Arts education has some larger benefits, which can’t be easily quantified through test scores. Namely, it helps students improve visual analysis skills, learn from mistakes, be creative and make better critical judgments. For example, students who took part in the Guggenheim’s Learning Through Art program (where artists were sent into schools to teach), performed better on six different categories of literacy and critical thinking skills than those who did not.
Arts Participation and academics have a positive impact on student achievement:
15% higher GPA. Students involved in art or music throughout high school had average GPA’s exceeding 3.0, as compared to students with no art or music classes averaging GPAs below 2.6
Visual Arts: 38% higher graduation rate. Students with no visual arts credits in high school graduated with a diploma 67% of the time. However, high school art students had a graduation rate of 93%.
Music: 34% higher graduation rate. Students with no music credits in high school graduated with a diploma 70% of the time. However, high school music students had a graduation rate over 94%.
Music and art students stay in school. When engaged in the arts for four years in high school, the student dropout rate is below 7%. These students are more likely to stay in school than their non-artistically-engaged counterparts.
Higher test scores. High school music students average 8.5% higher on the SAT math and 10.4% higher on SAT verbal than students with no music credits. High school art students average 3.4% higher on the SAT math and 7.4% higher on SAT verbal than students with no art credits.
High school music students on a free or reduced lunch price program averaged 49 points higher on the SAT math and 52 points higher on the SAT verbal than students with no music credits.
High school visual art students on a free and/or reduced lunch price program averaged 33 points higher on the SAT math and 51 points higher on the SAT verbal than students with no art credits.
Student Engagement: Participation in more than one fine arts credit is associated with higher proficiency rates at graduation. There continues to be a significantly greater difference between students enrolling in four or more credits of fine arts and those enrolling in few or no fine arts courses. This difference extends across socioeconomic factors, race categories and students with disabilities.
Information from A Cohort Study of Arts Participation and Academic Performance.