Monday, April 16, 2012

NEA Study on Arts And Achievement in At-Risk Youth

"N" is for the National Endowment of the Arts in the A to Z Challenge

The NEA recently released a study called The Arts and Achievement in At-Risk Youth: Findings from Four Longitudinal Studies.

The study is introduced with observations from NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman:

"Having the arts in young people’s lives is essential; we know that intuitively. Parents sing to their babies, dance with their toddlers, and occupy children with crayons and paper. And there was a time in this country when schools did their parts: bands, choruses, theatricals, and art studios used to fill the days along- side the 3 Rs, gym, social studies, science, and the rest.

But over the past four decades, budget pressures and an increasing focus on just reading and math have crowded the arts out of too many school days. What’s lost? The chance for a child to express himself. The chance for the idiosyncratic child who has not yet succeeded elsewhere to shine. A sense of play, of fun, of discovery."

Among the findings in the study:

1) Socially and economically disadvantaged children and teenagers who have high levels of arts engagement or arts learning show more positive outcomes in a variety of areas than their low-arts-engaged peers.

2) At-risk teenagers or young adults with a history of intensive arts experiences show achievement levels closer to, and in some cases exceeding, the levels shown by the general population studied.

3) Most of the positive relationships between arts involvement and academic outcomes apply only to at-risk populations (low-SES). But positive relationships between arts and civic engagement are noted in high-SES groups as well.

Landesman says:

"James Catterall and his fellow authors have shown that something else is lost, too: potential. Students who have arts-rich experiences in school do better across-the-board academically, and they also become more active and engaged citizens, voting, volunteering, and generally participating at higher rates than their peers...

I believe that the only outcomes we should need to measure for a music class is whether the child had the chance to create, enjoy, and understand music. But as the arts are forced to compete for scarce resources, there is no harm in pointing out once again that an investment in the arts will pay extensive dividends.

Art works. Let’s make sure it works for our country’s students."


"N" is for the National Endowment of the Arts, and April is Parkinson's Awareness Month.


  1. Thanks for the post. It was very informative and interesting. Kids these days do need the arts.

  2. This hits home for me. I spent two years trying to create interest via an award winning blog I had created and co-moderated. The goal: to find ways to engage at risk youth and children. too few people want to believe that art can make a difference.
    gr8 to meet you on the A to Z challenge
    come visit us over at Ladysknight