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Id 120
Author Catterall, J., S.; Dumais, S., A.; Hampden-Thompson, G.,
Title The Arts and Achievement in At-Risk Youth: Findings from Four Longitudinal Studies.

Catterall, J.S.; Dumais, S.A.; Hampden-Thompson, G. (2012). The Arts and Achievement in At-Risk Youth: Findings from Four Longitudinal Studies. Research Report ·#55. Washington, DC: National Endowment for the Arts.

Keywords Youth; Arts engagement; Arts education; Social outcomes
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Abstract This report examines the academic and civic behavior outcomes of teenagers and young adults who have engaged deeply with the arts in or out of school. In several small-group studies, children and teenagers who participated in arts education programs have shown more positive academic and social outcomes in comparison to students who did not participate in those programs. Such studies have proved essential to the current research literature on the types of instrumental benefits associated with an arts education. A standard weakness of the literature, however, has been a dearth of large-scale, longitudinal studies following the same populations over time, tracking the outcomes of students who received intensive arts exposure or arts learning compared with students who did not. The Arts and Achievement in At-Risk Youth is a partial attempt to fill this knowledge gap. The report’s authors, James Catterall et al., use four large national USA databases to analyze the relationship between arts involvement and academic and social achievements.

Metodology To understand the relationship between early arts involvement and positive outcomes later in life, researchers applied two criteria to analyze populations in each of the four national databases. First, researchers wanted to know what would be the potential effects of intensive arts involvement on each study population, and how would outcomes differ among students who had engaged in little or no art in childhood or adolescence. To make such comparisons, it was necessary to construct a scale of arts engagement, ranging from high to low, by using the arts-related variables in each database. Each scale relies on a scoring method, with appropriate weighting given to factors such as leadership in arts associations and frequency of arts participation. Second, the researchers decided to focus their analysis on teenagers and young adults who came from lower socioeconomic status (SES) backgrounds. The rationale was that higher-income, higher-educated families will, on average, provide their youth with more opportunities to experience the arts through extra classes, lessons, or opportunities for attendance, perhaps through more affluent schools with extensive arts programs. Thus, if the research failed to control for the effects of SES on the general population studied, then a comparison of high- and low-arts groups would reveal far greater levels of academic and civic achievement in the high-arts group than might be linked to arts involvement alone.

Findings ACADEMIC ENGAGEMENT. Teenagers and young adults of low socioeconomic status (SES) who have a history of in-depth arts involvement show better academic outcomes than do low-SES youth who have less arts involvement. They earn better grades and demonstrate higher rates of college enrollment and attainment. CIVIC ENGAGEMENT. Young adults who had intensive arts experiences in high school are more likely to show civic-minded behavior than young adults who did not. They take an interest in current affairs, as evidenced by comparatively high levels of volunteering, voting, and engagement with local or school politics. In many cases, this difference appears in both low- and high-SES groups. CONCLUSIONS. 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. 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.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.
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