Date of Award

Spring 3-16-2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

EdD Education Leadership, Management and Policy


Education Leadership, Management and Policy


Gerard Babo, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Anthony Colella, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Michael Kuchar, Ph.D.


arts education, student outcomes, socio-economic status, New Jersey, Middle School


Many studies over the past several decades point to the overall academic benefit that arts education provides to students. A large number of those studies look at the impact that arts education has on economically disadvantaged students (Catterall, 2009; Bellisario & Donovan, 2012; Israel, 2009; Costa-Giomi, 2004; Kinney, 2008). In fact, several federal and state government initiatives have used arts integration as a means for improving under-performing schools (Stoelinga, et al., 2015). However, there is limited quantifiable evidence to show whether or not arts education can have a significant positive impact on the overall academic performance of students from across the spectrum of socioeconomic backgrounds. The purpose of this study was to determine if arts education adds any significant value to public school student efficacy for students in middle school when controlling for socioeconomic status.

This study analyzed the efficacy of arts education using three different statistical methods to answer a total of five research questions. The study found that in four out of five areas measured, the arts did not have a significant impact on student achievement when controlling for socioeconomic status and other student and school demographic variables. In research question No. 1, an ANOVA found that there is no significant difference in the mean levels of arts participation reported by schools among the six groups of median household incomes, as measured by the Federal Income & Benefits ranges. In research questions No. 2 and 3, it was determined that the level of arts participation does not significantly affect academic achievement as defined and measured by PARCC English Language Arts and Math performance scores. In research question No. 4, we found that arts participation does significantly impact the school climate variable of “chronic absenteeism”, contributing 1.3% variability as a predictor variable. Finally, in research question No. 5, we found that arts participation does not significantly impact the school climate variable of “student suspension” rates. The analysis for questions 2 to 5, showed that the strongest predictor variable was socioeconomic status as measured by school district median household income.