Brown University News Bureau

The Brown University News Bureau

1998-1999 index

Distributed November 10, 1998
Contact: Tracie Sweeney

Arts further students' academic progress, Challenge participants find

The fall issue of Challenge Journal, a publication of the Annenberg Challenge, offers examples of how learning has improved in Challenge schools that use funds to create local collaborations with arts organizations. Experiences in Challenge schools seem to confirm government-sponsored research that found student understanding increases when the arts are used to teach academic subjects.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Schools that give the arts a central place in the curriculum see improvement in student learning generally, according to participants in the nationwide Annenberg Challenge.

"Not only do students acquire new understanding and competence in music, visual arts, drama and dance, but their knowledge of other content areas such as history and science also rises, teachers in these schools tell us," said Barbara Cervone, the national coordinator for the Challenge, who is based at Brown University. "Reading, writing and math performance seem to benefit as well, perhaps because the arts can help develop the recognition of patterns and sequences that is crucial in those areas."

The experiences of students and teachers in Annenberg Challenge schools seem to support the findings of a three-year study sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education. The study found that when educators use arts processes to teach academic subjects, their students' understanding of content increases and their self-regulatory behavior greatly improves.

The fall issue of Challenge Journal, a publication of the Annenberg Challenge, offers numerous examples of how Challenge funds have been used to create local collaborations between schools and arts organizations:

For a print copy of the Challenge Journal, write to the Annenberg Challenge national office, Brown University, Box 1985, Providence, RI 02912, or telephone (401) 863-2744.

The Annenberg Challenge

A public-private partnership serving more than 1.3 million urban and rural students in almost every state, the Challenge began in 1993 when Ambassador Walter H. Annenberg gave the nation's public schools the largest monetary gift in history. Matched by other private and public funding, the money went to nine of the country's largest urban areas, five smaller cities, a network of rural schools across the United States, and three arts education projects.