New Longitudinal Study Shows Positive Effects of the Arts on the Lives of Students

[This study] points directly to a solution that has been hiding in plain sight: our schools will improve if they deliver high quality arts education to all students.  The students deserve nothing less.

-Nick Rabkin, Senior Research Scientist
National Opinion Research Center
University of Chicago

I thought I should share some good news about hot-off-the-press longitudinal research on the effects of the arts on students.  We need this kind of research as we continue to witness the erosion of the arts in public education.

I recently attended a national arts education conference in Cambridge where I had a chance to talk with Dr. James Catterall, one of the nation’s most respected arts and education researchers from UCLA.  His new book, Doing WELL and Doing GOOD by Doing ART was just published last week (see details below).  It’s a 12-year national study of education in the visual and performing arts on more than 12,000 students and shows powerful correlations between later-life results and participation in what he terms “arts-rich” school environments over the 12 years.

The study shows that the effects of the arts on low socioeconomic students are even greater than their effect on more “privileged” students. His findings are summarized under three main observations:

  1. Involvement in the arts and academic success;
  2. Music and mathematics achievement; and
  3. Theatre arts and human development.

Get a copy soon.  It’s worth a read and can absolutely be used to support a case for the arts in schools.  Here’s more information:

Doing WELL and Doing GOOD by Doing ART
James S. Catterall
Imagination Group/I-Group Books, 2009
ISBN: 978-1-61623-479-9

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