Date of Award


Degree Type

Restricted to Claremont Colleges Dissertation

Degree Name

Education PhD, Joint with San Diego State University


School of Educational Studies

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Marva Cappello

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Thomas Luschei

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Lucrecia Santibañez

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Donna Ross

Terms of Use & License Information

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Rights Information

© 2020 Kelly Casassa

Subject Categories

Art Education


This illustrative case study involving an arts-based immersion program examined access to an arts-based summer immersion program as well as how middle school students demonstrate cognitive and socio-cultural learning through arts-based learning experiences. Demographic data of 139 camp participants and student observations, document analysis, and semi-structured interviews of 49 student participants provided a broad perspective on access to the arts and student cognitive and socio-cultural learning. In addition, interviews with 13 alumni participants of the arts-based program contributed to the reliability of the study. Analysis of the student observations, multimodal documents, and interviews with regard to the four associated research questions of the study suggest that arts-based learning experiences positively contribute to opportunities of cognitive and socio-cultural learning for middle school students. The study’s findings suggest the importance of implementing arts-based learning experiences for middle school students and presents recommendations for art-based education policy, practice, and research.