridgeland, J.M., Dilulio, J.J., and Morison, K.B. (2006). The Silent Epidemic: Perspectives of High School Dropouts (PDF). Washington, DC: Civic Enterprises. Report on a survey of 467 students who have dropped out of high school. Results show that while some students drop out because of academic challenges, most others leave school due to circumstances in their lives and an inadequate response to those challenges from their schools: lack of motivation, interest, and classes that were not challenging enough.

Burnaford, G., & Scripp, L. (2012). Partnerships in Arts Integration Research (PAIR): Final Reports. Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education (CAPE). This PAIR (Partnerships for Arts Integration Research) report is an evaluation of a four year project with Chicago Public Schools involving three pairings of school populations (three arts-integrated schools paired with a world languages-focused school, a fine-arts focused school; and a math and science focused school). Teaching artists were paired with 4th, 5th, and 6th grade teachers to develop arts-integrated lessons. When compared to six control schools of similar status and demographics, the arts-integrated schools showed increased test scores and a narrowing of the achievement gap.

Catterall, J.S., Dumais, S.A., and Hampden-Thompson, G. (2012). The Arts and Achievement in At-Risk Youth: Findings from Four Longitudinal Studies, Research Report #55 (PDF). Washington, DC: National Endowment for the Arts. This report examines the academic and civic behavior outcomes of teenagers and young adults (with a focus on those from lower socioeconomic status) who have engaged deeply with the arts in or out of school. In several small-group studies, children and teenagers who participated in arts education programs have shown more positive academic and social outcomes in comparison to students who did not participate in those programs. They had higher school grades and test scores and greater rates of honors society membership, high school graduation, college enrollment and achievement, volunteering, and engagement in school or local politics.

Cervetti, G.N., Pearson, P.D., Barber, J., Hiebert, E.H., and Bravo, M.A. (2007). Integrating Literacy and Science: The Research We Have, the Research We Need (PDF). In M. Pressley, A.K. Billman, K.H. Perry, K.E. Refitt, and J.M. Reynolds (Eds.), Shaping Literacy Achievement: Research We Have, Research We Need (pp. 157-174). New York: The Guilford Press. This write-up is based on research from the Lawrence Hall of Science, University of California, Berkeley, that is behind the Seeds of Science/Roots of Reading program. Second- and third-grade students using the Seeds of Science/Roots of Reading units made significantly greater gains in understanding science concepts, knowledge of science vocabulary, and reading comprehension, as measured by tests developed by project researchers, compared to students in comparison conditions for both earth science and life science units.

Chand O’Neal, I. (2014). Selected Findings from the John F. Kennedy Center’s Arts in Education Research Study: An Impact Evaluation of Arts-Integrated Instruction through the Changing Education through the Arts (CETA) Program. Washington, DC: The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. This longitudinal research study examined the impact of the Changing Education Through the Arts (CETA) program on nearly 800 4th and 5th grade students, their parents, and teachers in 32 schools over five school districts in the D.C. metropolitan area. Using a matched comparison group, subjects were tested on creativity and student engagement measures at three different points in time over the school year. Results show that students who participated in arts-integrated classrooms were more creative, engaged, and effective at problem solving than students who didn’t participate in arts-integrated classrooms.

Drake, S.M., and Burns, R. (2004). Meeting Standards Through Integrated Curriculum. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. This book is a guide to creating an integrated curriculum that meets state standards. The authors argue that an interdisciplinary approach to standards provides teachers with opportunities to make the curriculum more purposeful and relevant and can increase student achievement while also being creative, innovative, and interesting.

Erb, T.O., and Stevenson, C. (1999). What Difference Does Teaming Make? (PDF). Middle School Journal, 30(30), 47-50. A review of practices in interdisciplinary team teaching (groups of teachers co-teaching a class) found that effective team teaching depends on the interaction of several elements: (1) teachers need adequate individual and team planning time, (2) smaller teams of two to three teachers are more effective than large teams of four to five, (3) a teacher-to-student ratio of 1:25 or less is ideal, (4) larger time blocks (such as a four-hour class) are more effective than smaller ones, (5) team teaching benefits from having separate areas of the building set aside as a teaching space, and (6) teams should be kept together for at least three years.

Furco, A. (2010). The Community as a Resource for Learning: An Analysis of Academic Service-Learning in Primary and Secondary Education [abstract]. In Dumont, H., Istance, D., and Benavides, F. (Eds.), The Nature of Learning: Using Research to Inspire Practice (pp. 227-249). Paris, France: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Publishing. This chapter provides a historical review on service-learning research findings, concluding that the studies generally indicate that students who participate in service learning maintain higher levels of motivation for learning, incur fewer disciplinary problems in the classroom, demonstrate improved attendance, possess higher self-esteem, and are less likely to drop out of school.

Furco, A., and Root, S. (2010). Research Demonstrates the Value of Service Learning [abstract]. Phi Delta Kappan, 91(5), 16-20. Literature review of more than 30 studies on service-learning 1981 to 2008. Service learning can have positive effects on students' performance on subject-matter examinations and assessments and creates opportunities known to improve academic achievement, such as giving students the chance to act autonomously, develop good relationships with adults and peers, and increase personal self-esteem and feelings of self-efficacy.

Goldschmidt, P., and Jung, H. (2010). Evaluation of Seeds of Science/Roots of Reading: Effective Tools for Developing Literacy through Science in the Early Grades (PDF). Los Angeles: National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing, Center for the Study of Evaluation Graduate School of Education and Information Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles. This study focuses on the Seeds of Science/Roots of Reading program via a cluster randomized study of 100 teachers instructing students in a light/energy unit, with 50 teachers in the control group and 50 in the treatment group. The Seeds/Roots program led to higher student performance on assessments of science knowledge, vocabulary, and writing. Teachers also found the Seeds/Roots unit usable, effective, and engaging.

Gómez, L., Freeman, D., and Freeman, Y. (2005). Dual Language Education: A Promising 50-50 Model [abstract]. Bilingual Research Journal, 29(1), 145-164. The 50-50 model of dual language instruction splits language instruction both by content and in time; for example, science and social studies may be taught in Spanish while language arts and math are taught in English. The 50-50 model has been successfully implemented in regions with high concentrations of Latino students, and students in Texas schools following this model met the proficiency standard in math and reading, as measured by the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS), the state standardized assessment.

Gunn, J.H., and King, B. (2003). Trouble In Paradise: Power, Conflict, And Community In An Interdisciplinary Teaching Team [abstract]. Urban Education, 38, 173-195. A ten-year case study of an urban high school found that interdisciplinary teaching teams were most effective when (1) interpersonal relations and issues of power, recognition, and leadership were addressed, particularly in connection to staff discourse about teaching and learning, (2) teachers' potential to engender effective school improvement was recognized, (3) teachers clarified their models of and expectations for teaching and learning, (4) adequate time was given to let teachers work through their differences and establish trust, and (5) a decentralized model of control was used, such as professional cultures and learning communities.

Guthrie, J.T., Klauda, S.L., and Ho, A.N. (2013). Modeling the Relationships Among Reading Instruction, Motivation, Engagement, and Achievement for Adolescents. Reading Research Quarterly, 48(1), 9-26. This study of 1,159 seventh graders, using both a correlational and quasi-experimental approach, compared students participating in the Concept-Oriented Reading Instruction (CORI) program who also had traditional instruction to students in only a traditional reading/language arts program. CORI is a reading program that emphasizes support for reading motivation, reading engagement, and cognitive strategies for reading informational text, primarily in science. Students participating in the CORI program had higher motivation, engagement, and achievement compared to students in the traditional reading/language arts program.

Hendrickson, J., and Oklahoma A+ Schools (2010). Oklahoma A+ Schools: What the Research Tells Us, 2002-2007 (PDF). Executive Summary, Volumes 1-5. Oklahoma A+ Schools is an arts-integration and professional development program implemented in schools across Oklahoma. This executive summary covers a five-year study on the implementation and outcomes of the program. Results of the study indicate that the Oklahoma A+ Schools program increased student achievement (as measured by state standardized tests), increased attendance of students, decreased discipline problems, seemed to strengthen parent and community involvement, and created a more enjoyable and positive school climate.

Hirad, A., and Zorn, P. (2001). A Little Knowledge Is a Good Thing: Empirical Evidence of the Effectiveness of Pre-Purchasing Homeownership Counseling (PDF). McLean, VA: Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation. This study is part of a body of research on financial-literacy programs that indicates that people learn financial concepts best when financial education is personalized and can be applied to real-life situations. Drawing from records of almost 40,000 mortgages, this study found that homeownership counseling resulted in a 19 percent decrease in mortgage delinquency.

Hughes, K.L., Bailey, T.R., and Karp, M.M. (2002). School-to- Work: Making a Difference in Education [abstract]. Phi Delta Kappan, 84(4), 272-279. This report is a summary of two decades of research that covers the School-to-Work program. Research generally indicates that school-to-work programs result in improved student attendance, grades, and graduation rates. School-to-work programs also help students with career preparation, self-confidence, and an understanding of the importance of school. Graduates of these programs are also more likely to gain employment and earn higher wages than comparable groups.

Kahne, J.E., and Sporte, S.E. (2008). Developing Citizens: The Impact of Civic Learning Opportunities on Students' Commitment to Civic Participation [abstract]. American Educational Research Journal, 45(3), 738-766. The researchers surveyed 4,057 students from 52 high schools in Chicago to examine the influence of civil learning activities on a students' willingness to commit to volunteering and to learn about state and local issues. Activities such as service learning, discussing current events in classrooms, discussing civic and political issues with one's parents, non-sports-related extracurricular pursuits, and living in a civically responsive neighborhood had a positive impact on students' commitments to civic participation.

Klemmer, C.D., Waliczek, T.M., and Zajicek, J.M. (2005). Growing Minds: The Effect of a School Gardening Program on the Science Achievement of Elementary Students (PDF). HortTechnology, 15(3), 448-452. In this quasi-experimental study involving 647 students in grades 3-5, students participated in either school gardening activities along with traditional science instruction or traditional science instruction alone as part of a control group. Students in the experimental group scored significantly higher on the science achievement test compared to students in the control group.

Mac Iver, D. J. (1990). Meeting the Needs of Young Adolescents: Advisory Groups, Interdisciplinary Teaching Teams, and School Transition Programs [preview]. Phi Delta Kappan, 71(6), 458-64. Interdisciplinary teaching teams appear to encourage "team spirit" for students and improve student attitudes and work habits. Feelings of isolation may have been eliminated for teachers who were able to coordinate across subjects and quickly collaborate on reviewing students' progress as well as needed interventions.

Maier, J., and Richter, T. (2012). How Non-Experts Understand Conflicting Information on Social Science Issues: The Role of Perceived Plausibility and Reading Goals (PDF). Journal of Media Psychology (pre-publication version). This study investigates the relationships of perceived plausibility and comprehension of multiple articles related to a social science topic (the PISA study) and effects of recipients' reading goal with multilevel models (items nested within recipients) on a trial-by-trial basis. Information judged as plausible was more likely integrated into recipients' mental model. Results demonstrate that recipients make sense of science communication about controversial issues by actively monitoring the plausibility of information and regulating comprehension processes according to their reading goals.

Mandell, L. (2008). The Financial Literacy of Young American Adults. Results of the 2008 National Jump$tart Coalition Survey of High School Seniors and College Students (PDF). Washington, D.C.: Jumpstart Coalition. This 2008 survey samples high school students and college students nationwide and reports general trends in their financial literacy as compared with the previous years' findings. This report provides an executive summary as well as the full survey, and results are broken down by individual variables, such as gender, race, parental income, and ATM and credit card usage. Notably, high school students performed more poorly on the test than any previous year. College students performed significantly better than high school students. Students who had played a stock market game in class did significantly better on the financial-literacy test, even outperforming students who had taken an entire course on economics.

Mandell, L., and Klein, L.S. (2007). Motivation and Financial Literacy (PDF). Financial Services Review, 16. Analyzing national survey data, the authors found that motivation significantly increased financial literacy.

McCormick, M.H. (2009). The Effectiveness of Youth Financial Education: A Review of the Literature (PDF). Journal of Financial Counseling and Planning, 20(1), 70-83. This literature review describes the state of K-12 financial education and highlights best practices in youth financial education.

Means, B., Confrey, J., House, A., and Bhanot, R. (2008). STEM High Schools Specialized Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics Secondary Schools in the U.S. SRI Project P17858 (PDF). Menlo Park, CA: SRI International. Report on a national survey of 203 STEM high schools conducted in 2007-2008. The survey sought to identify issues and successful practices in "inclusive" STEM schools -- schools that serve students from groups historically under-represented in STEM fields and with a higher percentage of students who qualify for a free or reduced-price lunch (which is linked to family income) -- as opposed to "selective" STEM schools, which recruit students who have higher levels of prior achievement. Survey results indicate that inclusive schools have several strengths in promoting STEM education in students who are underrepresented in STEM fields, such as recognizing that some students need extended instructional time, keeping students with teachers for multiple years, providing students with higher levels of contact with mentors in STEM fields who mirror the students' backgrounds, and emphasizing career and technical preparation.

Meirick, P.C., and Wackman, D.B. (2004). Kids Voting and Political Knowledge: Narrowing Gaps, Informing Votes [abstract]. Social Science Quarterly, 85(5), 1161-1177. Kids Voting USA is a program designed to educate schoolchildren about the democratic process and foster their political socialization. This article set out to explore the consequences of the Kids Voting program for political knowledge, knowledge gaps, and attitude-behavior consistency. A study of 648 seventh and eighth graders enrolled in Kids Voting USA found that participation in the program increased their political knowledge and their ability to choose a political candidate based on the issues that the candidate and student agreed on.

Menzer, M. (2015). The Arts in Early Childhood: Social and Emotional Benefits of Arts Participation. Washington, D.C.: National Endowment for the Arts. This report reviews 18 empirical studies published from 2000 to 2015 on arts participation and early childhood social-emotional development. Research shows that engagement in arts-based activities (such a music, drama, and visual arts) helps improve social and emotional skills for young children.

Minner, D.D., Levy, A.J., and Century, J. (2010). Inquiry-Based Science Instruction -- What Is It and Does It Matter? Results from a Research Synthesis, Years 1984 to 2002 (PDF). Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 47(4), 474-496. This review defines "inquiry-based science instruction," and synthesizes research published from 1984 to 2002 to examine the impact of such instruction on K-12 student science conceptual learning, using a mixed-methodology approach. A total of 138 studies indicate a clear, positive trend favoring inquiry-based instructional practices, particularly instruction that emphasizes students' active thinking and drawing conclusions from data. Teaching strategies that actively engage students in the learning process through scientific investigations are more likely to increase conceptual understanding than are strategies that rely on more passive techniques.

National Research Council - Committee on Highly Successful Science Programs for K-12 Science Education, Board on Science Education and Board on Testing and Assessment, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. (2011). Successful K-12 STEM Education: Identifying Effective Approaches in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (PDF). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. This National Research Council report identifies the need for stronger STEM education in U.S. schools, citing national assessment data that indicate students are underperforming in math and science. Three goals are identified to improve STEM education: (1) expand the number of students who pursue advanced STEM degrees, particularly women and minorities, (2) increase the number of people capable of entering STEM careers, including women and minorities, and (3) increase STEM literacy for all students, including those who do not pursue STEM-related careers or advanced degrees. Examining research in STEM education over the past two decades, the report states that effective STEM instruction capitalizes on students' early interests and experiences, identifies and builds on what they know, and provides them with experiences to engage in the practices of science and sustain their interest.

Nelson, C.A. (2001). The Arts and Education Reform: Lessons from a 4-year Pilot of the A+ Schools Program (PDF). Winston-Salem North Carolina: Thomas S. Kenan Institute for the Arts. This report, developed by Catherine Awsumb Nelson, synthesizes the findings of a four-year evaluation of the A+ Schools Program pilot in 25 North Carolina Schools. During the four-year pilot period, A+ schools showed growth on North Carolina's accountability tests, relative to the state, as well as improvements in organizational capacity and community partnerships, and increased channels of communication. (Read more information about the program's evaluations.)

Oreck, B.A. (2004). Enhancing Self-Regulatory Behaviors in the Classroom Through Arts-Infused Curriculum (PDF). Columbus, Ohio: Ohio Alliance for Arts Education. This three-year quasi-experimental study looked at evidence of self-regulatory behavior in academic classrooms with students who were identified as potentially talented in the arts. Self-regulatory behavior includes a range of behaviors such as self-control, monitoring one's own behavior, comparing one's progress to standards, self-criticism, and self-confidence. A total of 99 students in groups of two conditions were compared; one group received non-arts-infused academic lessons in math, reading, or social studies, while the other received lessons in the same subjects that integrated dance, music, visual art, or theater. Results indicate that arts-infused lessons were effective in increasing self-regulation in students, particularly for students who normally struggle in the classroom or who display behavior and/or attendance problems.

Palmer, D.K. (2009). Middle Class English Speakers in a Two-Way Immersion Bilingual Classroom: "Everybody Should Be Listening to Jonathan Right Now..." (PDF). TESOL Quarterly, 43(2), 177-202. Audio and video data from a year-long case study in a second-grade two-way immersion classroom was used to examine interactions between native English-speaking and native Spanish-speaking students. A two-way immersion classroom split instruction between two languages and included speakers of both languages. An analysis of data using ethnographic and discourse analysis methods found that at times English-speaking students dominated discussions, drew the teacher's attention away from other students, and made their needs much more apparent.

Pew Research Center for People and the Press (2009). Public Praises Science; Scientists Fault Public, Media: Scientific Achievements Less Prominent Than a Decade Ago. Washington, D.C.: Pew Research Center. Results from this Pew Research survey highlight the difference between the opinions of the public and scientists on various scientific and social issues. For example, 87 percent of scientists say that humans and other living things evolved over time and that evolution is a result of natural processes such as natural selection; only 32 percent of the public accepts this as true. When asked about global warming, 84 percent of scientists say the earth is getting warmer because of human activity such as burning fossil fuels, while only 49 percent of the public agrees. Pew created a 12-question quiz to test basic science knowledge and found that on average, respondents were only able to correctly answer 65 percent of the questions.

Ratcliffe, M.M., Merrigan, K.A., Rogers, B.L., and Goldberg, J.P. (2009). The Effects of School Garden Experiences on Middle School-Aged Students' Knowledge, Attitudes, and Behaviors Associated With Vegetable Consumption (PDF). Health Promotion Practice, 12(1), 36-43. This study describes the effects of garden-based education on children's vegetable consumption. As part of a pre-post panel study, 236 students complete the Garden Vegetable Frequency Questionnaire and 161 completed a taste test. Results indicate that school gardening may affect children's vegetable consumption, including improved recognition of, attitudes toward, preferences for, and willingness to taste vegetables. Gardening also increases the variety of vegetables eaten.

Rinne, L., Gregory, E., Yarmolinskaya, J., and Hardiman, M. (2011). Why Arts Integration Improves Long-Term Retention of Content [abstract]. Mind, Brain, and Education, 5(2), 89-96(8). In this article, Rinne et al. review research on long-term memory from the 1970s to 2011 and argue that arts integration naturally improves long-term retention of content while promoting sustained attention and student motivation. Among the findings: (1) art activities can be integrated into classroom content and used to encourage rehearsal-type activities (such as songs) that incorporate relevant subject matter, (2) incorporating information into story, poem, song, or art form may place the knowledge in context, which can help students remember it, especially if the students are creating art that relates subject matter to themselves, (3) through artistic activities like writing a story or creating a drawing, students generate information they might otherwise have simply read, which will very likely lead to better long-term retention of that information, (4) physically acting out material, such as in a play, helps learners recall information, (5) speaking words aloud results in better retention than reading words in silence, (6) increasing the amount of effort involved in learning new information (such as being asked to discern meaning from an ambiguous sentence or to interpret a work of art) is positively associated with its retention, (7) emotionally charged content is easier to remember than content linked to events that are emotionally neutral, and (8) information presented as pictures is retained better than the same information presented as words.

Romance, N.R., and Vitale, M.R. (2012a). Expanding the Role of K-5 Science Instruction in Educational Reform: Implications of an Interdisciplinary Model for Integrating Science and Reading [abstract]. School Science and Mathematics, 112(8), 506-515. In this article, Romance and Vitale review research on the Science IDEAS program. Results from seven multi-year studies conducted between 1992 and 2007 indicate that the Science IDEAS model of integrating K-5 science and literacy instruction is effective in improving student achievement in both areas, as measured by national standardized tests (ITBS, MAT, SAT).

Romance, N.R., and Vitale, M.R. (2012b). Science IDEAS: A Research-Based K-5 Interdisciplinary Instructional Model Linking Science and Literacy (PDF). Science Educator, 21(1), 1-11. In this article, Romance and Vitale review research on, and which supports, models such as the Science IDEAS program. Reviewing research from 1960 to 2012, they conclude that Science IDEAS has been consistently effective in accelerating student achievement in both science and reading for grades 3-5. In addition, research provides strong evidence that students participating in the program in grades 3-5 continue to have higher science and reading achievement in grades 6-8.

Satchwell, R.E., and Loepp, F.L. (2002). Designing and Implementing an Integrated Mathematics, Science, and Technology Curriculum for the Middle School. Journal of Industrial Teacher Education, 39(3). This study examines the effects of a hands-on, integrated math, science, and technology (IMaST) curriculum implemented in several middle schools. A total of 293 students participating in the IMaST program were compared to 246 students in traditional, nonintegrated, traditional classes; both types of students were represented at each school. Students participating in the IMaST program outperformed their traditional counterparts on math and science based on the Third International Mathematics and Science Study. (Slides from Satchwell on IMaST are also available online.)

Smith, L.L., and Motsenbocker, C.E. (2005). Impact of Hands-On Science through School Gardening in Louisiana Public Elementary Schools (PDF). HortTechnology, 15(3), 439-443. In this study, 62 fifth grade students in three inner-city schools participated in a hands-on gardening program that included classroom activities and growing herbs and vegetables in an outdoor garden. The nearly four-month program took place once per week for two hours during regular school hours. A comparison to three classes with students from the same schools showed that students participating in the gardening project had higher science test scores, as measured by pretest and posttest scores on a science test developed for the program.

Smithrim, K., and Upitis, R. (2005). Learning through the Arts: Lessons of Engagement (PDF). Canadian Journal of Education, 28(1 and 2), 109-127. In this quasi-experimental study on the Learning Through the Arts (LTTA) program, 11 LTTA schools were compared to control schools over three years to examine the benefits of an arts-integrated sixth grade curriculum. Over 6,000 students were included in the study. Results of the study indicate that LTTA students perform better on math computation and estimation (as measured by the Canadian Achievement Test, CAT·3) compared to students in similar non-LTTA schools. LTTA students also had an increased engagement in learning and an increased motivation to learn, based on survey and interview results.

Stern, D., Dayton, C., and Raby, M. (2010). Career Academies: A Proven Strategy to Prepare High School Students for College and Careers (PDF). Berkeley, CA: University of California, Berkeley, Career Academy Support Network. This report reviews 20 published, evidence-based studies conducted between 1984 and 2002 to examine the impact that career academies have on students during and after high school. Findings indicate that students enrolled in career academies generally have higher grades, better attendance, and higher college enrollment rates and are more likely to graduate compared to students of similar backgrounds. Graduates of career academies also earn 11 percent more money, on average, eight years after graduation compared to students in non-career academies.

Thomas, W., and Collier, V. (2002). A National Study of School Effectiveness for Language Minority Students' Long-Term Academic Achievement. Berkeley, CA: Center for Research on Education, Diversity and Excellence (CREDE). A five-year quasi-experimental study on K-12 bilingual education programs offered to language-minority students in U.S. public schools. The study looked at 210,054 students in seven types of bilingual programs along with an English mainstream program. Various types of bilingual programs were studied, including 90-10 (90 percent non-English, 10 percent English), 50-50 (instruction evenly split between non-English and English), two-way (native speakers of both languages in each class), and one-way (class with only native speakers of one language) programs. Study results indicate that English-language learners (ELLs) in bilingual/ESL programs perform better in reading and math achievement compared to ELLs in English mainstream programs. ELLs in English mainstream programs also had higher dropout rates. Native English speakers in two-way bilingual immersion programs equaled or outperformed students in English-only programs, based on national standardized test scores.

Tochon, F.V. (2009). The Key to Global Understanding: World Languages Education -- Why Schools Need to Adapt [abstract]. Review of Educational Research, 79(2), 650-681. In this article, Tochon reviews research on world languages education, arguing that language education plays a key role in preparing students for a global economy and community. He cites research that indicates that bilingualism has many cognitive and social benefits: people who speak more than one language have better attention control and stronger literacy skills. Bilingual speakers may also be in higher demand in an increasingly global economy.

Upitis, R. (2011). Arts Education for the Development of the Whole Child (PDF). Toronto, ON: Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario. In this report, Upitis summarizes educational research (including correlational, empirical, and quasi-experimental approaches) on arts education, arguing that research strongly supports the integration of arts into the entire school curriculum. Several studies over more than two decades indicate that arts integration increases student engagement and motivation in school, as measured by surveys, questionnaires, and interviews. Psychological studies also indicate that arts-integrated classrooms increase students' ability for self-regulation (such as monitoring, guiding, directing, and evaluating one's own learning) and their memory and attention capacities.

U.S. Department of Commerce (2012). The Competitiveness and Innovative Capacity of the United States (PDF). Washington, D.C. In this report, the competitive and innovative capacity of the United States is reviewed, with emphasis on the nation's ability to support three key areas: basic research, education, and infrastructure. Drawing from math test scores from PISA 2009 in which the United States performed lower than the OECD average, the report argues that while demand for STEM labor is predicted to increase over the next few decades, a shortage of STEM labor in the United States, along with inadequate performance in science, math, and reading compared to other countries, endangers U.S. future competitiveness and innovation.

Walker, E.M., McFadden, L.B., Tabone, C., and Finkelstein, M. (2011). Contribution of Drama-Based Strategies (PDF). Youth Theatre Journal, 25(1), 3-15. In this randomized controlled study on the impact of the arts on performance in traditional academic subjects, theater arts were integrated into language arts and social studies curricula for fourth- and fifth-grade students (14 experimental classrooms, 14 control classrooms). Students' cognitive, procognitive, and prosocial development was studied. The findings of the study indicate that integration of the arts into social studies and language arts produces learning outcomes that are superior to those yielded by a direct instruction approach. Exposure to the arts was a more powerful predictor to student learning than socioeconomic background.

WestEd. Projects: Opening Minds through the Arts [summary]. The research group WestEd conducted a three-year comparison study of grade-schoolers among five schools. Three schools participated in the Opening Minds through the Arts curriculum, which incorporated music, opera, dance, theater, and visual arts into reading, writing, math, and science, while the other two schools used standard teaching methodology. The study found that OMA improved diverse students' test scores in reading, language arts, and math, as well as improving teachers' effectiveness.

Wicklein, R.C., and Schell, J.W. (1995). Case Studies of Multidisciplinary Approaches to Integrating Mathematics, Science and Technology Education. Journal of Technology Education, 6(2). In these case studies of four high schools implementing multidisciplinary demonstration projects, self-reports, surveys, and interviews of students, faculty, and administrators were used to identify successful implementation practices and obstacles. Results indicate that faculty commitment to implementation, desire to innovate, and high levels of coordination between teachers and administrators (such as teachers being able to restructure their class time or design new classes) were key factors in the success of the multidisciplinary demonstration projects.

Wiley, B. (September 2012). Schools Go Global and Prepare Students for Global Success. Asia Society webinar. This webinar guide helps educators to implement global learning in schools by providing examples of how schools across the United States are utilizing innovative approaches and proven practices in global education. The webinar provides strategies and tools to help ensure students develop global competence and are prepared for a global society.

Go to the first section of the Integrated Studies Research Review, Definitions and Outcomes.

Integrated Studies Research Table of Contents:

  1. Definition and Outcomes
  2. Evidence-based Practices and Programs
  3. Avoiding Pitfalls
  4. Annotated Bibliography

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