‘Schools and arts organisations need to work collaboratively to provide more and better quality evidence of the outcomes they achieve through their joint arts in education work. This could be achieved by improving their evaluation methods, developing more sophisticated case studies and recording outcomes more effectively. There is also a need to do more to share best practice.’

              An independent report for the Welsh Government into Arts in Education in the Schools of Wales, Professor Dai Smith, September 2013

In addition to providing evidence of the outcomes of the arts in education, there is also a need to focus on assessment for Learning which is of real benefit to the student. The Donaldson Report advocates imaginative approaches to assessment for learning, including ‘performance-related assessments involving, for example, role play, practical experiments, presentations, portfolios,’ adding that the ‘scope to use digital recording more widely… to show successful completion of learning targets, should be explored. ‘

The following chart suggests how you might approach evaluation throughout the life of a project:

At the project planning stage 

  • Consider what you want to achieve, and the kind of  evidence which might suggest impact. Plan how to gather the evidence
  • Aims of programme/partnership
  • Define specific objectives to help reach aims.  Link with school improvement plan if appropriate
  • Determine what success will look like
  • Consider CPD benefits for teaching staff
  • Explore/reflect on  long term effect on pupils /school improvement plan

At the outset

  • bench mark to capture the starting point ( – if this hasn’t already been done as part of project planning)

During the project

  • establish opportunities for documentation and periodic reflection  on practice. At the very least plan for mid point opportunity for reflection – and to capture outcomes (including those not predicted at outset)

At the end

  • review  the evidence gathered throughout the project - from planning stage to completion.
  • Consider both the scale of impact (numbers involved etc) and the extent to which the impact can be attributed to the arts programme – both directly and also indirectly.
  • Explore diverse impact areas – benefits for pupils, teachers, artists etc.
  • Draw on a range of sources of evidence, in relation to literacy and numeracy skills e.g.standards, achievements, attitudes and motivation.


Evaluation Guides and Frameworks

Although the publications below are primarily written for artists, they may also be of interest to teachers jointly planning evaluation activities with artists. These have the potential to complement the ‘assessment for learning’ approaches championed in the Donaldson Report, including self assessment and peer assessment.  

Criw Celf Evaluation Guide & Toolkit

A toolkit and framework commissioned by Arts Council Wales (and written by Tom Fleming Creative Consultancy). This sets out a structured approach to monitoring and evaluating this MAT programme in the visual and applied arts and includes ideas that could be adapted to other projects.


Artworks Cymru Quality Framework

Guidance for artists working in range of participatory settings including schools. Helpful links. www.artworks.cymru 



Partnerships for learning: A Guide to Evaluating Arts Education (2004) Felicity Woolf. (Arts Council England) Very practical advice on how to plan, run and evaluate arts education projects, including creative ideas on evidence-gathering.



Partnerships for learning: a guide to evaluating arts education projects : Gives useful advice about effective planning and evaluation.


Inspiring Learning for All: A wide-ranging toolkit, devised to help provide evidence of impact of learning activities. Originally written for museums, archives and libraris but the resources are of wider relevance.



Creating Quality: tools for improving Arts Education

A tools and resources library from the US. Includes checklists and templates aimed at improving the quality of arts education.