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Eric.ed.gov – Creative Futures: Act, Sing, Play. Evaluation Report and Executive Summary

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Act, Sing, Play (ASP) offered music and drama tuition to Year 2 pupils. The aim of the programme was to evaluate whether music workshops had a bigger impact than drama workshops in terms of pupils’ maths and literacy attainment. The evaluation was based on the hypothesis that participation in high-quality music instruction promotes educational attainment over and above instruction in other artistic pursuits (see Schellenberg, 2004). The ASP programme was developed specifically for this trial and ran from September 2013 to June 2014: 909 pupils participated in 19 schools across London, Essex, Sussex and Coventry. In each participating Year 2 class, pupils were randomly allocated to one of three groups: violin or cello workshops (ASP-strings), singing lessons (ASP-singing), or drama workshops (ASP-drama). The two music groups (strings and singing) represented the treatment arms of the trial. Students in the ASP-drama workshops represented the control. Each workshop had around 10 students. Workshops were held once a week over 32 weeks. The programme was delivered by Creative Futures, funded by the Education Endowment Foundation, and independently evaluated by NatCen. The following conclusions summarise the project outcome: (1) This evaluation provides no evidence that ASP-music workshops had a greater impact on maths or literacy attainment than ASP-drama workshops; (2) Analysis of students receiving free school meals similarly found no evidence that ASP-music workshops had a greater impact on maths or literacy than ASP-drama workshops; (3) The process evaluation suggested that some tutors–particularly those with less experience of teaching groups of primary school children–needed more guidance on how to run their sessions; (4) Although not necessarily typical, there were related concerns that some strings workshops struggled to keep students focussed on learning music; and (5) Class teachers reported that confidence and social skills had improved for some pupils. Teachers also felt it was important that children from disadvantaged backgrounds had the opportunity to learn a new skill that they might otherwise not be able to access. Findings from this trial have a high degree of security. Results include the following: (1) This evaluation found no evidence that the ASP-music workshops had a greater impact than the ASP-drama workshops in terms of maths or literacy attainment; (2) Similarly, there was no evidence that, among pupils eligible for free school meals (FSM), music workshops had an impact on attainment when compared to the control group (ASP-drama); (3) Interviews with school staff and workshop tutors suggested that there were differences in the way the programme was implemented by different tutors, reflecting the flexible nature of the programme; (4) In general, the process evaluation suggested that pupils enjoyed participating in the program, and were engaged. Teachers also reported that some pupils’ confidence and social-skills improved during the program.

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Troels Gannerup Christensen

Jeg er ansat som adjunkt hos Læreruddannelsen i Jelling, hvor jeg underviser i matematik, specialiseringsmodulet teknologiforståelse, praktik m.m. Jeg har tidligere været ansat som pædagogisk konsulent i matematik og tysk hos UCL ved Center for Undervisningsmidler (CFU) i Vejle og lærer i udskolingen (7.-9. klasse) på Lyshøjskolen i Kolding. Jeg er ejer af og driver bl.a. hjemmesiderne www.lærklokken.dk og www.iundervisning.dk, ggbkursus.dk og er tidligere fagredaktør på matematik på emu.dk. Jeg går ind for, at læring skal være let tilgængelig og i størst mulig omfang gratis at benytte.

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