Research Projects / Media

Research Projects

Bridging the Gap in School Achievement through the Arts

The Song Room recently commissioned a 3 year research project to investigate the impact of its programs on disadvantaged children. The research demonstrates the positive impact of The Song Room’s arts-based intervention on improved school attendance (65% less absenteeism with participation in longer-term TSR in comparison to those that have not participated), higher academic achievement (including the equivalent of 1 year gain in NAPLAN literacy for longer-term schools compared to equivalent schools), as well as enhanced social and emotional wellbeing.

With funding from the Macquarie Group Foundation, The Song Room commissioned a 3 year research project with a range of University and research partners, including leading educational researcher, Professor Brian Caldwell, and Dr Tanya Vaughan from Educational Transformations (ET).

The groundbreaking research by ET has made an important advancement in demonstrating that arts education not only has intrinsic value, but when implemented with a structured, innovative and long-term approach, it can also provide essential extrinsic benefits, such as improved school attendance, academic achievement across the curriculum as well as social and emotional wellbeing.

Having demonstrated a significant and quantitative impact of an educational intervention, this research is of international significance. There is nevertheless a particular relevance to the Australian context, given our challenges of disparity in educational outcomes for students such as those who participated in this research, including low socio-economic, high Indigenous and non-English speaking backgrounds as well as those at high risk of juvenile crime. It also provides topical evidence on an effective model of delivery in light of the current development of a new national curriculum to include the arts.

These improvements are critical not only to educational and learning outcomes, but are also key factors in reducing risk and addressing the large social disparities and prospects for disadvantaged and marginalised young people in Australia.

The research was conducted in a region of low socio-economic status, with a high proportion of Indigenous and non-English speaking background students, and that is a region of high juvenile crime, where multiple risk factors for young people in relation school completion, future employment, crime and disengagement are present.

The research findings provide evidence that schools participating in The Song Room programs outperform those that are not participating on most indicators selected for investigation, including significant improvement in academic achievement (school grades and NAPLAN), school attendance and student well-being. The implications for policymakers at all levels and for school leaders are significant.

The research demonstrates the positive impact of The Song Room’s arts-based intervention, including a number of significant improvements, including:

  1. Improved school attendance (65% less absenteeism with participation in longer-term TSR in comparison to those that have not participated);
  2. Higher academic achievement (including the equivalent of 1 year gain in NAPLAN literacy for longer-term TSR schools compared to equivalent schools);
  3. as well as enhanced social and emotional wellbeing.

The research points to the importance of providing innovative arts education to all Australian children, but also points to the way in which support for community-business-school partnerships can assist in ensuring that all children have access to high quality, diverse and tailored educational opportunities to give them every opportunity for success, regardless of their social, cultural or economic background.

As a not-for-profit organisation, The Song Room is very grateful for the generous support of the Macquarie Group Foundation, the exceptional research expertise of the team from Educational Transformations as well as the contribution of the participating schools, students and teachers who all made this project possible.

We hope that these findings will assist in realising our vision that all Australian children have access to the arts to improve their education and development.

View or download a copy of the Executive Summary here.

 


 

Transforming Indigenous Education through the Arts

The independent research and strategic education advisors, Educational Transformations, have recently released a comprehensive report on the effectiveness of The Song Room’s programs. Educational Transformations have evaluated program data collected over the course of The Song Room Creative Arts Indigenous Parental Engagement (CAIPE) program, and discovered that The Song Room programs are proven to increase school attendance, improve literacy through arts education and significantly improve parental engagement in their children’s educational outcomes.

View or download a copy of the Executive Summary here.

 


 

New Moves

The Song Room recently partnered with Victoria University to investigate the effectiveness of its programs on young people from refugee backgrounds. The research report, New Moves, demonstrates clear positive impacts for this group of young people related to fostering sense of wellbeing, promoting sense of belonging and social inclusion and enhancing engagement with learning, as a result of participating in The Song Room programs.

WIth support from the Macquarie Group Foundation, The Song Room aimed to develop a robust evidence base regarding the efficacy of its music and arts interventions specifically for improving the social and educational outcomes of children in a range of disadvantaged and high-need communities in Australia.

In 2009, Victoria University successfully tendered to undertake a one year study led by their team of leading researchers. The study was conducted by an interdisciplinary research team with demonstrated expertise in refugee settlement research, arts based education theory and practice and theory involving young people from culturally diverse backgrounds.

The New Moves study examined the impacts and meanings of The Song Room programs for refugee young people in relation to three overarching domains: sense of wellbeing, sense of belonging and social inclusion, and engagement with learning.

New Moves highlights the importance of providing learning environments through the arts such as those fostered by The Song Room. The life-affirming qualities and benefits they confer on refugee background young people, should be made readily available, highly valued and continuously strengthened.

View or download a copy of the Executive Summary here.

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