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Engagement in culture and sport
This page contains the findings of systematic reviews undertaken within the EPPI-Centre for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. The 'Case' Drivers, Impacts and Value work is the largest single piece of policy research published for culture and sport. Comprising three different strands it is the most comprehensive piece of work in this field, assessing a huge range of research and data, setting the foundations for evidence-based policy making.

Factors that predict engagement [1]

A number of trends emerge across the models of different engagement types, including:

  • Increasing age predicts increasing cultural engagement but diminishing engagement in sport.
  • Self-reported childhood experience of engaging in all types of culture is positively associated with engaging in culture as an adult.
  • Those with higher levels of education are more likely to engage in culture.
  • Those of higher social economic status are more likely to attend arts events, visit a heritage site, or visit a museum.
  • Media consumption is positively associated with engagement in culture and sport.
  • Men are much more likely than women to participate in sport, but less likely to attend arts events, visit a museum, or visit a library.
  • Families are more likely than non-families to visit heritage and libraries.

Learning impacts for young people participating in the arts: an in-depth review [2]

When compared to non-participation in structured arts activities:

  • Participation in structured arts activities improves academic attainment in secondary school aged students. Participation in such activities could increase their academic attainment scores by 1% and 2%, on average, above that of non-participants (all other things being equal).
  • Participation in structured arts activities improves pre-school and primary school aged children's early literacy skills. This result is based on narrative numerical synthesis and thus we are unable to estimate the size of any positive effect.
  • Participation in structured arts activities improves young people's cognitive abilities (based on various measures of intelligence). Participation of young people in such activities could increase their cognitive abilities test scores by 16% and 19%, on average, above that of non-participants (all other things being equal).
  • Participation in structured arts activities improves young people's transferable skills. Participation of young people in such activities could increase their transferable skills test scores by 10% and 17%, on average, above that of non-participants (all other things being equal).

What is promising:

There is insufficient yet promising evidence about the impacts of participation in structured arts activities on primary school aged children's academic attainment. The three studies that investigated this question were insufficiently similar to combine using meta-analysis. However, the preponderance of evidence was positive.

What is unknown:

There is insufficient evidence about the impacts of participation in structured arts activities on young people's responses to bullying situations. However, this does not mean that these impacts do not occur.
There is insufficient evidence about the impacts of structured arts participation and/or attendance on young people's self-protection skills. However, this does not mean that these impacts do not occur.

Learning impacts for young people participating in sport [3]

Young people's participation in organised sport improves their numeracy skills. The pooled estimate of effect (g= 0.19) indicates that students' participation in sporting activities could increase numeracy scores, on average, by 8% above that of non participants (all other things being equal).

Underachieving young people who participate in extra-curricular learning activities linked to organised sport improve their numeracy and transferable skills. These findings apply to both primary and secondary aged school children. The evidence about the effect of this intervention is drawn from Playing for Success and the caveats associated with this study have been noted. It is our judgement, however, that the overall pattern of results suggests that the programme does have beneficial impacts.

1. Numeracy skills for underachieving young people : The pooled estimate of effect (g= 0.80) indicates that students' participation in extra-curricular learning activities linked to organised sport could increase numeracy scores, on average, by 29% above that of non participants (all other things being equal).

2. Transferable skills for underachieving young people: The pooled estimate of effect (g= 0.33) indicates that students' participation in extra-curricular learning activities linked to organised sport could increase their performance on transferable skill tests, on average, by between 12% and 16% above that of non participants (all other things being equal).

There is insufficient evidence about the impacts of any other forms of sports participation. However this does not mean that other interventions are ineffective.

References

  1. Understanding the drivers, impact and value of engagement in culture and sport: an over-arching summary of the research (2010)
  2. Understanding the impact of engagement in culture and sport: a systematic review of the learning impacts for young people (2010)
  3. Understanding the drivers, impacts and value of engagement: technical report for the systematic review (2010)

 

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