The Role of School, Home, and Community Arts Participation in Students' Academic and Non-Academic Outcomes

Doctoral Studies Completed Theses – 2014 Archive

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Marianne Mansour

PhD thesis, conferred 2014

Guided by theories of positive youth development, extracurricular activity, and recent academic engagement frameworks, it is proposed that the Arts represent a form of activity and learning with the potential to enhance students’ academic and non-academic well-being. The Arts are embedded within the school curriculum and feature as a common domain of out-of-school extracurricular activity. The Arts are therefore a dominant presence in children’s and adolescents’ lives yet this area of curriculum has traditionally faced numerous research and educational challenges.

Accordingly, this investigation explores the link between school, home, and community Arts participation and students’ academic and non-academic outcomes. The research utilised a Time 1 sample (N = 1,172), Time 2 sample (N = 1,162), and longitudinal sample (N = 643) from fifteen Australian primary and secondary schools. The sample encompassed urban and non-urban areas, as well as independent, government, Catholic, single-sex, and co-educational schools.

The survey comprised measures related to in-school Arts tuition, Arts engagement, parent-child Arts interaction, home-based Arts resources, receptive Arts participation (attendance), active Arts participation, and external Arts tuition. Academic outcomes comprised motivation and engagement factors, and non-academic outcomes comprised psychological well-being factors. Structural equation modelling (SEM) with Mplus was used to investigate the predictive role of Arts participation factors for students’ outcomes.

Findings supported the significance of the Arts for students’ academic and non-academic well-being, the importance of the Arts in the school curriculum, the role of various stakeholders in students’ Arts participation experiences, and the need for quality Arts programs in schools and community settings. Implications are discussed for theory, research, practice, and policy that are relevant to child and adolescent development and the Arts.

Supervisor: Professor Andrew Martin