Dara Shifrer

Date of Award

Spring 6-4-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Sociology



Physical Description

1 online resource (vi, 43 pages)


Arts -- Study and teaching (Secondary), Mathematical ability, Students -- Economic conditions, Students -- Social conditions




Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) educational achievement is vital to economic competitiveness in the United States and abroad. Despite a concerted effort, the US lags well behind many similarly developed nations. Research suggests that the integration of fine arts education into traditional STEM curriculum (STEAM) boosts academic achievement in STEM subjects and closes gaps between low- and high-socioeconomic status students. Justifications for STEAM programs are based, however, on the unexamined assumption, for one, that fine arts courses instill creative and critical thinking skills that can be transferred to STEM subjects. The present study explores the impact of taking fine arts courses on mathematics achievement in high school. Using the High School Longitudinal Study of 2009 and multi-level regression modeling, this study provides evidence that credit accumulation in fine arts courses relates positively to advancing past Algebra II in high school. Additionally, this estimated impact is much greater in magnitude for low-SES students than for their high-SES peers.

Persistent Identifier