It’s CSAP time!!! In Colorado, all public school students, grades 3 through 10, are preparing for their annual Colorado Student Assessment Program (CSAP) evaluations. Knowing that our Chorale students are diligently preparing for these and many other assessments, we want you to know that Chorale children may have an advantage over their classmates as a result of their choral training!
Since its founding, Chorale conductors have been keenly aware that a wonderful byproduct of the disciplined, yet nurturing training of young children to sing and perform at their best, is that Chorale members also learn amazing life lessons as well. Through the course of their training, Chorale children learn self confidence, they learn to work with their fellow choir members toward presenting a successful performance, they learn to manage their time, and many take on leadership roles in their schools. As I (Emily) watch children progress from Prep Choir to Concert Choir or Tour Choir and beyond, I am constantly amazed at the maturity that develops as these young performers take on more responsibility in their classrooms and as adults.
As someone who spends a lot of time communicating this on paper and in conversation with donors and the funding community for the past 15 years, I (Ann) had become increasingly aware that funders wanted more than anecdotal stories about how the Chorale develops children to not only be artistically excellent performers, but to be strong, confident people as well. Not only did funders have higher expectations for evidence of the Chorale’s influence on children and the adults they become, but we, on the Chorale staff, wanted to share what we’ve known for so many years with other stakeholders—parents, teachers, and the broader community.
As a result of an objective in the Chorale’s three-year strategic plan, and with funding from the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation, the Chorale hired an independent evaluation consultant to evaluate the effect Chorale training has on the behaviors of its members and those participating in the Education Program. Thus, the Chorale hired Stephanie Moxley, a professional evaluation consultant to design, implement and report on the results of a year-long evaluation between fall 2009 and spring 2010. The evaluation was conducted based on research from three renowned institutions, the Search Institute (www.search-institute.org), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (www.cdc.gov), and Chorus America (www.chorusamerica.org).
Those surveyed included: Prep Choir (surveyed at the beginning of the year and at the conclusion of the year); Chorale parents, adult alumni and high school alumni. The effectiveness of the Education Program was evaluated through in-person interviews with School Partnership teachers and Community Choir conductors.
We are delighted by the results!
Back to the CSAPs…. Here are just a few of the evaluation results that affirm Chorale training helps children do better in school:
- High school aged Chorale alumni perform better academically than other youth their age in both mathematics and language arts.
- Ninety-six percent (96%) of high school aged Chorale alumni report that they plan to attend a four-year college upon high school graduation, compared with 62% of the U.S. general youth population.
- Over 80% of high school aged Chorale alumni said that one of the ways in which the Chorale impacted their life was that their music/performance skills and overall music/fine arts appreciation increased.
Additionally, compared to the general public (as measured by Chorus America), adult Chorale alumni:
- display more attributes of good citizenship
- have much higher educational attainment
- volunteer in their community more often
- are more likely to vote in elections
- are more frequent patrons of the arts
- seventy‐nine percent (79%) of adult Chorale alumni made a civic or charitable financial contribution in the last two years.
The summary and complete results of the evaluation will be posted on the Chorale’s new website which will be operational in February. In the meantime, if you would like a copy of the Program Evaluation Summary and Key Findings, email Ann Irving at firstname.lastname@example.org to request an electronic copy.
Good luck on your tests Chorale members!