The Effects Music and Arts Programs Have on ADD/ADHD Students' Behavior and Academic Performance

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Cigarroa, Shani
ADD; ADHD; Education; Music; Arts; Music and arts programs
thesis / dissertation description
Purpose: The purpose of this mixed methods study was to examine the perceptions of elementary general education teachers on the behavior and achievement of fourth and fifth grade students with ADD/ADHD, who participate in either an afterschool or pullout music and arts program. An additional purpose was to determine what extent assessment scores and attendance rates change for students with ADD/ADHD prior to receiving music and arts instruction and after receiving music and arts instruction.Methodology: This mixed methods study utilized a triangulation mixed method design, combining qualitative phenomenology and quantitative nonexperimental secondary data analysis. The primary source of qualitative data collection was semi-structured, open-ended interviews. The secondary source of data collection was archived records of assessment scores and attendance. Qualitative data was coded, themes were identified, and the interrater reliability process was employed. The study also employed descriptive and inferential analysis to analyze the quantitative data. Triangulation of data was secured through on-site observations during school performances.Findings: Analysis of both qualitative and quantitative data showed that ADD/ADHD students enjoy coming to school for music and arts, are more focused, motivated, and involved in their learning. ADD/ADHD students are more social and have less difficulty communicating with or in front of their peers, since involvement with a music and arts program. Students are being responsible for their work habits and taking ownership for their own learning. The study found an increase on student achievement for district and state wide assessments, and a decrease in the amount of absences.Conclusions: Themes identified through the qualitative data clearly support the positive impact music and arts have on students with ADD/ADHD. This makes it crucial to find avenues of support for music and arts on a more consistent basis.Recommendations: It is recommended that four areas of further research were recommended to increase the depth of knowledge related to the research topic: 1) Target population to include grades K-fifth, 2) Number of office referrals received & variance in teacher tolerance, 3) Parent perceptions, and 4) Include private, charter, STEAM, and secondary level schools.