Arts participation and academic achievement
Arts education is a controversial topic in the realm of education reform: the need for it, the value of it, the teaching of it, which students receive it and at what point in their education are all areas of interest about arts education.
New theoretical concepts about cognition and learning have spurred new research into creativity/divergent thinking/imagination which in turn has led to attempts to reform arts education. Ongoing research indicates that arts education may be far more important than previously considered. In order to promote changes in the perception of the value of authentic arts education in current educational practice, evidence that students who participate in authentic arts education can do as well or better on accountability measures of the core curriculum for reading, writing, mathematics and elementary science is needed. This evidence can also point out one effective method of developing creativity: arts education. If, as has been proposed, the survival of the human species has always depended on creative innovations and solutions to physical and social complexities, then encouraging the development and training of creativity through the process of education is perhaps the most important goal of the process.
This study was conducted in a private school. The academic achievement of thirty-four participants in a theatre arts program were compared with thirty-three students who did not participate in the theatre program. The statistical analysis of the study consisted of two parts, the descriptive statistics and inferential statistics.
The study provided at least partial support for the enhancing effect of theatre education on student academic performance. Students who participated in the program had better academic performance in mathematics and general academic performance defined as the Total Grade Equivalent Score and the Total Normal Curve Equivalent scores produced by the Terra Nova standardized test than those who do not participate in the theatre education program.