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Nation's Report Card Shows Achievement Gaps in the Arts Remain

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) released its assessment of arts education in the U.S. and found that average scores and coursetaking in music and visual arts is roughly on par with 2008 totals. However, the NAEP report card also reveals that there are still clear achievement gaps in these subject areas.

"One bright spot: The achievement gap between Hispanic students and their white peers has narrowed," according to NPR. "But Hispanics and African-Americans still lag far behind white and Asian eighth-graders."

It should be noted that music and visual arts have only been reported on three times, counting the most recent report. It is disconcerting that the results from 8th graders across the nation remain somewhat stagnant when compared to the results from 2008. The report stated that math showed the greatest improvement in terms of student achievement when compared to other subjects.

There were also some telling findings with respect to regional differences. Students in the Northeast are outperforming students from other regions in the nation when it comes to music and visual arts. The South struggles the most in visual arts, while the West performs worst in music.

"In terms of participation in arts classes, the study found that fewer than half of eighth graders had taken an arts class that year — 42 percent. That's down from 45 percent in 2008."

Male students are also struggling more in both categories than their female counterparts. The findings also show that "[e]ighth-graders reported being less likely to take private art and music lessons than they did in 2008."

Read the report here.

Article by Navindra Persaud, Education World Contributor.

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