Impact of arts participation on children’s achievement: A systematic literature review

Divya Jindal-Snape, Daniel Davies, Ros Scott, Anna Robb, Chris Murray, Chris Harkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (SciVal)


This paper reports on a systematic literature review to examine the association between children and young people’s participation in arts activities and their academic achievement. The 24 studies that met our criteria for inclusion and weight of evidence (2004-16) had mixed findings. Whilst many of the research designs employed would not meet positivist criteria for rigour – such as sample size, statistical significance and causality – typically required by public bodies to justify expenditure, there are examples throughout the literature reviewed of academically-related benefits to participants, such as increased confidence, creativity or more positive attitude towards their studies. Overall, there appears to be some justification from the literature for public investment in high-quality, long-term arts education programmes for children and young people in schools and community settings, on the basis of its potential to enhance academic achievement. However, there may be more intrinsic benefits to arts participation than the instrumental, essentially economic justification of improved academic standards.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-70
Number of pages12
JournalThinking Skills and Creativity
Early online date23 Jun 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2018


  • Achievement
  • Art
  • Community
  • Impact
  • Nursery
  • Participation
  • Primary school
  • Secondary school
  • Systematic literature review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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