Arts Education Partnership Releases New Research Brief on the Essential Skills the Arts Teach

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The Arts Education Partnership, a division of the Council of Chief State School Officers, has released a new research brief, "Preparing Students for the Next America: The Benefits of an Arts Education," providing a snapshot of how arts education can enhance literacy and mathematics skills, while ensuring a competitive and comprehensive education for every young person in America.

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In order to meet the demands of an increasingly complex and technologically connected world, our young people need to acquire, as part of their K-12 education, a richer set of skills - Sandra Ruppert, AEP Director

Without question, America’s young people need the basics: reading, writing, and arithmetic. Beyond mastery of these important subjects in school, new evidence is continuously emerging on the other essential skills, character traits, and success factors students gain through learning in the arts. These include persistence, critical thinking, collaboration, motivation, and creativity.

The Arts Education Partnership (AEP)—a division of the Council of Chief State School Officers—has vetted decades of this evidence and recently synthesized more than 200 research studies to publish Preparing Students for the Next America: The Benefits of an Arts Education, available here.

This reader-friendly research brief offers a snapshot of how access to high quality arts education supports student achievement in school, bolsters skills demanded of a 21st century workforce, and reinforces learning expectations for college and career-readiness as part of the framework of the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and Mathematics. Currently, the Common Core has been adopted by 46 states and the District of Columbia.

Preparing Students for the Next America draws upon the vast body of research in AEP's—the nation’s first research clearinghouse focused entirely on the educational benefits that emerge when students create, perform, experience, and learn about the arts in or out of school.

Highlights of the Findings Include:

•Literacy and Math: Arts education helps students become better readers and writers, while advancing math achievement. Drama instruction, for example, increases reading readiness and word fluency in early grades and continues to improve reading comprehension and writing throughout middle and high school.

•Motivation: Students involved in the arts are more motivated to learn than their non-arts involved peers.

•Creativity: Students receiving an arts-rich education perform better than their non-arts involved peers on assessments of creativity—one of the top five skills prized by employers.

•Problem Solving: Arts education improves students’ ability to analyze information and solve complex problems.

•Civic Engagement: Students who have had an arts-rich education volunteer more often and exhibit greater civic engagement than other students.

Community members will find Preparing Students a reinforcing and scientifically-grounded resource on the benefits of arts learning and its profound potential to nurture skills and characteristics essential for preparing students for success.

About the Arts Education Partnership:

A national coalition of more than 100 education, arts, business, cultural, government, and philanthropic organizations, AEP gathers and analyzes relevant research and policy information, fosters dialogue about what works in arts education, and supports advocacy for improved education policy and practice. AEP was established in 1995 and is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts and the U.S. Department of Education in cooperation with the Council of Chief State School Officers and the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies.

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Laura Johnson
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