Arts Education and the High School Dropout Problem
29 Pages Posted: 17 Sep 2014
Date Written: May 22, 2014
Arts education advocates believe that quality education in the arts can engage at-risk students in ways other subjects cannot and is therefore an important tool in preventing high school dropout. Although some studies point to lower dropout rates, most do not follow a large number of students over time or account for student and school characteristics expected to influence one’s educational path. We fill this gap in the current literature by tracking nearly 175,000 first-time 9th graders for 5 years using survival analysis with longitudinal administrative data from Texas. We find that cumulative credits in the arts are consistently associated with reduced dropout, even after controlling for course completion in core subjects. Our results provide evidence that the arts are a potential lever in education reform. Experimental and/or quasi-experimental research studies are needed to isolate the salient conditions under which arts participation can reduce dropout.
Keywords: Arts education, Dropout, Survival analysis, Hazard estimates
JEL Classification: I21, I24
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation