The effect of arts education on student achievement and attainment
Tight budgets and a nationwide emphasis on math and reading performance from No Child Left Behind have resulted in an unfortunate erosion of extracurricular course offerings in our schools. Advocates of arts education have struggled to find a credible defense for preserving a place for art in the curriculum. I use the NELS:88 dataset, a longitudinal study of over 12,000 nationally representative students, to investigate whether participation in art courses improves student achievement or attainment. Arts education does not appear to have a significant effect on student achievement, as measured by changes in standardized test scores. This is likely due to the overwhelming effect of family background on student performance. Arts education does appear to have a significant effect on student attainment for dropouts. This study suggests that those who take arts classes postpone their decision to dropout, even when controlling for family effects. This finding provides a new justification for keeping arts education a part of school curricula.
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Mitoraj, Patrick (Georgetown University, 2014)Several education policies prominent in recent years, such as school closings and school choice, increase student mobility in order to move students to better performing schools. There is a large research base demonstrating ...