Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Theory, Policy, and Practice

Document Type



The purpose of this study was to examine the policy implications allowing administrators to exempt a student from required arts instruction if the student obtained unsatisfactory scores on the high-stake state mandated tests in English and mathematics. This study examined English language arts and math test scores for 37,222 eighth grade students enrolled in music and/or visual arts classes and those students not enrolled in arts courses. There were more than 12,000 students who were eligible, but not enrolled in arts courses. Methodology consisted of comparing the mean scores of students receiving music and visual arts instruction with the mean scores of students excluded from this instruction. The sample consisted of all non-special education students who took the statewide assessment spring 2008 in public schools. Students enrolled in music had significantly higher mean scores than those not enrolled in music where (p < .001). Music enrollment was a positive predictor of academic achievement. Results for visual arts and dual arts were not as conclusive. The study found a lack of evidence supporting the exclusion of students from required arts instruction for the purpose of increasing test scores in English and math. The conclusions were that students enrolled in music perform significantly better; there is an access gap; and arts should be included in the curriculum of all middle school students. More study is required for visual arts, dual arts study, as well as, dance and theatre effects. Future research is required as to academic effectiveness of remediation implemented during the instructional day, thereby denying arts instruction to students. School Performance Scores must reflect all components of the curriculum to be valid. Instructional time in the arts must be enforced if all students are to receive a whole, effective, and relevant education. The practice of recommending more time in English and math in lieu of music for students should be reexamined. Administrators should construct schedules, including appropriate attention, so that all students receive a balanced whole education.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Egéa-Kuehne, Denise



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Education Commons