The arts in education and a meta-analysis

FranCina Conard, Purdue University


This study is a meta-analysis of previous experimental studies which examined the effect of creative dramatics on the acquisition of cognitive skills. The areas of research investigated included: the achievement of students experiencing creative dramatic techniques as compared to traditional methods, the impact of study and sample characteristics on outcomes, and the effects of research and methodological features on outcomes. Refined meta-analysis methodology was used that weighted each study independently, thus accounting for varying sizes of groups used in the individual studies. A mean effect size of 0.48 was found for studies in which creative dramatics was used as an instructional technique. Creative dramatics tended to be more effective at the pre-school and elementary level than at the secondary level. Both regular and remedial students appear to benefit from, and enjoy participating in creative dramatics. Studies that used students in private schools produced larger effect sizes than those that used public school students. More detailed documentation of the different types of creative drama treatments is needed. Specifically, studies should include exactly what was done, how it was done, and how the effects were measured. Measurement characteristics, such as, reliability and validity, and other details of the dependent measures were often not reported in the creative dramatics research literature. Detailed reporting of study characteristics facilitates research synthesis. Qualitative reviews were combined with the quantitative analysis. The qualitative data greatly enhanced the results of the meta-analysis, and added further insights in interpreting the findings.




Asher, Purdue University.

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