In this report, we grouped students into three distinct categories, based on how they approached arts learning during high school, which we named spartans, explorers, and deep divers. The approach to arts learning represents not just the students, but also the opportunities and barriers they encountered. We found that these approaches are strongly associated with student characteristics and postsecondary outcomes. Our hope is that understanding the three approaches to arts learning will inform how we strategize for more equitable access to the arts during high school.
For the 2006–2007 At-Risk 6th-grade cohort, more fine arts enrollment in middle school was correlated with more positive high school outcomes for students in the following areas: academic persistence (i.e., graduating, completing the GED, or maintaining enrollment beyond their expected graduation date), attendance, standardized achievement tests in math and reading, and discipline.