performing arts, dramatic arts, remedial readers, FCAT, high school


This is the age of accountability in public schools. The public wants to know that the schools are producing high achieving students who are ready for the future. With this push for accountability the rise in standardized testing should not be surprising. However, it is difficult to test an abstract course such as the arts. With the increase of standardized testing and the recent tough economic times, it is no wonder that performing arts classes in our public schools are often the first to be pared down or dissolved (Mendels, 2008). It is the presiding feeling that these courses, while nice and fun for the students, do not offer any tangible, real, or marketable skills. "...imparting knowledge about the arts typically has not been a priority goal in our nation's schools' (Ward, 1983, ¶ 2). This study explored the benefits that students can achieve through their participation in the dramatic arts courses including, but not limited to, enhancement of reading and verbal scores. This study was designed to illustrate that the arts are a natural and necessary part of the high school educational experience and can play an instrumental part of learning even in a distressed economy, and/or in a regulated testing arena. Students who were freshmen or sophomores in 2008-2009 and scored a Level 1 or 2 (below average) score on the reading portion of the state test, the FCAT, and were from Orange and Seminole Counties in Florida became the sample set. These students were disaggregated into categories of students who took a dramatic arts course or not, by gender, by race, and by socioeconomic status to determine if participation in a dramatic arts course in high school would help raise a remedial reading score on the required state test. Although the data did not show a statistical significance, it did show a positive trend in a few of the tested areas. Suggestions for why the data appear to show only a trend and not significance are discussed further in Chapter 5.


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Graduation Date



Murray, Barbara A.


Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


College of Education


Educational Research, Technology, and Leadership

Degree Program

Educational Leadership








Release Date

August 2010

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)