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Kenneth Elpus
Journal of Research in Music Education, 61(2), 175-194
Publication year: 2013

This study examined the college entrance examination scores of music and non-music students in the United States, drawing data from the restricted-use data set of the Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 (ELS), a nationally representative education study (N = 15,630) conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics. Analyses of high school transcript data from ELS showed that 1.127 million students (36.38% of the U.S. class of 2004) graduated high school having earned at least one course credit in music. Fixed-effects regression procedures were used to compare standardized test scores of these music students to their non-music peers while controlling for variables from the domains of demography, prior academic achievement, time use, and attitudes toward school. Results indicated that music students did not outperform non-music students on the SAT once these systematic differences had been statistically controlled. The obtained pattern of results remained consistent and robust through internal replications with another standardized math test and when disaggregating music students by type of music studied.