Survey Of Theatre Education In United States High Schools 2012

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'"-- 70-6.& t /6.#&3 PUBLISHED BY THE EDUCATIONAL THEATRE ASSOCIATION2012 Survey of Theatre Education in United States High SchoolsEducational Theatre Association / Utah State University

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Fall 2012Volume 24, Number 1EDITOR James PalmariniASSOCIATE EDITOR Julie York CoppensASSISTANT EDITOR Harper LeeDIRECTOR OF PUBLICATIONS Donald A. CorathersTECHNICAL THEATRE EDITOR Dana TaylorGUEST DESIGNER Janice StentzGRAPHICS SPECIALIST Susan DoremusWEB EDITOR James TalkingtonADVERTISING MANAGER Emma GreerSpecial Issue: Survey of Theatre Educationin United States High Schools, 2011-2012CONTENTSTHE EDUCATIONAL THEATRE ASSOCIATION GOVERNING BOARDGloria McIntyre, presidentJay Seller, vice presidentMatt ConoverDebbie CorbinJ. Jason DaunterStephen GreggGai JonesKaren PionkeKen WashingtonJulie Woffington, executive directorTEACHING THEATRE is published quarterly by theEducational Theatre Association, 2343 Auburn Avenue,Cincinnati, Ohio 45219; telephone (513) 421-3900. TheEducational Theatre Association is a national non-profitarts service organization dedicated to the advancementof educational theatre. It is recognized as tax-exemptunder Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Codeand is thus eligible to accept charitable contributions.8121316212326EDITORIAL MATTERS: Contact the editors at (513) 4213900, or e-mail, or writeto Teaching Theatre, 2343 Auburn Ave., Cincinnati,OH 45219. We cannot be responsible for the return ofunsolicited manuscripts.ADVERTISING: Contact Emma Greer at(513) 977-5536, or e-mail Teaching Theatre is published formembers of the Educational Theatre Association. Aportion of the annual membership fee goes toward aone-year subscription. Library subscriptions are availablefor 34 per year.31CHANGE OF ADDRESS: Send old and new address andenclose mailing label.A survey of school theatre by Matt OmastaA landscape study of theatre education inUnited States high schools44Educational program modelsPurpose and impact of theatre programsTheatre faculty and staffTheatre arts currriculaPlay productionConcluding thoughtsResearch matters by James PalmariniTheatre education needs more than opinionsGood news, bad news by Dawn M. EllisWhat the survey results might say to the students wehope to reachTheatre finds a way by Johnny SaldañaQuestions and some answers about the 2012 survey 2012 by the Educational Theatre AssociationCOVER ART AND INSIDE DESIGN:Janice StentzPHOTOS: R. Bruhn, Don Corathers, and Susan DoremusTEACHING THEATRE 5

come here. go everywhere.UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF THEATREILLINOISTHEATREtheatre.fsu.edu850.644.7234s 2)'/2/53 42!).).' "&! !CTING FEATURING 4ONY !WARD WINNER ANIEL 3ULLIVAN AND A FACULTY OF WORKING PROFESSIONALS As one of the oldest, largest, and most successful theatre programs in thenation, the School of Theatre at FSU prepares students with the skills tosucceed, the strength to lead, and the character to make a difference in the arts.INDIANA UNIVERSITYMA/Ph.D. Theatre Studies MFA Technical ProductionMFA Acting MFA Costume Design MFA DirectingMFA Theatre Management MS Theatre EducatorsBFA Music Theatre BFA Acting BA TheatreB.F.A. in Musical Theatre15 Productions, year-rounds #2%!4)6% /00/245.)4)%3 "&! #OSTUME ESIGN 3CENE ESIGN3CENIC 4ECHNOLOGY ,IGHTING ESIGN 3OUND ESIGN AND 3TAGE-ANAGEMENT s ). )6) 5!,):% 345 9 "&! IN 4HEATRE 3TUDIES WITH FOCUS TAILOREDTO STUDENT INTEREST s &!.4!34)# &!#),)4)%3 3TATE OF THE !RT RANNERT #ENTER FOR THE0ERFORMING !RTS Founding MemberNAST AccreditedWWW THEATRE ILLINOIS EDU-EMBER 5 24!B.A. in Theatre and DramaTeaching CertificateMany performance

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of School TheatreA landscape study of theatre educationin United States high schoolsBY MATT OMASTADURING THE 2011-12 school year the Educa-tional Theatre Association (EdTA) and UtahState University (USU) partnered to conducta study assessing the state of theatre artseducation in United States high schools.Building on the foundation of research laidby previous studies conducted in 1970 and1991, the project surveyed theatre educatorsand secondary school administrators nationwide regarding a broad range of topics.The 1970 survey, A Survey of the Status ofTheatre in United States High Schools,1 wascommissioned by the U.S. Department ofHealth, Education, and Welfare and conducted by Joseph Peluso of Seton Hall University. In 1991, EdTA conducted a similar nationwide survey, Theatre Education in UnitedStates High Schools,2 authored by staff member Kent Seidel, using the earlier survey as abaseline of comparison. The present studybuilds on and references data from theseearlier works throughout.3TEACHING THEATRE 9

Participants provided data abouttheir curricular theatre programs; playproduction activities; student and parental involvement; faculty demographics, training, and employment conditions; performance facilities; productionresources and new technology used;and program finances. Teachers andadministrators detailed their views onthe purposes, roles, and values of educational theatre and drama. Questionsprobed the types of social issues thattheatre educators explored with theirstudents through coursework and pro-duction experiences, and discussed thechallenges that can arise when engagedin such work. Like its predecessors,the survey offers a snapshot of theatreeducation activities in high schoolsthroughout the country, allowing us tobegin exploring how secondary schooltheatre has both evolved and remainedthe same over time.4 While many of thetopics explored were addressed in the1970 and 1991 studies, the new surveyalso covered new ground, examiningthe effects of technology on theatreeducators and their students.This article reports national-leveldescriptive statistics5 based on surveyscompleted by teachers and administrators from over 1,200 U.S. high schools,exploring issues they face and identifying emerging trends in practice (see thesidebar below for an overview of thesurvey methodology). The study summary provided here is not, however,a fully comprehensive report fromwhich definitive claims can be madeabout every school in the nation. Whileall public schools in the U.S. that metcertain criteria were invited to partici-How the survey was conductedANY WELL-CONDUCTED study is onlyas reliable as its methodology. Thisbrief overview offers a summaryof how the 2012 Survey of Theatrein United States High Schools wasconducted. Readers are encouragedto review the full methodology reportat to familiarizethemselves with the study’s designand limitations, particularly if they areinterested in using the data as part ofa research project.Study design and methodologyThe broad question the surveysought to address was: “What is thestate of theatre education in U.S.high schools today?” A self-administered hybrid mail/online surveywas the most straightforward way toexplore this question, given the largepopulation of schools nationwide,the existence of two prior surveystudies addressing similar questions,and available resources. The studywas originally designed to employ arandomized, stratified sampling design; however, based on early returnrates, the research team amended thedesign to employ a modified census methodology.1 Ultimately, everypublic high school in the fifty UnitedStates and the District of Columbiawith a total enrollment of at leasttwo hundred students was invited toparticipate.210 TEACHING THEATREThe surveys replicated some questions from those administered in 1970and 1991 studies, but several questions were modified or removed,and new questions were added. Tohelp ensure construct validity, surveyquestions were assessed using threemethods: expert review, modifiedcognitive interviews, and field pretests with theatre teachers and schooladministrators.3 Copies of the surveyinstruments are available online.Data collection began in November 2011 and concluded in June2012. Though the exact date anygiven school was invited to participate varied, all data was collectedduring the 2011-12 school year. Invitations were sent to the principal ofeach school through e-mail and/orthe U.S. Postal Service. 4 Each invitation explained that it consisted oftwo self-administered surveys: oneto be completed by the school principal or her/his designee, and thesecond, by a school faculty or staffmember who was involved withtheatre courses or activities. Participants either entered their responsesdirectly into an online survey system5 or by returning a hard copy ofthe survey to the research team atUtah State University. All surveysreceived by mail were processedusing a double-data entry system tohelp protect against errors.Participation, non-response, andrisk of generalizationIn an ideal world, research projectswould be able to evaluate every caserelevant to the study (for example, itwould have been ideal if every singlehigh school theatre teacher in thecountry completed a survey for thisstudy), but this is almost never thecase. Many studies therefore choose arepresentative sample from which todraw conclusions about the total population. A sample is generally considered representative of a population ifit is similar to the population in manyor most important ways. The “statistics” in these studies describe only thecases actually included in a sample(e.g. “Forty-five percent of teacherswho completed surveys indicated thatthey prefer vanilla ice cream.”), whilepopulation “parameters” describe theentire population (e.g. “Forty-five percent of all teachers in America prefervanilla ice cream.”) Sample statisticsare often “generalized” to make inferences about population parameters,though generalization always involvessome degree of error, as no sample isever exactly the same as a population(at least when humans are concerned).Many different types of error can comeinto play; for example, “sampling error” occurs when the cases in a studyare, in fact, quite different from thosein the population at large.

pate in the study, only some schoolsopted to share information.6 A degreeof caution must therefore be exercisedwhen interpreting the data. Despitethis limitation, the study offers a wealthof information drawn from the greatest number of schools to participatein a national theatre education surveyto date. It can help theatre educators, school administrators, and othersinvested in theatre education betterunderstand the unique circumstancesof their individual programs within thebroader context of educational theatretaking place throughout the countrytoday.The data presented here includesonly the most fundamental facts, figures, and analysis of the survey; itwill take time and additional studyto present a more comprehensivereport. Given the space limitations inthis printed edition of Teaching Theatre, supplemental survey content isavailable online at issue also marks the premiereof the web-based Teaching TheatreDigital (see the sidebar on page 29for more information). Additionaldata and analysis related to the studywill be posted online in the comingmonths.Because this study employed acensus methodology, it is not susceptible to sampling error. It is, however,potentially affected by non-responsebias; of the roughly 13,000 schoolsinvited to participate in the presentstudy, about 10 percent6 ultimatelyparticipated. Any study with less thana 100 percent response rate is potentially affected by non-response bias.However counterintuitive as it mayseem, research has demonstrated thatthere is not necessarily any relationship between non-response rate andnon-response bias, and in fact, insome cases a higher response rateactually increases non-response bias,rather than decreasing it.7 Responserate is ultimately less important thanrepresentativeness—if the schools thatparticipated are significantly differentfrom the schools that did not participate based on the variables beingmeasured. In other words, good representativeness makes it possible to generalize the data and make inferencesabout the total population, while nonresponse bias potentially does not.A number of methods can be usedto assess the potential non-responsebias in a study. Several of these tools(including wave analysis and respondent/non-respondent analysis) will beused to do more in-depth analyses ofthe 2012 survey, the results of whichwill be posted online when they arecomplete. Regarding the data presented in this print report of the study,readers are cautioned that the participating schools are not necessarilyrepresentative of the total populationof U.S. high schools that offer theatreprograms. When considering knownvariables (data publicly available), theschools are likely representative insome ways (e.g. student demographics such as enrollment by race/ethnicity and gender), but they are not likelyrepresentative in other ways (e.g. student socioeconomic status). Schoolswith relatively high enrollment ofstudents eligible for free or reducedprice lunch programs are likely underrepresented, as are schools located inthe southeastern region of the nation.Conversely, schools with a relativelylow enrollment of students eligiblefor free/reduced lunch programs, andschools located in all other regions ofthe country, are likely over-represented. Until the further analyses currentlyunderway are completed, however,it is not possible to say what impact(if any) these variables will have onstudy-related variables.—M.O.3. See Robert Groves, et al., Survey Methodology (Hoboken: Wiley, 2009), 259-264 for details.Expert reviewers included faculty experts intheatre, education, and psychology, as well asa team of theatre education professionals fromthe EdTA central office. Field pretests wereconducted with a small group of theatre teachers and secondary school principals who alsoprovided retrospective think-aloud feedback.4. Schools included in the original samplewere initially contacted by USPS; schoolsadded as part of the census were initially contacted by e-mail when a principal e-mail address was publicly available. When e-mail wasnot available, or if the initial e-mail contact didnot result in a response, schools were thencontacted by USPS. Non-responders receivedthree follow-up invitations, at least two ofwhich were delivered by USPS.5. The commercial survey program Zoomerang (, now part ofSurvey Monkey, was used to collect data fromparticipants.6. The actual response rate (as it is traditionallyunderstood), is likely higher than 10 percent,however. While approximately 13,000 schoolsincluded in the 2009-10 CCD were invited toparticipate, many of those schools were nolonger in operation during the 2011-12 schoolyear; others had moved and did not receiveforwarded mail, and still others were not actually high schools but were misclassified in theCCD (the research team learned that the entities classified as public “high schools” included,among others, middle schools and elementaryschools that did not enroll any high-schoollevel students, as well as education consultingorganizations that partnered with schools butwere not actually schools). As of the releasedate of this article, post-hoc analysis is continuing in an effort to identify all such cases in order to better estimate the participation rate.7. See Groves et al., 183-191.Endnotes1. Schools that participated in the originalsample design, but would not have been eligible for selection using the census design, areexcluded from the present analysis.2. See endnote six of the main article.This study was reviewed by Utah StateUniversity’s Institutional Review Board(IRB) and granted exempt status under federal guidelines [45 CFR Part46.101(b)]. The study was also reviewed and approved by school districtIRBs throughout the country as pereach district’s research authorizationprocess.TEACHING THEATRE 11

PART ONEEducational Theatre Program ModelsSECONDARY SCHOOL THEATRE programsexist in multiple forms throughout thenation. A limited number of schoolsoffer comprehensive, arts-based modelsof education that place theatre at thecenter of the curriculum, employingmultiple specialists and other educators who use theatre to teach a variety of subjects. Others follow moretraditional models while still offeringrobust theatre programs consisting ofmultiple classes in performance, design/technology, playwriting, or artsmanagement, while simultaneouslyproducing an array of faculty andstudent-directed musicals, dramas, oneacts, plays for young audiences, andeven student-written work on a regular basis throughout the year. Manyschools feature more modest programs,perhaps offering a single curricular theatre course and producing one or twoshows each semester. Some schoolsinclude no theatre courses for credit,but do offer students a variety of extracurricular programs such as theatrecompetitions, play production, dramaclubs, or student theatre honor societies. Conversely, some schools confinetheatre opportunities exclusively to theChart 1: Percentage of schools reporting availability of theatre courses and extracurricular activitiesStudies drew from different populations of schools; comparisons over time should be made with caution. See Peluso (1970), Seidel (1991), and the methodology reportposted on TEACHING THEATRE

regular school day. And of course, others offer no theatre programs at all. Allof these program models are employedby different schools in this study; eachoffers students and teachers unique opportunities and challenges.About 70 percent of participatingschools required students to take atleast one course in the arts (e.g. music,theatre, visual art, film, or dance) duringtheir enrollment. School administratorsestimated that the average7 percentage of students from these institutionsactually taking at least one arts courseduring their high school years was approximately 76 percent.8Seventy-nine percent of schools offered at least one course in theatreduring the regular school day duringthe 2011-12 school year, which maysuggest that theatre course availabilityhas increased over the past twenty toforty years9 (Chart 1). Further, on average, administrators from schools thatoffered theatre classes estimated that approximately 23 percent of their schools’students took at least one theatre courseduring their enrollment.10Just under 95 percent indicated thatthey offered theatre-related extracurricular activities such as play production.It is difficult to compare the availabilityof such programs over time; each studydrew from a different population andemployed slightly different terminologyto ask about such programs. However,the available data suggest that such programs may be more abundant now thanin prior years; 79 percent of respondentsto the 1991 study indicated that theirschools offered “out-of-class theatreactivities,” and in 1970, 63 percent ofschools reported having a “drama clubor similar activity.”11PART TWOPurpose and Impact of Theatre ProgramsTHEATRE TEACHERS and school administrators both shared their opinionsregarding how significant a role various factors played in maintaining theirschools’ theatre programs (Chart2). While responses varied, theatreeducators may be encouraged by thefinding that the majority of all respondents rated every factor as being“significant” or “very significant.” Asin previous studies, teachers and administrators generally rated factors thatinvolved developing inter- and intrapersonal intelligences12 highly. Thehighest-rated factor for both groups(in all three studies) was “to enablestudents to grow in self-confidenceand self-understanding.” Improvingstudents’ interpersonal skills and creativity ranked second and third mostsignificant for all respondents. Leastimportant to both groups were factorsrelated to student behavior such asreducing anti-social behavior and low-ering truancy/dropout rates. Teachersgenerally rated each trait more highlythan did administrators.When asked to rate how important arole their school theatre program playedin developing various skills and competencies, teachers and administrators emphatically agreed that theatre played astrong role in developing students’ selfconfidence. On average, both groupsrated the importance of theatre in developing self-confidence at 3.9 out of 4.0.Both groups ranked interpersonal skills(communication and collaboration) andintrapersonal skills (self-discipline, selfunderstanding, and creativity) highly(Chart 3). Most respondents also indicated that theatre played an importantrole in developing the skills necessaryto work with others to solve problems(leadership, problem solving/criticalthinking, and social/cross-cultural skills).While the majority of respondentsfelt theatre played an important orvery important role in developing allof the skills listed, relatively fewerparticipants felt that theatre played animportant role in developing management/administrative abilities, medialiteracy, and information technologyskills. This may stem in part fromperceptions of theatre as a live, unmediated art form, despite the rapidexpansion of digital technology usedin almost all aspects of the field. Italso suggests that teachers and administrators may see theatre playing astronger developmental role for students involved in performance-basedcapacities, as opposed to those working as stage managers or in front-ofhouse or some technical roles that donot overtly promote self-confidence.Nevertheless, the tasks associatedwith these roles still demand that students communicate and collaborateeffectively with other creative teammembers.TEACHING THEATRE 13

Relative value of theatre artsSchool administrators were asked tocompare theatre to other student activities at their school such as sports,music groups, yearbook, and serviceclubs, ranking theatre’s standing interms of how time-intensive, expensive,profitable, and generally important itwas (Chart 4).While many theatre educators mayagree with the 82 percent of administrators who indicated that theatre wasat least “somewhat” time-intensive/in the top 50 percent of most timeintensive activities at their schools, theymight be surprised to note that manyadministrators indicated that theatrewas less expensive than other activities;only 21 percent indicated theatre waseither “very” or “extremely” expensive.However, administrators also generallyconsidered theatre programs to be lessprofitable than other school activities,with a clear majority (58 percent) indicating it was “not very” or “not at all”profitable.Finally, administrators were asked torank how relatively “important overall”theatre activities were to all students;the term “important” was deliberatelyundefined. Theatre fared well in thiscategory, with 82 percent indicatingthat theatre was in the upper 50 percent of activities in terms of overallimportance, and only a small minority(just under 5 percent) not consideringit important “at all.”Chart 2: “How important a factor do you feel each of these reasons is in maintaining a theatre program atyour school?”Comparison of percentage of administrators’ and teachers ratings for each factor was created using a 4-point scale. Respondents selecting “Don’t know/no opinion” were excludedfrom analysis.14 TEACHING THEATRE

Chart 3: “How important a role do you feel your theatre program plays in teaching and strengtheningthe following personal qualities and social/workforce skills in students at your school?”Percentages of administrators and teachers selecting each response on a 4-point scale. Respondents selecting “Don’t know/no opinion” were excluded from analysis.Chart 4: Administrator comparisons between theatre and other student activities.Average (mean) responses from administrators on a five-point scale (n 835).TEACHING THEATRE 15

PART THREETheatre Faculty and StaffTHE THEATRE TEACHERS who participat-ed in this study were demographicallysimilar to those participating in the1991 study; the majority of respondentsto both were white women in theirthirties or forties who were married orin domestic partnerships.13 Althoughtheatre teacher demographics (Chart5A) are similar to those of twentyyears ago, student demographicshave changed considerably since then(Chart 5B). The 1991 study reported a21-point gap between the percentageof white, non-Hispanic theatre teachers(97 percent)14 and white, non-Hispanicstudents (76 percent). When comparing the percentage of white teachersin the present study (93-96 percent,depending on how multiracial teachers are classified) to the percentage ofwhite students enrolled at their schools(61 percent), an even wider gap equalto 32-36 percentage points is revealed.The gap between student and teachergender is also considerable; a slightmajority of students enrolled at theparticipating schools were male (51percent), but only 37 percent of participating theatre teachers were male.Employment statusMost teachers were employed full-time(90 percent), with almost 9 percentworking part-time and less than 1 percent serving as volunteers. Full-timetheatre teachers reported working anaverage of fifty-five hours per weekduring the regular school year,15 whilepart-time teachers generally workedhours associated with full-time employment.16 While many participants16 TEACHING THEATRE(40 percent) indicated that they wereoriginally hired primarily to teach theatre courses at their school, a sizeableminority (34 percent) were not, but assumed theatre responsibilities later intheir careers. Twenty-six percent werehired in part to teach theatre, but primarily to fulfill other responsibilities atthe school.On average, slightly less than halfof the classes taught by participantswere theatre courses (49 percent).When only considering those whoteach at least one theatre class (e.g.,eliminating those whose theatreinvolvement was exclusively extracurricular), the average percentageof courses taught was 57 percent.Considering the average percentageis misleading, however, as relativelyfew teachers reported teaching approximately half of their class load intheatre. Among teachers who teach atleast some theatre classes during theregular school day, the most common(mode) percentage of theatre coursestaught reported was actually 100 percent; approximately one-third of participants taught theatre exclusively.A roughly equal group indicated thattheatre classes comprised 25 percentor less of their total teaching load eachyear, with the remaining one-third distributed between 25-99 percent.CompensationIt is difficult to compare teacher compensation given the differences in costof living and other factors in variousregions of the country. Just under halfof the nation’s theatre educators whoparticipated in the study earned basesalaries of 30- 49,000 annually, wellbelow the national average salary forhigh school teachers in 2010-11, whichwas 56,350.17 Less than 2 percentearned under 30,000 annually, whileless than 1 percent earned six-figuresalaries. The average (mean and median) salary range was 40,000-49,999.Most teachers (86 percent) received stipends, in addition to their base salaries,for extracurricular theatre work. Ofthese teachers, most (73 percent) werepaid an annual stipend (usually 2,000 3,000),18 approximately 25 percentwere compensated on a per-show basis(usually around 2,000),19 and about 2percent were paid an hourly wage.Teacher qualificationsAdministrators were asked to selectfrom a list of thirteen predefined qualifications they considered to be theminimum when hiring for a theatreposition (Chart 6). Only three criteria were selected by the majority ofadministrators as “minimum qualifications” for a theatre teaching position.The first two (a strong interest/desireto teach theatre and effective overallteaching abilities) require no training in theatre. Experience teachingtheatre was considered a minimumrequirement by less than two-thirds ofresponding administrators. The arguably most rigorous qualifications (amaster’s degree in theatre or theatreeducation and professional theatreexperience) were the least-often selected as minimum qu B.F.A. in Musical Theatre B.A. in Theatre and Drama Teaching Certificate 15 Productions, year-round Many performance opportunities 850.644.7234 As one of the oldest, largest, and most successful theatre programs in the nation, the School of Theatre at FSU prepares students with the skills to

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