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- Arts May Improve Students'
- by Carl Hartman, c. The
Associated Press, 10/22/99
- WASHINGTON (AP) - If your teenagers want
to be in the
- high school band or drama club, let
them. It may improve
- their grades.
- High school students who take music
lessons and join
- theater groups do better in math,
- geography and citizenship, according to
a study of
- Education Department data to be
- "If young Americans are to succeed and
to contribute to
- what Federal Reserve Chairman Alan
- as 'our economy of ideas,' they will
need an education that
- develops imaginative, flexible and
- thinking," Education Secretary Richard
Riley said in a
- message accompanying the study. "The
- nurture the ability to think in this
- The study, which tracked more than
25,000 students for
- more than 10 years, found that students
- consistently high levels of involvement
- music scored significantly higher on
math tests by the 12th
- This observation held true for students
regardless of their
- parents' income, occupations and levels
of education, said
- James S. Catterall, the lead author and
- professor at the University of
California, Los Angeles.
- While 38.6 percent of higher-income
students who were
- uninvolved in music scored high in math,
48 percent of
- those highly involved in music received
- "Kids who are more advantaged tend to be
- in the arts. Period. They have more
- you'd expect them to do better,"
Catterall said in an
- But the influence of music was far more
- among lower-income students.
- Among the lower-income students without
- involvement, only 15.5 percent achieved
high math scores.
- But of the musically oriented group,
more than twice as
- many excelled in math.
- "It's not a matter of economic
advantage. It's a matter of
- something happening with the arts for
the kids," Catterall
- The study also found that as students
- high school they are less likely to be
involved in the arts.
- "There's a clear trend," Catterall said.
- in the arts declines. It may be that
high schools offer fewer
- programs than middle schools or that
kids are more
- concerned with academics or admissions
- Fewer than 3 percent of seniors take
- in music, art or dance, compared with
more than 11 percent
- of sophomores.
- More than half of the "high-involvement"
- found in top levels on standardized
tests, compared with
- fewer than 43 percent of the
- The study also indicated arts study
affected students' racial
- "Students at grade 10 were asked if it
was OK to make a
- racist remark," the authors wrote.
"About 40 percent of
- 'no-drama' students felt that making
such a remark would
- be OK, where only about 12 percent of
high theater students
- thought the same."
- When the 12th graders involved in plays
- to their uninvolved counterparts, 20
percent more of
- those active in drama had excellent
- Catterall noted that the work supports
- but is not definitive.
- This study was one of seven included in
- Change - The Impact of the Arts on
- Edward B. Fiske, former education editor
of The New
- York Times. The project was sponsored by
the GE (General
- Electric) Fund and the John D. and
Catherine T. MacArthur
- Associated Press Writer David Ho
contributed to this story.
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