SAT Scores of Students Who Study the Arts: What We Can and Cannot Conclude about the Association
Vaughn, K., & Winner, E. (2000). SAT Scores of Students Who Study the Arts: What We Can and Cannot Conclude about the Association. Journal of Aesthetic Education, 34(3/4), 77-89.
This study examines the claim that students who study the arts in high school have higher SAT scores than those who do not study the arts. The relationship between arts courses and SAT scores has been documented by the College Board since 1987 and is based on a very large sample – all students taking the SAT who voluntarily responded to the Student Descriptive Questionnaire (SDQ) as part of the registration process. The actual mean scores of students responding to a given question is used in this analysis. The researchers use the results of the College Board data analysis to answer a variety of comparative questions.
The first analysis shows a correlation between students who take any kind of art course in high school and higher SAT scores (both verbal and math) than students who take no art course at all. Moreover, those who take four years of arts courses have higher scores than those who take less than four years’ worth.
The second analysis compared verbal scores across art forms. This analysis showed that the verbal and math SAT scores of students taking any form of art, irrespective of number of years, are significantly higher than for students who take no art. Acting/play production achieved the greatest effect in SAT score, while dance achieved the smallest effect. Students who took no art at all obtained the lowest scores in both verbal and math.
The final analysis compared verbal and math scores to determine which was most associated with studying the arts. A stronger effect size was found between verbal score and study of an art form for each of the art forms included in the analysis.