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A statewide evaluation of Indiana’s 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) programs finds that higher levels of participation in the afterschool program is associated with improved academic performance and school-related behaviors. More than 7 in 10 students with high program participation (90+ days) maintained a B or higher in math (73 percent) and English language arts (72 percent), higher than students attending less frequently. Students who attend 21st CCLC programs at high levels also have higher school day attendance and lower suspension rates. In addition, teachers report that a majority of students in need of improvement improved their academic performance (73 percent), class participation (64 percent), and classroom behavior (57 percent).
This statewide evaluation of Florida’s 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) programs during the 2018-19 school year finds that program participants improved in academic performance and positive school behaviors. On a scale that ranged from 1 (“declined”) to 3 (“improved”), teachers report that students improved their class behavior (3.0), motivation to learn (2.96), homework completion (2.95), and academic performance (2.91). Students agree that their programs help them to solve problems in a positive way (2.68) and get along with others (2.58). They also report that the programs have adults who care about them (2.8) and make them feel safe (2.77), with 1 corresponding to “not at all” and 3 corresponding to “definitely.”
This quasi-experimental study of Girls Inc.—a year-round program located in more than 350 cities for girls ages 5-18 that focuses on healthy living, academic enrichment, and building positive life skills—found that girls who participated in the program reported more positive attitudes and behaviors than a comparison group of girls across the 27 outcomes that were measured in the categories of healthy living, academic engagement and success, and life skills. Girls Inc. participants also had higher math achievement test scores and school-day attendance rates than matched non-participants. By year two of the program, 23 of the 27 outcomes were statistically significant in the positive direction, including outcomes such as school engagement; finding school fun in areas like reading, math, and science; getting excited about science; engaging in physical activity; leadership; positive relationships with adults; and postsecondary readiness.
A 2020 evaluation of the Oregon chapter of the Mathematics, Engineering & Science Achievement (MESA) afterschool program found positive impacts on academic achievement and high school graduation. Using a quasi-experimental design, researchers found that MESA students had higher science test scores and were significantly more likely to graduate from high school compared to their matched non-participating peers. Researchers wrote that, “This relationship suggests MESA participation has a tangible and important effect on high school graduation.”
This study of 1,364 families followed children from birth through age 15 to examine how early life experiences affect adolescent development. The study found that participation in both early child care and out-of-school time activities during middle childhood were linked to higher reading comprehension and math achievement at age 15, suggesting an additive effect. Additionally, participation in more organized activities in the elementary years was associated with higher vocabulary scores at age 15 and greater social confidence.
A statewide evaluation of Kentucky’s 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) programs during the 2018-19 school year found that regular program attendees improved their math and reading/ELA grades from the fall to spring, and a majority reached proficient/distinguished on the Kentucky Performance Rating for Educational Progress (K-PREP). Based on teacher surveys, among those who needed to improve, an overwhelming majority of both elementary and high school students improved in academic performance, class participation, and homework completion. Students also reported benefits of the programs, including helping them complete their homework, get better grades, and challenge them to do their best.
A statewide evaluation of Hawaii’s 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) programs during the 2018-19 program year found students in the program made academic and behavioral gains. The percent of students who missed 15 or more days of school throughout the year was significantly less for 21st CCLC participants compared to non-participants. In addition, those who participated in 21st CCLC programs were more likely to meet or exceed proficiency in math and reading compared to non-participants.
The study found that students who participated in the Higher Achievement afterschool and summer program over the course of two years had statistically significantly higher grades in math, English, and science, as well as higher overall GPAs, compared to a matched control group. The program appeared to be most effective for students who joined the program on grade level. The subgroup analysis also found that male students in the program also saw greater gains in math compared to girls in year one and two of the program.
A longitudinal study of voluntary summer learning programs, led by five school districts located in urban communities across the country, followed students from 3rd to 7th grade and found positive academic gains among the randomly assigned students to the program compared to the control group of their nonparticipating peers. After the first and second summer of program participation, program attendees outperformed control-group students. Statistically significant differences were found in math achievement after the first summer, and math, language arts, and social and emotional skills after the second summer. Researchers followed up on program participants three years after the second summer of program participation and found that while academic gains compared to average gains made in a year were no longer statistically significant, they were still large enough to be meaningful.
A statewide evaluation of Iowa’s 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) programs found that among students regularly attending a 21st CCLC program and in need of improvement, 72 percent improved in math and 70 percent improved in English. Among regularly attending elementary schoolers identified as not proficient in reading, 25 percent achieved proficiency or higher, and among regularly attending middle and high schoolers not proficient in math, 46 percent achieved proficiency or above. Additionally, teachers reported that 79 percent of regular program participants improved their homework completion and participation in class, and 67 percent improved their behavior.