Pablo Egaña Del Sol

The Impacts of a Middle-School Art-based Program on Academic Achievements, Creativity, and Creative Behavior

Pablo Egana-delSol

Abstract

This article evaluates the impact of an Art-based program, which consisted in bringing artist to do workshops in public schools, on academic achievements, creativity (i.e., the skill) and the external manifestation of creativity in action (i.e., creative behaviors). The main contribution with respect to previous literature is a quasi-experimental design—propensity score matching—that makes the causal link between these aspects more plausible, and which had a sample of 297 children between 14 and 16 years old. Four main findings are derived from the empirical investigation. First, substantial practice is crucial. Participation in at least two semester-length workshops is a necessary condition to observe significant impacts. Second, participation has a significant impact on academic achievements. Grades increased by 0.61 standard deviations (sd) for language, by 0.36 sd for math, and by 0.33 sd for art. Overall GPA increased by 0.55 sd. The program also increased participant willingness to consider postsecondary education. Third, the impact of the art-based program on various innovative graphical psychometric measures of creativity was positive and significant. Fourth, related to creative behaviors, the program had a positive impact on certain cultural activities, such as time spent watching films at home and creating cultural goods (e.g., handicrafts, poetry, music). In conclusion, our study presents substantial evidence on the effective enhancement of creativity, the fostering of creative activities, and the improvement of academic performance through the deployment of art-based programs.