Arts-to-smarts link overblown, researchers say

1 min read

Singing a new tune for the Mozart effect

“Arts advocates need to stop making sweeping claims about the arts as a magic pill for turning students around academically,” says Lois Hetland, project manager of the largest, most comprehensive study ever conducted on the effects of arts on education. “Arts teachers should not be held responsible for better test scores in math or history.” In compiling the results, researchers at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education analyzed 188 studies conducted over 50 years. They found that listening to Mozart won’t raise a child’s IQ, though music classes could help her or him to understand directions and diagrams. For enhancing a student’s ability to speak, read, and write, drama is a better choice. Beyond that, the arts don’t offer much of a boost to academic achievement in math or other non-arts courses.