Will Participation in a Music Pullout Program Bring
Down My Child's Grades?Research says NO.
Groff(1963) was the pioneer in studying the effects of music pullout programs on academic
achievement. His study determined that participating instrumental music students did not differ
in total academic achievement from non-participating students despite absence from class.
Freidman (1960) studied the effect of instrumental students missing regular classroom
instruction in reading and mathematics. The researcher concluded that the loss of regular
classroom time did not hinder achievement on the Stanford Achievement test. In fact, a
significant difference in reading scores was observed, favoring instrumental musicians.
Kvet(1985) compared reading, language, and math achievement of sixth graders and found "no
significant difference in achievement between students who are excused from regular classroom
activities for the study of instrumental music and students not studying instrumental music."
Circle(1983), music supervisor of the Shawnee Mission School District, determined that test
scores of the instrumental students were higher in both math and in reading. After comparing
scores of participants and non-participants on the Iowa Test of Basic Skills, Circle believes that
participation in the music program increases students' achievement.
Holmes(1989) conducted a three-year comparison study of fifth grade participants' and nonparticipants'
scores on the Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills. Holmes found that music
students continually surpassed their non-participant peers in academic achievement.
Dreyden(1992) studied fifth grade students' achievement on the Comprehensive Tests of Basic
Skills in Kansas. When comparing students involved in a music pullout program to students not
involved in the music pullout program, the results showed that "excusing elementary students
from regular classroom activities does not negatively affect achievement in math or reading."
(Dreyden, p. 72)
Wallick (1995) compared Ohio Proficiency Test Results of fourth graders participating in a
string pullout program to those of matched ability who were not participating in the music
pullout program. The results favored string students' achievement in reading and in citizenship
Akin, Jeane. 1987. A Study of Evidence That Music Education is a Positive Factor in K-8 Student Academic
Achievement. Available: http://geocities.com/Athens/2405/pullouts.html [1999, July 7]
Circle, David. 1989. Pulling Your Child for Music Lessons Does Not Hurt Grades. Available:
http://geocities.com/Athens/2405/pullouts.html [1999, July 7]
Davis, Holly S. Effects of Absence and Cognitive Skills Index on Various Achievement Indicators. A Study of ISTEP
Scores, Discrepancies, and School-Based Math and English Tests of 1997-1998 Seventh Grade Students at Sarah
Scott Middle School, Terre Haute, Indiana. (ERIC Document Reproduction Services No. ED 423 302).
Dryden, Susannah. 1992. The Impact of Instrumental Music Instruction on the Academic Achievement of Fifth
Grade Students. (ERIC Document Reproduction Services No. ED 368 634).
Friedman, B. 1960. An Evaluation of the Achievement in Reading and Arithmetic of Pupils in Elementary School
Instrumental Music Classes. Dissertation Abstracts International.
Gillespie, Robert. 1992, Spring. The Elementary Pull-Out Crisis: Using Research Effectively. American String
Teachers Journal. Available: http://www.menc.org/publications/articles/academic/asta.htm [1999, July 7]
Holmes, David Monroe. 1997. An Examination of Fifth Grade Instrumental Music Programs and Their
Relationships With Music and Academic Achievement (Band). Dissertation from University of Washington.
Kestrom, Joyce M. The Unstopped Power of Music: Its Role in the Curriculum and Its Effect on Academic
Achievement. NASSP Bulletin, April 1998, pp. 34-43.
Kvet, Edward J. Excusing Elementary School Students from Regular Classroom Activities for the Study of
Instrumental Music: The Effects on Sixth Grade Reading, Language, and Mathematics Achievement. Journal of
Research in Music Education, Spring 1985, pp. 45-54.
Rauscher, Frances, et al. 1995, May-June. Does Music Make You Smarter? PTA Today, pp. 8-9.
Wallick, Michael. 1995. A Comparison Study of the Ohio Proficiency Test Results Between Fourth-Grade Spring
Pullout Students and Those of Matched Ability. Available:
http://www.menc.org/prublications/articles/academic/wallick.htm [1999, July 7]
Zanutto, Daniel Raymond. 1997. The Effects of Instrumental Music Instruction on Academic Achievement (High
School Students). Dissertation from University of California-Davis.