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A total of 1,599 students participating in afterschool programs with a STEM focus in grades 4-12 from 11 states completed retrospective self-report surveys measuring STEM-related attitudes and 21st century skills. Facilitators completed a survey about their experiences leading afterschool STEM, and the programs’ STEM activities were observed and evaluated to establish levels of quality. The evaluation found that students that participated in STEM-focused afterschool programs led to positive changes in students’ attitudes toward science, STEM interest, STEM identity, STEM career interest, career knowledge, 21st century skills, and critical thinking. Larger effects were seen in students who participated in programs for a minimum of four weeks. Higher quality STEM programs reported more positive gains than lower quality programs.
An evaluation of 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) programs in Pennsylvania using federally reported 21APR data (where APR stands for “Annual Performance Report” and the 21APR system collects information on 21st CCLC grantees and centers) and PA Grantee Reports to examine attendance and behavior; academic achievement in reading, math, and credit completion; and student and parent program satisfaction. The evaluation found that among students who regularly attended the program, 44 percent improved their reading grade from fall to spring and 43 percent improved their math grade from fall to spring. Based on teacher reports, 47 percent of regular program attendees improved their in-school behavior, and 56 percent of attendees improved homework outcomes. Overall, parents and students were both overwhelming “very satisfied” with their, or their child’s, experience in the program.
A statewide evaluation of 21st CCLC programs in Arkansas examining student achievement and social emotional skills and parents’ satisfaction with the program. The evaluation used student, parent, and staff surveys, as well as annual performance reports and found that programs provided an environment where students felt that they were supported academically and were able to develop positive social and emotional skills and good work habits. Similarly, parent satisfaction with Arkansas’ 21st CCLC programs was high. Parents felt as though their children were safe when they were at the program and felt that their child’s participation in the program encouraged better communication with the schools. Program staff felt as though they related content of the program to school-day academics and that they had effective communication between supervising staff directing student youth workers. Overall, staff at Arkansas 21st CCLC programs came to the program with sufficient training, were trained sufficiently upon start at programs, and stayed at the program for a reasonable time.
SHINE (Schools & Homes in Education) is a comprehensive afterschool program that provides academic and social support to youth in a primarily rural region of Pennsylvania. SHINE offers STEM throughout the grades, with the intention of building a STEM pipeline from kindergarten to career. In this selection of evaluation data from the 2013-2014 school year, participants demonstrated gains along three major categories of youth outcomes—interest in STEM, capacity to engage in STEM, and finding value in STEM.
Project GUTS (Growing Up Thinking Scientifically) is an afterschool program in which middle school students design, create and test computer models to simulate “what if” scenarios for real-world questions of community and societal concern. In this selection of evaluation data from the 2010-2011 school year, participants demonstrated gains along three major categories of youth outcomes—interest in STEM, capacity to engage in STEM, and finding value in STEM.
Science Minors Clubs is an outreach initiative of the Museum of Science and Industry aimed at increasing interest in science in underserved neighborhoods by engaging students in places where they already spend their time after school, such as community-based organizations and schools. In this selection of evaluation data from the 2013-2014 school year, participants demonstrated gains along three major categories of youth outcomes—interest in STEM, capacity to engage in STEM, and finding value in STEM.
4-H Tech Wizards is an evidence-based afterschool mentoring program that trains youth on various technologies within a bilingual, bicultural learning environment. In this selection of evaluation data from the 2012-2013 school year, participants demonstrated gains along three major categories of youth outcomes—interest in STEM, capacity to engage in STEM, and finding value in STEM.
An evaluation of eight 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) programs in the Fairbanks North Star Borough school district during the 2014-15 school year. Student academic performance and parent involvement for regular program attendees are evaluated using enrollment records, student grades, GPA, attendance, Alaska Measures of Progress (AMP) test results, teacher surveys, parent and student surveys, program staff interviews, and program site visits. The evaluation found that participation in the afterschool programs increased the attendance of regularly attending students with below average attendance records and increased participating high school students’ GPAs. Parent surveys showed that students’ participation in the program led to their parents feeling more comfortable in their child’s school and more involved in their child’s education.
A statewide evaluation of West Virginia’s 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) programs during the 2014-15 school year to examine the program’s impact on participating students’ academics and school day behavior. Key findings of the report include—based on teacher surveys—approximately 3 in 4 students improved their homework completion and participation in class and approximately 7 in 10 improved their academic performance, behavior in class, and engagement in learning. The evaluation also included findings from surveys of program directors to evaluate the successes, challenges, parent participation, and relationships with partners of 21st CCLC programs. Results from program directors showed that student involvement and high attendance were their greatest successes, and personnel issues was the biggest challenge. Furthermore, programs desired more professional development training—specifically in sustainability and personnel issues, greater parent engagement, and improvements in the 21st CCLC database collection system.
This statewide longitudinal evaluation examined the After School Education and Safety (ASES) and 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) programs, which are designed to unite schools, community-based organizations, cities, and businesses to provide elementary and middle school students academic support in a safe environment. Results from this evaluation, collected using standardized test scores, student surveys, teacher surveys, and administrative data, suggest that students who frequently participated in these afterschool programs made greater academic and physical fitness gains than their non-participating peers. For the purposes of this evaluation, frequent participation was defined as attending the program at least three days per week for elementary students and attending at least two days per week for middle school students.