Student Achievement

6 research findings you didn’t know about the arts and student achievement

Did you know that high school students who take arts classes have higher math and verbal SAT scores than students who take no arts classes. Even more telling, arts participation and SAT scores co-vary—that is, they tend to increase linearly: the more arts classes, the higher the scores?

Did you know that students who were consistently involved in orchestra or band during their middle and high school years performed better in math at grade 12. The results were even more pronounced when comparing students from low-income families?

Did you know that children’s ability to draw inferences about artwork transfers to their reasoning about images in science. In both cases, the critical skill is that of looking closely and reasoning about what is seen?

Did you know that when students have an opportunity to engage in a dramatic enactment of a story, their overall understanding of the story improves and that this effect was most pronounced with first graders who were reading below grade level?

Did you know that The arts nurture a motivation to learn by emphasizing active engagement, disciplined and sustained attention, persistence and risk taking, among other competencies?

Did you know that the arts help create the kinds of learning environments conducive to teacher and student success by fostering teacher innovation, a positive professional culture, community engagement, increased student attendance, effective instructional practice and school identity?

These and other research findings can be found in Sandra Ruppert’s Critical evidence: How the arts benefit student achievement published in 2006 by the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies and the Arts Education Partnership. This publications offers a summary of evidence related to the links between arts and subject area skills. It describes in nontechnical terms what the research says about how the study of the arts contributes to academic achievement and student success—and it does so with a surprisingly snazzy design aesthetic.