Want Higher Math and Science Test Scores? Put on Your Headphones
From space travel to Silicon Valley, America has always been an innovative, progress forward country. Further, most of the world’s best Universities are found in our nation, as well as the biggest corporations, eager to hire their recent grads. So how come our children are posting flat test scores in science and math? Should we be concerned other nations, such as Singapore, are seeing test scores skyrocket, while ours remain flat? Of course we should.
With innovation comes the need for high-skilled workers. From engineers to statisticians, companies are beginning to rely on other countries to supply the brainpower where the U.S. lacks. To be fair, this isn’t a bad or unnatural thing, since globalization is the driving force of today’s economy, but it raises concerns in the realm of competitiveness. And where there is concern, there is debate.
In an effort to pinpoint the ‘where and why’ American students aren’t learning as fast and efficiently as their contemporaries, schools have given (arguably) math and science most of their attention. Pressure is the keyword, as districts demand test scores are the main focus. Like a business consultant hired to eliminate overhead, schools are beginning to push subjects like music and art farther and farther down the priority list.
In Music Education for Creativity, Not A Tool For Test Scores, author Sarah McCammon reports that music educators are pleading music’s untestable benefits as the reason their classes should remain relevant. In her words,
“some advocates say that rhetoric is missing the point and overlooking the virtues of music that can’t be tested.”
Few would argue music isn’t important to development, but it’s difficult to see, on paper that is, how it improves test scores. But what about that other buzzword, the one that usually describes the great minds who started the corporations hiring all the engineers? That’s right, creativity. Undoubtedly a key component in competitiveness, and a staple of America’s economic dominance, creativity is difficult to test for, but vital for success. That’s why many music teachers are arguing their classes should remain high on the priority list. Having a well-rounded education, including the arts, helps a student approach math, sciences, and life in general with more creativity and depth.
All of this is good and well, but is it a bit of an overreaction? Are schools really putting music on the back burner? Some would argue no. For instance, the NPR article suggests schools, in general, aren’t ditching the pianos and violins so soon. To illustrate, Russ Whitehurst,
“points to a 2010 U.S. Department of Education report that found 94 percent of public elementary schools offer some kind of music classes, even if hours are being cut back in many places.”
As creativity becomes a focus for schools, especially higher education, there’s no surprise courses such as Stanford’s “Creativity: Music to My Ears” are becoming available to everyone, including non-musicians. Whether or not more or less music is the answer, the problem of America’s science and math drought is real and troubling.
Struggling With Math and Science?
As global competitiveness continues to grow, it’s crucial students don’t get too far behind in such topics. Luckily, we’re here to help. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your math and science courses, don’t hesitate to contact us today. Whether you’re from Los Angeles, Orange County, or San Diego, we’ll match you with the perfect tutor. From Pre-Algebra to Physics, we’ve got your back.