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An Experimental Evaluation of Arts Field Trips

Heidi H. Erickson, Angela R. Watson, Jay P. Greene

University of Arkansas – Department of Education Reform, September 2nd, 2020, EDRE Working Paper No. 2020-03


This paper presents the results of a multi-visit, longitudinal experiment on the academic and social-emotional effects of arts-based field trips. We randomly assign fourth and fifth-grade students to receive arts-based field trips throughout the school year or to serve as a control. Treatment students express greater tolerance for people with different opinions and a desire to consume arts. Additionally, treatment students have fewer behavioral infractions, attend school more frequently, score higher on their end-of-grade exams, and receive higher course grades. Effects are strongest when students enter middle school. We find no effect on students’ desire to participate in the arts, empathy, or social perspective-taking.



Dr. Heidi Holmes Erickson is a Limited Term Assistant Professor at Kennesaw State University. 



Dr. Angela Watson is a Senior Research Fellow at Johns Hopkins University.




Dr. Jay P. Greene is a professor and head of the Department of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas, where he directs the university’s National Endowment for the Arts Research Lab.