Impact and Value – Research facts sheet: Student achievement

Learning through the arts improves attainment in other subjects and on standardised tests.

UK 2010:

Participating in structured arts activities led to increases of 10-17% in transferrable skills, including confidence and communication (Bunting, C. (2010) Culture and Sport Evidence Programme CASE. Headline Findings, Arts Council, England)

AUS 2004:

After one year of music skills in upper primary classes there were improved educational outcomes for Indigenous English as Second Language students.

Students also achieved statistically significant improvements in their mathematical age and in reading. Students’ improved self-confidence resulted in their willingness to try unfamiliar tasks (Tait, A. A pedagogy of Trust in Ewing, R. (2010) The Arts and Australian Education: Realising Potential, ACER Press; Camberwell, Victoria, p.26)

USA 1999:

25, 000 students with high levels of arts learning experiences earned higher grades and scored better on standardised tests than those with little or no arts involvement, regardless of their socioeconomic background. Nineteen Chicago elementary schools (operating the CAPE arts integration model) showed consistently higher average scores on the district’s reading and mathematics assessments over a six year period when compared to all district elementary schools (Fiske, E. (Ed) (1999) Champions of Change: The Impact of the Arts on Learning, Washington, DC: The Arts Education Partnership and the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities, pp. 47–62)

USA 2010:

Sustained engagement in a fine arts discipline gave high school students a substantial advantage in reading achievement when compared to students who took fewer arts courses. All students who participated in clubs or groups that focused on creative activities had an advantage in reading and math achievement. (Bransom, J. et al. (2010) Creative Learning: People and Pathways. Dallas: Big Thought)

Participation in structured arts activities increases cognitive abilities and learning transfer.

UK 2010:

Taking part in structured arts activities increased children’s cognitive abilities test scores by 16% and 19% on average. Improving children’s cognitive skills makes them better learners, able to apply the knowledge they acquire
(Bunting, C. (2010) Culture and Sport Evidence Programme CASE. Headline Findings, Arts Council, England)

USA 2002:

Student achievements in reading, language, and mathematics development were particularly linked to music education. Drama students evidenced increased higher order thinking skills and capacities such as resourcefulness, initiative and comprehension. Multi arts programs developed cognitive and social capacities such as motivation, decision-making, creative thinking and speaking skills. Dance instruction provides a means for developing a range of critical and creative thinking skills: fluency, originality, and abstractness. (Deasy, R. (Ed) (2002) Critical Links: Learning in the Arts and Student, Academic and Social Development. Arts Education Partnership, Washington DC. USA)

This project is funded by the Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations.