Arts Integration

In Oregon and across the country, learning through the arts reinforces crucial academic skills in reading, language arts, and math.

ArtsWork in Education is based on studies from institutions such as Harvard, UCLA and Stanford that show strong correlations between involvement in the arts and increased student achievement. Achievement gains are seen across all disciplines and for students from all backgrounds.

Academic Impact

  • Dr. Shirley Brice Heath, a professor of linguistics and English at Stanford University, found that the influences of participation in the arts on language show up in the dramatic increase in syntactic complexity, hypothetical reasoning, and questioning approaches by young people within four to six weeks of their entry into the arts organization.
  • Harvard's Project Zero reported that the intense review of Shakespeare texts in preparation for theatrical performance helped students not only master that difficult material but also improve their reading of other complex material such as math and physics texts.
  • UCLA's Dr. James Catterall reported that students who have consistent high levels of involvement in instrumental music over the middle and high school years show significantly higher levels of mathematics proficiency by grade 12.
  • The College Board has concluded that students with just half a year of arts coursework averaged a 7-point gain on the verbal portion of the SAT and a 10-point gain in math, and after 4 years students averaged 49 points higher on the combined score. Students who took more than four years of music and arts scored 34 points higher on the verbal section and 18 points higher on the math section of the SAT.
  • Jerrold Ross, Director of the National Arts Education Research Center, reported that arts have a significant impact on academic achievement in a variety of settings (urban, suburban, rural), with a variety of population groups from a range of racial, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds.
  • A study by the Arts Education Partnership, tracking the results in schools in economically challenged communities, shows that arts programs reduce dropout rates and increase teachers' reports of students who are enthusiastic learners.

Economic Impact

  • A report by the National Center on Education and the Economy proposes that the best way to provide teachers and students a way to develop the critical thinking, creativity, discipline, and analytical skills they need to succeed in the global economy is through the arts.
  • A survey conducted by Business Week of the nation's top business executives found that business leaders agreed that arts education programs can help repair weaknesses in American education and better prepare workers for the 21st century.
  • According to a report by the Northwest Business for Culture and the Arts, the arts create $262 million annually for Oregon's economy. The arts have supported rapid growth in Oregon's creative services industries such as advertising, public relations, website design, filmmaking and commercial art ventures.

© Rick Williams 2009