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10 SALIENT STUDIES ON THE ARTS IN 10

SALIENT STUDIES ON THE ARTS IN


EDUCATION
Afineartseducationincludingmusic,theater,drawing,painting,orsculpture
whetherinpracticeortheory,hasbeenapartofanywellroundedcurriculum
fordecadesbutthatmaybechanging.Manyschoolstodayarecuttingbackor
eliminatingtheirartprogramsduetobudgetconstraints.Itisestimatedthatby
theendofthisyear,morethan25%ofpublichighschoolswillhavecompletely
dismantledthem.Thesestatsarentjustbadnewsforteachersworkinginthe
arts,suchasthoseattraditionalschoolsfordanceoronlinecollegesfor
photography.Numerousstudiesdoneoverthepastdecadehavedemonstrated
theamazingbenefitsofsuchanintegraleducationfacet.Studentswhodont
haveaccesstoartclassesmaynotonlymissoutonakeycreativeoutlet,but
mightalsofacegreaterdifficultymasteringcoresubjects,higherdropoutrates
andmoredisciplinaryproblems.
Youdonthavetotakeourwordforityoucanreadthestudiesyourself.Here,
wevelistedsomeofthebiggestontheartsineducationconductedoverthepast
decade.Takenonbyresearchorganizations,collegeprofessorsandschool
districtsthemselves,thestudiesrevealthepowerofarttoinspire,motivateand
educatetodaysstudents.And,ofcourse,demonstratewhatadisservicemany
schoolsaredoingbyundervaluingsuchanintegralpartoftheireducationand
development.


1. A 2002 REPORT BY THE ARTS EDUCATION PARTNERSHIP

REVEALED THAT SCHOOLCHILDREN EXPOSED TO DRAMA, MUSIC


AND DANCE ARE OFTEN MORE PROFICIENT AT READING, WRITING,
AND MATH.
2. Whileschooldistrictsmightbetemptedtothinktheartsafrivolouspartof
theeducationalsystem,thisreportsuggestsotherwise.Itlookedatover62
differentstudiesfrom100researchers,spanningtherangeoffineartsfrom
dancetothevisualarts.In2002,itwasthefirstreportofitskindtolookat
theimpactofartonacademicperformance.Usingthisdata,researchers
determinedthatstudentswhoreceivedmoreartseducationdidbetteron
standardizedtests,improvedtheirsocialskillsandweremoremotivated
thanthosewhohadreducedornoaccess.WhileresearchersattheAEP
admittedthatartisntapanaceaforwhatailsstrugglingschools,thestudy
ledthemtobelieveitcouldbeavaluableassetforteachingstudentsofall
agesespeciallythoseinpoorcommunitiesorwhoneedremedial
education.Withsomanyonlinecollegesfordesignoptions,studentsin
everydemographiccanpursueahighereducation.
3. THE 2006 SOLOMON R. GUGGENHEIM MUSEUM STUDY ON ART

EDUCATION SHOWED A LINK BETWEEN ARTS EDUCATION AND


IMPROVED LITERACY SKILLS.

4. ThestudywastheresultofapilotprogramthroughtheGuggenheimcalled
LearningThroughArt,whichsentartistsintoschoolstoteachstudents
andhelpthemcreatetheirownmasterpieces.Kidswhotookpartinthe
programperformedbetteronsixdifferentcategoriesofliteracyandcritical
thinkingskillsthanthosewhodidnot.Whilestudentsdidbetteronanoral
exam,theydidnotonstandardized,writtenliteracytestsadisparity
researcherssaidcouldexistbecausetheydidnotemphasizewritten
communicationintheprogram.Programorganizersbelievethe
improvementsweretheresultofstudentslearningvaluablecriticalthinking
skillswhiletalkingaboutart,whichcouldthenbeappliedtounderstanding
andanalyzingliterarymaterials.Studentscouldeventaketheseskills
furtheratonlinecollegesforcreativewritingorbroadcastjournalism.
5. IN 2007, ELLEN WINNER AND LOIS HETLAND PUBLISHED A STUDY

STATING THE ARTS DONT ACTUALLY IMPROVE ACADEMIC


PERFORMANCE, BUT IT SHOULDNT MATTER.
6. WinnerandHetlandheadupanartseducationprogramcalledProjectZero
attheHarvardGraduateSchoolofEducation,sotheyarebynomeans
opponentsofcreativeexpression.Yetintheir2000study,theyfoundlittle
academicimprovementinmath,science,andreadingintheirarts
educationprogramenrollees.Whilethebacklashfromtheirreportwas
swiftandbrutal,theresearchersstuckbytheirfindings.Andforgood
reason.Theybelieveitshouldntmatterwhetherornotartcoursesimprove
testscoresorgrades,andthatarteducationshouldgarnersupportfor
whatitoffersonitsownmeritnotinrelationshiptoanythingelse.
Regardless,theirstudydidrevealthatartseducationhassomelarger
benefitswhichcantbeeasilyquantifiedthroughtestscores.Namely,it
helpsstudentsimprovevisualanalysisskills,learnfrommistakes,be
creativeandmakebettercriticaljudgments.
7. A 2005 REPORT BY THE RAND CORPORATION CALLED A

PORTRAIT OF THE VISUAL ARTS ARGUES THAT ART EDUCATION


DOES MORE THAN JUST GIVE STUDENTS A CREATIVE OUTLET. IT
CAN ACTUALLY HELP CONNECT THEM TO THE LARGER WORLD,
ULTIMATELY IMPROVING COMMUNITY COHESION.
8. Aboldassertion,butnotonewithoutmerit.Studentsfromlowerincome
familiesoftengetlittleexposuretotheartsiftheyarenotprovidedby
schools.Thereportshowsthatartseducationcanhelpclosethegap
betweensocioeconomicgroups,creatingamorelevelplayingfield
betweenchildrenwhomaynotbeexposedtotheseenrichment
experiencesoutsideofschoolandsomeoftheirmoreprivilegedpeers.

9. TEACHERS AND STUDENTS ALIKE BENEFIT FROM SCHOOLS THAT

HAVE STRONG ART CLIMATES, A 1999 STUDY CALLED LEARNING


IN AND THROUGH THE ARTS DEMONSTRATED.
10. Peoplehavebeensowrappedupinshowinghowartseducationbenefits
students,manyhaventstoppedtoconsiderhowitalsoimpactseducators.
Thereportstudiedstudentsat12NewYork,Connecticut,Virginiaand
SouthCarolinaschoolstocompiletheirresults.Notonlywerestudentsat
schoolswithhighlevelsofarteducationearninghigherscoresoncritical
thinkingtests,butteachersalsoseemedhappier.Partoftheincreasein
theirsatisfactionwasaresultoftheircharges,whowerefoundtobe
generallymorecooperativeandexpressiveandenjoyabetterrapportwith
educators.Thatwasntall,however,asteachersatschoolsthat
emphasizedartseducationenjoyedgreaterjobsatisfaction,weremore
interestedintheirworkandlikelytobeinnovativeandpursuedpersonal
developmentexperiences.Itsnotatrivialfinding,aswhatisgoodfor
instructorsisoftenverygoodfortheirstudentsaswell.Thisissomething
thoseatonlinecollegesforeducationshouldkeepinmind.

1. THE CENTER FOR ARTS EDUCATION PUBLISHED A REPORT IN 2009

THAT SUGGESTS ARTS EDUCATION MAY IMPROVE GRADUATION


RATES.

2. TakingalookattheroleofartseducationinNewYorkpublicschools,this
reportfoundthatschoolswiththelowestaccessalsohadthehighest
dropoutrates.Conversely,thosewiththehighestgraduationratesalsohad
thegreatestaccesstoartseducationandresources.Whilethereare
undoubtedlyanumberofotherfactorsthatplayintograduationrates,the
researchinthisstudyandotherslikeit(mostnotably
TheRoleoftheFine
andPerformingArtsinHighSchoolDropoutPrevention
,whichyoucan
read
here
)hasfoundthatmanyatriskstudentsciteparticipationinthearts
astheirreasonforstaying.Participationintheseactivitieshasa
quantifiableimpactonlevelsofdelinquency,truancyandacademic
performance.
3. A 2011 STUDY CALLED REINVESTING IN ARTS EDUCATION

FOUND THAT INTEGRATING ARTS WITH OTHER SUBJECTS CAN


HELP RAISE ACHIEVEMENT LEVELS.
4. Artseducationmaynotjusthelpraisetestscores,butalsothelearning
processitself,asarecentstudyrevealed.ThisreportontheMaryland
schoolsystemfoundthatskillslearnedinthevisualartscouldhelp
improvereadingandthecounterpartsfosteredinplayinganinstrument
couldbeappliedtomath.Researchersandschoolofficialsbelievethat
artseducationcanbeavaluableeducationreformtool,andclassroom
integrationofcreativeopportunitiescouldbekeytomotivatingstudents
andimprovingstandardizedtestscores.Takingitastepfurther,
online
collegesinMaryland
,forexample,arecreatingpostsecondaryeducation
opportunitiesforstudentsinthestate.
5. A STUDY OF MISSOURI PUBLIC SCHOOLS IN 2010 FOUND THAT

GREATER ARTS EDUCATION LED TO FEWER DISCIPLINARY


INFRACTIONS AND HIGHER ATTENDANCE, GRADUATION RATES
AND TEST SCORES.
6. Usingdatasubmittedbythestatespublicschools,theMissouri
DepartmentofEducationandtheMissouriAllianceforArtsEducation
compiledthisreport.Theyfoundthatartseducationhadasignificanteffect
ontheacademicandsocialsuccessoftheirstudents.Thosewithgreater
artsparticipationweremorelikelytocometoclass,avoidbeingremoved
andgraduate.Additionally,theydemonstratedgreaterproficiencyin
mathematicsandcommunication.Manyhaveaspiredto
onlinecollegesin
Missouri
,orotherstates.
Similarstudies
ofotherstatewideeducation
systemshavediscoverednearlyidenticalresults.

7. IN NEUROEDUCATION: LEARNING, ARTS AND THE BRAIN, JOHNS

HOPKINS RESEARCHERS SHARED FINDINGS SHOWING THAT ARTS


EDUCATION CAN HELP REWIRE THE BRAIN IN POSITIVE WAYS.
8. Whileproponentsofartseducationhavelongassertedthatcreative
trainingcanhelpdevelopskillstranslatingintootherareasofacademics,
littleresearchhadbeendonetoinvestigatethescientificcomponent.
Aspectsoftraininginthearts,likemotorcontrol,attentionandmotivation,
werestudiedbyresearcherswhoparticipatedinthereport,withsome
interestingresults.Inonefouryearstudy,studentsundertakingregular
musictrainingwerefoundtohavechangesintheirbrainstructureshelping
themtransfertheirmotorskillstosimilarareas.Anotherfoundstudents
motivatedtopracticeaspecificartformandspenttimewithfocused
attentionincreasedtheefficiencyoftheirattentionnetworkasawhole,
evenwhenworkinginotherareasofstudyanditimprovedtheirfluidIQ
scores.Otherstudiesreportedsimilarscientificfindingsonthearts
impactonthebrain,showingthatsustainedartseducationiscanbe
essentialpartofsocialandintellectualdevelopment.
9. A 2009 SURVEY, PART OF THE NATIONS REPORT CARD: ARTS

2008 REPORT, FOUND THAT ACCESS TO ARTS EDUCATION


OPPORTUNITIES HASNT CHANGED MUCH IN A DECADE.
10. Manyoftheproblemsthatplaguedartseducationprogramsinschoolsten
yearsagoarestillmajorissuestoday,thissurveyrevealed.Middleschool
studentsacrossthenationhaventseenanincreaseinaccesstomusic
andvisualartseducation,andtheirunderstandingofitstenetsremainslow
especiallyincertaindisenfranchisedsocioeconomicandracialgroups.
Manybelievethenumbersareevenworsetoday,asthesurveywas
conductedpriortotheeconomicwoesthathaveparalyzedmanyschools
systemsinrecentyears.Asin1997,the2008surveyshowedthatonly47%
ofstudentshadaccesstovisualartseducation,andjust57%tomusic
education.Thesurveyattemptedtolookattheateranddanceprograms,
butsincesofewschoolsofferthem,theyweredroppedfromthestudy.