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Act Sing Play Evaluation

Young boy playing the violin
Researchers: Julia Griggs
Published: June 2015

Aim

We're independently evaluating whether giving 6 to 7 year olds music tuition in schools helps improve their maths and reading attainment.

We want to find out if it would be worth rolling this programme out more widely, and what would need to be taken into consideration for any future roll-out. 

Findings 

  • This evaluation provides no evidence that ASP-music workshops had a greater impact on maths or literacy attainment than ASP-drama workshops.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Although not necessarily typical, there were related concerns that some strings workshops struggled to keep students focussed on learning music.
  • 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.

Download the full report.

Methods

The project is a randomised controlled trial involving 900 pupils in 19 primary schools.

We're carrying out an Impact Evaluation based on the pupils' reading and maths scores and a Process Evaluation looking at the implementation of the arts programme and how it's working in schools. 

The project is funded by the Education Endowment Foundation, an independent grant-making charity which has awarded Creative Futures and the Institute of Education to provide a programme of arts tuition to children in Key Stage 1.

Find out more about the Act Sing Play programme by visiting the EEF website.