Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation


Instruction and Teacher Education



First Advisor

Zach Kelehear


Legislators, school leaders, and politicians continue to give accolades for the positive benefits of arts education yet; these accolades have not always translated into resources, staffing, and financial support. So then what are the leadership implications for including public-school arts classes in the school day? Authors cited in this study have promoted the arts as: engaging multiple intelligences, developing positive learning cultures, providing real life learning experiences, modeling performance-based assessment, encouraging student-teacher authored instruction and integrated curriculum, activating communications centers of the brain, promoting creativity, increasing motivation, and inspiring passion. Yet under the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation there has been a national trend of cuts to arts education. The Center for Educational Policy (2006), found that 71% of school districts were reducing instructional time in subjects that were not tested under NCLB to increase time for math and reading.

Although language in recent legislation has been favorable or at the very least benign to arts education, the reality has been reduced instructional time, limited resources, and/or direct cuts to arts programs. Most legislators and administrators understand that there is an intrinsic value to the arts, but is this recognition enough to ensure that the arts will continue to play a role in education, or is it important to also determine if the arts can demonstrate their value through quantifiable data. As school leaders continue to face decreasing resources in time, supplies, and personnel, if the arts wish to take their place as core curricular subjects and not just a secondary part of the curriculum, it is increasingly necessary to ascertain if there is evidence indicating that the arts can play a role in helping to increase academic achievement.

To help address this issue the researcher developed this study using a three phase quantitative research design to examine the relationship between enrollment in arts courses and the academic achievement of sixth grade students enrolled in the XYZ County School District schools. The results from this study were inconsistent, yet the most significant finding from this study may be that those students who choose to enroll in arts classes do no worse than their non-arts counterparts.