Arts Benefit in Student Achievement

By Joe Barrios and Abel Ocanas

This post is written by students in READ 4351 Learning through Literacy. Students in this course are part of the high school and all-level teacher preparation programs and are pursuing certification in a wide variety of subject areas.

According to the book Critical Evidence:  How the ARTS Benefit Student Achievement, students that have been exposed to the Arts have greater achievement.   The author, Sandra Rupert, notes that learning experiences in the arts contribute to the development of academics skills, including the areas of reading and language development, and mathematics.  One way of determining these results is by making assessments with standardized exams.  The study of music has provided a context for teaching language skills.  Students that are involved in drama have to use their reading skills in memorizing and acting their part in a skit.  An analysis conducted of multiple studies confirms that finding that students who take music classes in high school are more likely to score higher on standardized mathematics tests such as the SAT.  One example is musical training in rhythm emphasizes proportion, patterns and ratios expressed as mathematical relations. 

Another benefit is that students also improve in using their thinking skills and social skills.  Students that are involved in Jazz are exposed to improvising.  Improvising allows students to be creative and come up with their own melody while listening to the main accompaniment.  Social skills are another benefit that is gained by being exposed to the Arts.  According to Sandra Rupert, Art activities promote growth in positive social skill, including self-confidence, self-control, conflict resolution, collaboration, empathy and social tolerance.     

The arts help create a positive school environment.  The learning environment is created by teachers and students success that foster teacher innovation, a positive professional culture, community engagement, increased student attendance, effective instructional practice and school identity.  According to Sandra Rupert, a comparative study with other Chicago public elementary schools, students from the CAPE schools performed better on standardized tests than the students who attended schools that did not integrate the arts with academics.

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