This report from the US National Endowment for the Arts looks at correlations between arts activity among at-risk youth and subsequent levels of academic performance and civic engagement. Data was pulled from four large-scale, longitudinal studies that tracked a nationally representative sample of children and/or teenagers over time.
The following key findings emerged:
- 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; and
- Most of the positive relationships between arts involvement and academic outcomes apply only to at-risk populations (low socio-economic status). But positive relationships between arts and civic engagement are noted in higher socio-economic status groups as well.
Source: The arts and achievement in at-risk youth: Findings from four longitudinal studies (2012), National Endowment for the Arts