Fine Arts as an Academic: What Students Have to Gain from the Arts

Authored by Erick Crow, Director of Fine & Performing Arts

Often, I am approached with similar comments regarding arts education, “Arts are such an important component to school” or “Our child has benefited tremendously from an arts education.” These are all positive and true statements yet, too often, even the most dedicated and supportive educator or parent will mistakenly place arts in a field that is not considered academic. This is understandable as the arts can be daunting, and what appears to be an impractical field to invest in for your child long-term.
As neuroteachers, it’s important to first look at the data and applied research in a Fine Arts education. This is because evidence-based research to communicate the benefits of arts education from youth to adult is a powerful strategy to keep the arts strong not just at ODA but in our community.
  • During adolescence, each additional year of arts study was significantly associated with a 20% reduction in the likelihood that an adolescent would ever be suspended from school.  As adolescents, students of the arts are significantly more optimistic about their chances to attend college than non-arts students.
  • Data from The College Board show that in 2015 students who took four years of arts and music classes while in high school (only 18% of test takers) scored an average of 92 points higher on their SATs than students who took only one-half year or less (16% of test takers. 
  • Higher levels of post-secondary education optimism reported as adolescents, former arts students were 55.38% more likely to have attended any post-secondary school by adulthood than were former non-arts students. Each additional year of arts study was associated with an 18% increase in the likelihood of having attended any postsecondary schooling.
Next, let’s reflect on the overall WHY we strongly encourage an arts education at ODA with supported research from the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA)
The ABCs of Arts Learning
The benefits of student learning experiences in the arts are:
  • Academic:(STEM) Reading and Language Skills. Technology, Engineering, Mathematics Skills 
  • Basic: Thinking Skills -Social Skills, Motivation to Learn 
  • Comprehensive: Positive School Environment
The evidence is clear: study of the arts contributes to student achievement and success; this is why at ODA we stress the importance of an arts education from Lower to Upper School. 
As we are entering the time of signing up for classes, I encourage you to look at your child’s schedule, is a fine art included? If not ask yourself, if we as a society stress STEM as core academic or the future of education, why would we not promote Fine Art as a core academic, a field that emphases and promotes all four?
Data Links: 

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