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Re: Data on Art Education & Test scores

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From: Dennis Freeman (freemad_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Thu Oct 12 2000 - 05:08:24 PDT


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on 10/13/00 12:15 AM, Freeland, Susan at FREELAS@GardnerK12.org wrote:

> Does anyone out there have information regarding how the arts have improved
> test scores? We all know that art makes better problem
> solvers but I'm presently looking for data and studies to back it up.

There are a wide variety of studies out there that purport to address this
issue. The President's Comm. on the Arts and Humanities put out a great
little brochure entitled "Eloquent Evidence: Arts at the Core of Learning".
which cites a number of studies on the effect of arts ed on education
generally, on test scores and other benefits of art ed. The brochure is
available from: National Assembly of State Arts Councils (NASSA), 202
347-6352, or on the web at www.nassa.arts.org

Having said this, I think there is a significant question as to whether arts
educators should rely on test scores or effects in other curricular areas to
justify our programs. Do football coaches claim to raise ACT or math
scores? Is a student's eventual NRT score really a consideration in
deciding whether or not to engage in arts activities? More importantly, if
we hitch ourselves to the test scores bandwagon, and it turns out that such
effects do not exist or are statistically insignificant, then where does
that leave us in terms of justifying the arts? We should teach arts for
their own sake, not because of the supposed effect on NRT results.

In this regard, a recently published report by Lois Hetland and Ellen Winner
of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, entitled " The Arts and
Academic Achievement: What the Evidence Shows", is a meta-analysis of
studies since 1950 which attempt to examine scientifically claims that arts
ed actually causes academic achievement. What they found is that there are
some effects, but that the claims in this area way exceed the evidence.
While the study did document effects in areas like verbal ability or spatial
reasoning, most of those effects were characterized as equivocal or
statistically insignificant. Every arts educator needs to read this report.

What the arts can do has little to do with test score and everything to do
with creativity, communication, intellectual depth and quality of life.
That is what we should focus on and emphasize, not our ability to aid with
purely academic subjects other than our own. Just my opinion, but there it
is. - Dennis in Wyo

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<TITLE>Re: Data on Art Education &amp; Test scores</TITLE>
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on 10/13/00 12:15 AM, Freeland, Susan at FREELAS@GardnerK12.org wrote:<BR>
<BR>
<I>&gt; Does anyone out there have information regarding how the arts have =
improved<BR>
&gt; test scores? We all know that art makes better problem<BR>
&gt; solvers but I'm presently looking for data and studies to back it up.<=
BR>
<BR>
</I>There are a wide variety of studies out there that purport to address t=
his issue. &nbsp;The President's Comm. on the Arts and Humanities put out a =
great little brochure entitled &quot;Eloquent Evidence: Arts at the Core of =
Learning&quot;. which cites a number of studies on the effect of arts ed on =
education generally, on test scores and other benefits of art ed. &nbsp;The =
brochure is available from: National Assembly of State Arts Councils (NASSA)=
, 202 347-6352, or on the web at www.nassa.arts.org <BR>
<BR>
Having said this, I think there is a significant question as to whether art=
s educators should rely on test scores or effects in other curricular areas =
to justify our programs. &nbsp;Do football coaches claim to raise ACT or mat=
h scores? &nbsp;Is a student's eventual NRT score really a consideration in =
deciding whether or not to engage in arts activities? &nbsp;More importantly=
, if we hitch ourselves to the test scores bandwagon, and it turns out that =
such effects do <U>not</U> exist or are statistically insignificant, then wh=
ere does that leave us in terms of justifying the arts? &nbsp;We should teac=
h arts for their own sake, not because of the supposed effect on NRT results=
<BR>
<BR>
In this regard, a recently published report by Lois Hetland and Ellen Winne=
r of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, entitled &quot; The Arts and =
Academic Achievement: What the Evidence Shows&quot;, is a meta-analysis of s=
tudies since 1950 which attempt to examine scientifically claims that arts e=
d actually causes academic achievement. &nbsp;What they found is that there =
are some effects, but that the claims in this area way exceed the evidence. =
&nbsp;While the study did document effects in areas like verbal ability or s=
patial reasoning, most of those effects were characterized as equivocal or s=
tatistically insignificant. &nbsp;Every arts educator needs to read this rep=
ort. <BR>
<BR>
What the arts <U>can</U> do has little to do with test score and everything=
to do with creativity, communication, intellectual depth and quality of lif=
e. &nbsp;<U>That</U> is what we should focus on and emphasize, not our abili=
ty to aid with purely academic subjects other than our own. &nbsp;Just my op=
inion, but there it is. - Dennis in Wyo<BR>
<BR>
<BR>
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