A project of the Afterschool Alliance.

21st Century Community Learning Centers Program: 2016-17 State Evaluation Report (Pennsylvania)

Year Published: 2018

A statewide evaluation of Pennsylvania’s 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) programs—based on performance outcomes and teacher surveys—found that students regularly participating in the program showed academic and behavioral improvements. Teachers reported that among students regularly participating in programs and in need of improvement, 68 percent improved their academic performance and 53 percent improved their behavior in class. Among students who had two consecutive years of data from the Pennsylvania statewide assessments, more than a fifth (22 percent) improved their performance from the previous year in reading and 13 percent in math. 

Program Name: Pennsylvania 21st Century Community Learning Centers

Program Description:

Pennsylvania’s 21st Century Community Learning Center program, which is federally-funded through the 21st CCLC Initiative, provides academic enrichment opportunities for children at high-poverty and low-performing schools. During the 2016-17 program year, 134 grantees operated 415 centers and served 37,793 students.   

Scope of the Evaluation: Statewide

Program Type: Summer, Afterschool

Location: Pennsylvania

Grade level: Elementary School, Middle School, High School

Program Demographics:

ll schools served by Pennsylvania’s 21st CCLC programs are Title I eligible, meaning more than 40 percent of students qualify for Free and Reduced Price Lunch.  

Program Website: https://21stcclc.center-school.org/

Evaluator: Allegheny Intermediate Unit

Evaluation Methods:

This evaluation uses data from the federal 21APR system, the Pennsylvania Implementation Survey, the Pennsylvania Operations Spreadsheet, and the Pennsylvania De-identified Student Data Spreadsheet, as well as data from the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Center for Schools and Communities. The Annual Performance Report collects program staffing information, program attendance, student characteristics, and student outcomes data. Student outcomes data, such as reading and math report cards grades, cross-year reading and math state assessment results, and teacher survey results, are reported for regularly attending program participants (30 or more days) through the de-identified student data spreadsheet.   

Evaluation Type: Non-experimental

Summary of Outcomes:

A statewide evaluation of Pennsylvania’s 21st CCLC programs—based on performance outcomes and teacher surveys—showed that students regularly participating in the program showed academic and behavioral improvements.

On the 2017 statewide assessments, more than a third of students in grades 3-8 and 11 (35 percent) scored in the “proficient” or “advanced” category in reading and a fifth (20 percent) in math. Among students who had two consecutive years of data from the Pennsylvania state assessment, 22 percent improved their performance in reading and 13 percent in math from the previous year. To show improvement, students had to make a positive movement of one or more levels on the performance scale, with performance levels ranging from “below basic” to “advanced.” Out of the students who scored at the “basic” or “below basic” levels in 2016, 12 percent improved to “proficient” or “advanced” in reading and 5 percent in math.

On report cards, 29 percent of students showed improvements (defined as a half a grade or more) from fall to spring in reading and math. When looking at levels of program participation, results show that the greater the days of program attendance, the greater the percentages of students showing improvements in reading. Data above is based on 2017 snapshot state assessment results. The results from 21APR can be found in Table 3 on page 71 of the report.

Teachers reported that among regularly attending students in need of improvement, 68 percent of students showed academic improvements. In addition, students regularly attending programs who were in need of improvement showed growth in other aspects of classroom performance such as classroom participation (64 percent), homework completion (67 percent), classroom attentiveness (60 percent), turning in homework on time (64 percent), coming to school motivated to learn (54 percent), and classroom behavior (53 percent).

School attendance results show that nearly 3 in 10 regular program participants (28 percent) increased school attendance, with 28 percent of students not needing to improve.