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The effects of participation in school instrumental music programs on student academic achievement and school attendance

Dissertation
Author: Kevin O. Davenport
Abstract:
  This study examined whether or not students that participated in a school sponsored instrumental music program had higher academic achievement and attendance than students that did not participate in a school sponsor instrumental music program. Units of measurement included standardized test scores and attendance, without taking into consideration variables such as gender, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status. This study concentrated on participants from three middle schools (6-8) and three high schools (9-12) in Baltimore County, Maryland. Data were gathered on Maryland School Assessment (MSA) and Maryland High School Assessment (HSA) scores and federally reported school attendance rates were accessed based on the 2007-2008 school year. Four research questions were investigated and six null hypotheses were tested at the .05 level of significance. Independent samples t -tests were used to compare enrollment in instrumental music classes to student's academic achievement and attendance rate. There were statistically significant differences among the high school students enrolled in an instrumental music class and those that were not enrolled in instrumental music class on the English and algebra sections of the HSA, and in the attendance rates. The HSA scores of the students that were enrolled in an instrumental music class were significantly higher on both sections of the test. They also had significantly higher attendance rates than the students that were not enrolled in an instrumental music class. These findings suggest the high school students that participate in a school sponsored instrumental music program have higher academic achievement and attendance rates than high school students that do not participate in a school sponsored instrumental music program. The results of data analysis showed that in middle school there were no statistically significant differences among the students from the three middle schools that were enrolled in an instrumental music class and the middle school students that were not enrolled in an instrumental music class on the reading and mathematics sections of the MSA or in attendance rates. These findings suggest that participation in an instrumental music class on the middle school level had no significant impact on student achievement or attendance.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Chapter Page

LIST OF TABLES ……………………………………………………………………… ix

I. INTRODUCTION ………………………………………………………….. 1

Statement of the Problem …………………………………………………… 4 Purpose of the Study ………………………………………………………... 4 Significance of the Study …………………………………………………… 5 Research Questions …………………………………………………………. 5 Limitations of the Study …………………………………………………….. 6 Definition of Terms …………………………………………………………. 6

II. REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE …………………………………………. 8

Introduction …………………………………………………………………. 8 School Instrumental Music Programs ……………………………………… 9 School Instrumental Music and Academic Performance ………………….. 10 School Music Participation ……………..………………………………… 16 Fine Arts Participation ……………………………………………………. 22 Extra Curricular Activities Participation …………………………………. 26 Standardized Assessments …………………………………………………. 33 School Attendance …………………………………………………………. 39

III. METHODOLOGY ……………………………………………………….... 48

Overview …………………………………………………………………… 48 Research Design …………………………………………………………… 48 Population ………………………………………………………………….. 48 Instrumentation ……………………………………………………………...48 Procedures ………………………………………………………………….. 50 Null Hypotheses ……………………………………………………………. 51 Analysis of the Data ………………………………………………………... 52

IV. RESULTS ………………………………………………………………….. 53

Null Hypotheses ……………………………………………………………. 55 Summary of Results ………………………………………………………... 61

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V. SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS, IMPLICATIONS, AND RECOMMENDATIONS ……………………………………………….…..63 Summary ……………………………………………………………………63 Findings ……………………………………………………………………. 65 Conclusions ………………………………………………………………... 67 Effects on Achievement and Attendance in High School... ……………….. 67 Effects on Achievement and Attendance in Middle School ………….……. 68 Recommendations for Public Schools ……………………………………... 70 Recommendations for Further Study ………………………………………. 71

REFERENCES ……………………..………………………………………….………. 74

APPENDICES

A. IRB Exemption ………………………………………………………... 84 B. Baltimore County Public Schools District Approval ………...………… 86

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LIST OF TABLES

TABLE Page

1. Sample Middle School Populations ..……………………………………. 54

2. Sample High School Populations ………………………………………… 54

3. Scores on MSA Reading …………………………………………………. 56

4. Scores on MSA Math …………………………………………………….. . 57

5. Middle School Attendance Days Based on 137 Day Year ………………... 58

6. Scores on HSA English …………………………………………………... 59

7. Scores on HSA Algebra …………………………………………………… 60

8. High School Attendance Days Based on 137 Day School Year ………….. 61

CHAPTER I

Introduction

Instrumental music has been an important part of the secondary education experience for many years. It has served many roles within the school community, from providing entertainment in parades and at football games, to setting the mood at events and festivals. While these events are all important within the school environment, these are not the most important aspects of participation in instrumental music. Music has long been a tradition in schools for reasons such as citizenship, character development, team spirit, and health benefits (Hoffer, 1991). However, even with its recognized importance, instrumental music programs are constantly being cut from school funding priorities and course scheduling. Musical intelligence has been identified as one of nine basic intelligences identified by Howard Gardner(Moran, Kornhaber, & Gardner, 2006). Many studies have shown that there is a correlation between participation in music and high academic achievement (Helwig & Thomas, 1973; Kafer & Kennell, 1998; Schneider & Klotz, 2000, Caterall, 1998; Gouzouasis, et al., 2007). Participation in instrumental music has also shown benefits such as higher grade point averages, school attendance, and higher standardized test scores (McCarthy, 1992). Children with musical training have been proven to have significantly better verbal memory, which leads to better English and

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math scores on standardized tests (Klinedinst, 1990; Survey Explores, 2000; Johnson & Memmott, 2006). Furthermore, students that participated in top-quality music programs, as defined in a survey that included more than 5800 teachers, school and district administrators, school board members, parents, and community leaders, score even higher on standardized test schools (Survey Explores, 2000). The connection between instrumental music and academic achievement was shown in another significant way, when it was discovered that nearly 100 percent of the past winners of the Siemens Westinghouse Competition in Math, Science, and Technology play at least one musical instrument. This discovery led to a recital at Carnegie Hall that featured some of the winners followed by a debate on the nature of the link between science and music (Manzo, 2004). Standardized testing has become a central part of the educational experience of every student. The purposes of assessments are diverse. Newton (2007) identified three methods to understand the perceived purposes: 1) standards referenced judgment, 2) to take an action, and 3) to gauge the assessment system itself. Assessments are used to compare schools and districts with each other, rank states, and apply sanctions against underachieving schools (Seltz, 2008). The fundamental function of assessments in education, however, is to collect overt evidence about students’ covert knowledge, skills, and affect, and use this information to make inferences about students’ learning progress (Popham, 2008).

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The pressure of these tests have led to pressure of state mandates that have teachers concerned about the ethics and the amount of time spent on preparing for students to do well on the exam instead of teaching more content within the curriculum (Perreault, 2000). This pressure has led to schools searching for any way possible to bring up test scores. The research shows that instrumental music may be one of the remedies. Another area of concern within the school community is student attendance. School attendance has been recognized as a major problem in society. There is a proven correlation between chronic absenteeism and dropping out of school (Attwood & Croll, 2006). There has been research conducted that has attempted to find out why students skip school (Baker, Sigmon, & Nugent, 2001; Bethke & Sandifer, 1998). However, little research has been done on what motivates students to attend school. One of the reasons that has been identified is positive school climate, which exists when students feel comfortable, wanted, valued, accepted, and secure in an environment (Ormrod, 2000). The way to bring about this type of environment is by developing a sense of community. Ormrod (2000) stated that central to developing a sense of community is the collaborative atmosphere that teachers promote, because teachers build a sense of shared goals, are mutually respectful and supportive to one another’s efforts and believe that everyone makes an important contribution to the group. Instrumental music participation has proven to strengthen this collaborative atmosphere and sense of community. In a 2006 poll, a large majority of principals interviewed agreed that participation

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in music education encouraged and motivated students to remain in school. (Harris Interactive, 2006). In the same poll, 89 percent of those principals believed a high quality music education program was a strong contributor to a higher graduation rate in their schools. Statement of the Problem Many schools are cutting their instrumental music programs, or failing to schedule students in instrumental music classes so that more hours may be given to “core” subjects. It is, therefore, necessary to justify the academic benefits of instrumental music programs within our schools. This study examined whether student participation in an instrumental music program makes a statistically significant difference in both higher academic achievement and higher attendance rates in secondary schools (Underwood, 2000; Kafer & Kennell, 1998; Schneider & Klotz, 2000). Purpose of the Study The purpose of this causal-comparative study was to investigate whether or not there is a significant difference between the standardized test scores and attendance rates of students that participate in six secondary school instrumental music programs in Baltimore County, Maryland and students in the same six schools that have not participated in instrumental music programs.

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Significance of the Study The Baltimore County, Maryland Public School System is the 24 th largest school system in the United States. The system has 121,715 students in secondary school, that are being educated in 27 Middle schools and 24 high schools. Baltimore County has failed to make Annual Yearly Progress in high school graduation rate, graduating 82.21% of its students in 2008, although Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) was achieved in every testing area except special education in middle and high school. Like many other school systems across the country, the county is dealing with funding issues and pressure to increase class time for ‘core’ classes. In order to meet these challenges, some schools have turned to making their instrumental music programs completely extracurricular, or eliminating them all together. It is hoped that this study will serve as justification for administrators to fund and allow class time for those programs that still exist, and create instrumental music programs in those schools that do not currently have them, not only in Baltimore County, Maryland, but in every secondary school across the country. Research Questions 1. To what degree do students that participate in school sponsored instrumental music programs in middle school have higher overall academic achievement (based on standardized test scores) than students that do not participate in instrumental music programs? 2. To what degree do students that participate in school sponsored

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instrumental music programs in middle school have higher school attendance rates than students that do not participate? 3. To what degree do students that participate in a school sponsored instrumental music programs in high school have higher overall academic achievement (based on standardized test scores) than students that do not participate in instrumental music programs? 4. To what degree do students that participate in a school sponsored instrumental music program in high school have higher attendance rates than students that do not participate? Limitations of the Study Because the items that effect the quality of the of the instrumental programs in the six schools, such as teacher qualifications, was not included as a variable, generalization of the results were limited. In addition, level of importance of instrumental music programs within the cultures of the schools investigated was not known, generalization was limited. Other variables that were not explored are the socio-economic background of the students, the gender of the students, and suburban versus urban students. Definition of Terms For the purposes of this study, the following terms must be defined.

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Instrumental music – the school sponsored ensembles of marching band, concert band, jazz band, and orchestra. Maryland High School Assessments (HSA) – The Maryland High School Assessments are tests that measure school and individual student progress. They include four multiple choice tests in Algebra/Data Analysis, Biology, Government, and English. The tests are based on the Core Learning Goals, which are a part of the state of Maryland’s curriculum that outlines high school course content and learning objectives. Maryland School Assessments (MSA) - The Maryland School Assessment is a test of reading and math achievement are designed to meet the testing requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind Act. It is given each year to students in grades 3 through 8. In 2007 the state began to field test a MSA in science in grades 5 through 8. For the purpose of this study, only the tests in math and reading were examined.

CHAPTER II

REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE

Introduction

Instrumental music has become a very important part of many young people’s lives. The experiences gained while in band are things that helped to develop many people into who they are, and will go with them through the rest of their lives. Involvement in positive extracurricular activities, both within and outside of the school context, has been identified as an important factor in the promotion of positive youth development. Unfortunately, in many states across the union, high-stakes standardized testing has become the measure of student success. Legislation such as the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 has caused schools across America to be graded, judged, and monitored primarily on the basis of student standardized test performance. It has been discovered that students that participate in instrumental music ensembles have higher grade point averages, attend school more regularly, have higher standardized test scores (McCarthy, 1992). There have been many studies that have attempted to identify any relationships between music and academic achievement. However, very few studies exist that have looked directly at the relationship between instrumental music instruction and school attendance. To promote an understanding of

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this study, the review of literature will be divided into the following topics: 1) school instrumental music; 2) school music 3) school extra curricular activities; 4) fine arts participation 5) school attendance; and 6) standardized assessments. Each of these topics explores the research in the respective areas, and the impact each of these has on academic performance and attendance of students. School Instrumental Music Programs The public school instrumental program consists of various types of instrumental performing groups. The first type is the band. There are three major band ensembles that exist in secondary schools today. The first of these is the marching band. Marching band serves as public relations for both the music department, as well as the school as a whole (Hoffer, 1991). Marching bands are mainly seen by people at football games and during parades. However, in some communities the marching band dominates the instrumental music program, and in some schools has become almost the entire program. Other than football games, the marching band contest has become the most prevalent type of performance for these groups, with some groups participating in as many as five contest each fall. Preparation for marching band contests are time consuming and can take up class time as well as a large amount of after school rehearsal time. The values inherent in the marching band are mainly the non-musical values that are associated with music, such as character building, recognition of students, and belonging (Hoffer).

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The second instrumental music type is concert band. In most cases, concert band is considered the core of a band program. This group is the ensemble where the most comprehensive music education takes place. In most cases, the number of performances that the concert band participates in is generally held to three or four a year. The third instrumental music group is the jazz band. Jazz band in most instances is operated as an adjunct ensemble to concert and marching bands. The jazz band membership in most cases, is made up of musicians in their third of fourth year of participation in the band program. This group plays a different repetoire from the other groups and it is much more rare in school programs. The final group is the orchestra. Although band has surpassed orchestra in participation (Hoffer, 1991), it is still a viable group in many schools. The orchestra can be comprised of students that play string instruments only, or can include instrumentalist from the families (brass, woodwinds, and percussion). The orchestra has a rich supply of good literature.

School Instrumental Music and Academic Performance Many studies have been done that look at the relationship between instrumental music and academic achievement. Klinedinst (1990) concluded that reading performance, math performance, and scholastic ability have strong ties to performance achievement among beginning fifth-grade instrumentalists. Furthermore, students in high-quality school music programs score higher on standardized tests compared to students in schools with deficient music education programs, regardless of the socioeconomic level of the school or school district. Students in top-quality music programs scored 22% better

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in English and 20% better in math than students in deficient music programs. Another study showed that children with music training had significantly better verbal memory than those without such training, and the longer the training, the better the verbal memory. In this study, 90 boys between the ages of 6 and 15 were tested. Half of the students had musical training as members of their school's string orchestra program, plus lessons in playing classical music on Western instruments like the flute or violin for one to five years. The other 45 students had no training. Students with musical training recalled more normal vocabulary words in a verbal memory test than did untrained students, and after a 30-minute delay, students with training also retained more words than the control group. In a follow-up one year later, students who continued training and beginners who had just started learning to play both showed improvement in verbal learning and retention (Ho, Cheung, & Chan, 2003). Research into instrumental music further strengthens the relationship between music and academic achievement. It does seem, however, that the quality of the music program has and effect on the relationship. When defining quality within a music program it is important to understand what is meant. In a survey sponsored by Music Educators National Conference (Survey Explores, 2000) explored what people considered a quality music program. More than 5800 teachers, school and district administrators, school board members, parents, and community leaders responded to the survey. Some of the factors that went into defining a quality music program were high levels of funding, enrollment, student-teacher ratios, participation in music classes, instruction time, facilities, support for the music program, and participation in private

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music lessons. In one study, students in top-quality instrumental programs scored 19% higher in English than students in schools without a music program. Students in top quality instrumental programs scored 17% higher in math than children in schools without a music program. Students at schools with excellent music programs had higher English and math test scores across the country than students in schools with low-quality music programs. Students in all regions with lower-quality instrumental programs scored higher in English and math than students who had no school musicprogram at all (Johnson & Memmott 2006). This same study also showed that students that were involved in any instrumental music program also scored higher on standardized tests than students that were not involved in an instrumental music program . Researchers examined the relationship between participation in contrasting school music programs and standardized test scores. The study looked at the academic achievements of students of comparable schools, but with music programs of differing instructional quality. Analysis of elementary school achievement data indicated that students in exemplary music education programs scored higher on both English and mathematics standardized tests than their counterparts who did not have this high-quality instruction; however, the effect sizes were slight. Analysis of middle school achievemnt data indicated that for both English and math, students in both exceptional music programs and deficient instrumental programs scored better than those in no music classes or deficient choral programs; however, the effect sizes were not large. In an additional study that looked at instumental music and academic achievement was comprised of 15,431 students in the fourth, sixth, and ninth grades from

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the Columbus Public Schools in Ohio, Fitzpatrick (2006) set out to see if there is a difference in the test scores on the Ohio Proficiency Test between students in instrumental music, and non-instrumental students of the same socioeconomic status over time. In reviewing previous literature, Fitzpatrick came to the conclusion that it suggests that there is a relationship between music participation and academic achievement. However, the effect of socioeconomic status on these two variables has not been examined. The subjects in this study were the entire population of students in grades 9 through 12 in the Columbus Public Schools during the 2003-2004 school year. A separate database was set up for those students that were enrolled in an instrumental music course during that school year. Instrumental music students were defined as student enrolled in band, orchestra, or jazz ensemble. Student socio-economic status was then approximated through eligibility for free or reduced lunch. Students were then placed in one of four groups. These groups were instrumental music students receiving free or reduced lunch, instrumental music students paying full price, non-instrumental students receiving free or reduced lunch, and non-instrumental students that pay full price. This study then looked at the fourth-, sixth-, and ninth-grade proficiency scores in citizenship, math, reading, science, and writing for each of these groups. A raw score was then compiled for each of these subject areas. The scores were then scaled for difficulty of test items. The results of tests examined revealed that in seven out of the twelve, full-price students outscored free- lunch students and reduced-price-lunch students of both instrumental and non- instrumental status. The results further showed that students that took instrumental music outperformed non-instrumental students of the same socio-economic status in each

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subject and on each grade level. Interestingly, the instrumental music students started out with higher scores than their non-instrumental classmates before music instruction began (Fitzpatrick, 2006). Research conducted by McLelland (2005) also investigated participation in instrumental music on academic achievement. In this study, the researcher investigated standardized testing data from 2001-2002 and 2003-2004 of three hundred and fifty-six fifth grade students in a school district in the State of Delaware to determine if there was a statistically significant difference in academic achievement between those who participated in music and those that did not. Using a causal-comparative study, she looked at the third grade test scores in reading and mathematics from the fifth grade population as a covariate to control for existing differences before enrollment in instrumental music. The researcher found a statistically significant difference in reading and mathematics achievement between the 5 th grade music participants and those that were non-participants. Those students that participated in instrumental music had a mean score that was 7.9191 points higher in reading and 8.590 points higher in math. Kluball (2000) did a research study to determine if a significant correlation exists the study of instrumental music and academic achievement as measured by the mathematics and verbal potions of the SAT and the English, Language Arts, Social Studies, Science, and Writing sections of the Georgia High School Graduation Test (GHSGT). In this study, the researcher used data for the 1999-2000 senior class of Lee County High School in Leesburg, Georgia. Seven possible relationships were tested for significant correlations. Utilizing 298 students, the researcher compared the scores of

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those students that participated in the band program with those students that did not. The results of this study suggests a significant relationship between the quantity of years of instrumental music instruction and academic achievement measured by GHSGT Mathematics and Science tests. The researcher did suggest, however, that further research on a larger scale needed to be conducted to support these findings and possibly find a causal relationship. Further research into the correlation between participation in instrumental music and academic achievement was completed by Babo (2001). In his research, he looked at the impact of formal instrumental music instruction and the number of years of instruction on an eighth grade student’s academic achievement. Babo selected 548 students from two middle schools in Union Township Public School District of New Jersey. The students were divided into two groups, and data was collected using the results of the California Achievement Test and the New Jersey Grade Eight Proficiency Assessment in reading and mathematics. Babo also discovered that instrumental music instruction had a strong impact on reading and/or language arts achievement. Another piece of evidence that adds merit to the correlation between academic achievement and instrumental music is a report issued by the Siemens Foundation. Nearly 100 percent of the past winners of the Siemens Westinghouse Competition in Math, Science, and Technology play one or more musical instrument. This discovery led the foundation to host a recital at Carnegie Hall featuring some of the winners, with a debate on the nature of the link between science and music mentions the arts as an area that is important for all students to have (Manzo, 2004).

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The advantages of participation in instrumental music are not only evidenced in academics. Gonzalez (1998), reporting on a study released by the Texas Commission on Drug and Alcohol, recounted that secondary students who participated in band or orchestra reported decreased use of alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drugs than those that do not. In addition, students that were involved in instrumental music were less likely to be c classified as disruptive based on factors such as frequent skipping of classes, times in trouble, in-school suspensions, disciplinary actions, arrests, and dropout rates.

School Music Participation Music has long been a tradition in schools for reasons such as citizenship, character development, team spirit, and health benefits (Hoffer, 1991). Musical intelligence has been identified as one of one of seven basic intelligences (Eady & Wilson, 2004). Music can make a significant contribution to all of education by enhancing key developmental goals like self-esteem and creativity. Plato’s Republic says there is a need for music in the education of every citizen. Through several periods of history, music was included in the curriculum primarily because knowledge of music was considered the mark of an educated person. Lowell Mason was given permission in 1837 to put music in the curriculum in the Boston schools because it contributed to reading and speech and provided a recreation, yet not a dissipation of the mind - a respite yet not a relaxation – its office would thus be to restore the jaded energies, and send back the scholars with invigorated powers to other more laborious duties (Birge, 1966). Underwood (2000) described music this way:

Full document contains 101 pages
Abstract:   This study examined whether or not students that participated in a school sponsored instrumental music program had higher academic achievement and attendance than students that did not participate in a school sponsor instrumental music program. Units of measurement included standardized test scores and attendance, without taking into consideration variables such as gender, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status. This study concentrated on participants from three middle schools (6-8) and three high schools (9-12) in Baltimore County, Maryland. Data were gathered on Maryland School Assessment (MSA) and Maryland High School Assessment (HSA) scores and federally reported school attendance rates were accessed based on the 2007-2008 school year. Four research questions were investigated and six null hypotheses were tested at the .05 level of significance. Independent samples t -tests were used to compare enrollment in instrumental music classes to student's academic achievement and attendance rate. There were statistically significant differences among the high school students enrolled in an instrumental music class and those that were not enrolled in instrumental music class on the English and algebra sections of the HSA, and in the attendance rates. The HSA scores of the students that were enrolled in an instrumental music class were significantly higher on both sections of the test. They also had significantly higher attendance rates than the students that were not enrolled in an instrumental music class. These findings suggest the high school students that participate in a school sponsored instrumental music program have higher academic achievement and attendance rates than high school students that do not participate in a school sponsored instrumental music program. The results of data analysis showed that in middle school there were no statistically significant differences among the students from the three middle schools that were enrolled in an instrumental music class and the middle school students that were not enrolled in an instrumental music class on the reading and mathematics sections of the MSA or in attendance rates. These findings suggest that participation in an instrumental music class on the middle school level had no significant impact on student achievement or attendance.