Afterschool Alliance Research

Informing providers, advocates, and policymakers for 20 years

Delve into our vast collection of research resources that show afterschool programs are keeping kids safe, inspiring learning, and helping working families across the country. 

An integral component of Afterschool Alliance’s mission to ensure that all children have access to affordable, quality afterschool programs is research that assesses and examines the ways children spend their time during the afterschool hours, the opportunities afterschool programs provide the children and families in their communities, and the public support for these programs.

This section contains research materials the Afterschool Alliance has produced over the past 15 years. Find the resource that best fits your needs by searching by document type or by issue area. If you are interested in learning more about afterschool programs, explore Afterschool Essentials, or find out how many children are in afterschool programs by visiting the America After 3PM page. You can also search by issue topic and learn more about afterschool programs supporting young people in variety of areas and subjects, ranging from the arts to health and wellness to STEM. 

Date Title

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A Big-Picture Approach to Wellness: Afterschool Supporting Strong Bodies and Minds (September 2018)

A comprehensive approach to wellness—which includes healthy eating and physical activity and extends to additional aspects of health, such as social and emotional skills and competencies—can provide the necessary supports for healthy children grow into healthy adults. This issue brief details the national public health issues children are facing today and discusses the afterschool field’s ability to provide a place where children feel safe, are surrounded by supportive mentors, have access to nutritious foods, are able to be active, can form relationships with their peers, learn how to set positive goals for themselves, and feel empowered to take charge of their lives. Accompanying this brief are five in-depth afterschool program profiles that highlight the different roles programs play to support their students’ physical and social and emotional health:

Health and Wellness

Featured Summary

Career & Technical Education: Preparing young people for the jobs of tomorrow

Afterschool programs are critical partners for Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs and help young people develop skills that employers need.


This is Afterschool STEM (2019)

Jobs in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields power our economy and build shared prosperity among our society. Investing in afterschool and summer STEM learning programs will help students explore their interests, build skills, connect with mentors, and prepare for jobs in growing fields like health care, information technology, and cybersecurity.


21st CCLC Facts and Figures (2018)

The 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative is the only federal funding source dedicated exclusively to before-school, afterschool, and summer learning programs. This fact sheet provides an updated overview of the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) program, highlights its outcomes and benefits, and addresses the current state of funding.


An Ideal Opportunity: The Role of Afterschool in Social and Emotional Learning (May 2018)

Ensuring all children and youth thrive as they move through school and into their adult lives requires that they have the opportunity to develop the skills and competencies that will help them land their first job, navigate and overcome the challenges they will face, keep positive relationships, and make good decisions. Learn more in this issue brief about afterschool and summer learning programs, which have long been a place for positive youth development, helping in students' social and emotional development. In addition, in-depth afterschool program profiles that highlight the different roles programs play to support social and emotional learning complement this issue brief:


Students learn more with afterschool STEM (April 2018)

A one-pager that makes the case for afterschool STEM using the latest research.


This is Afterschool Fact Sheet (2018)

Decades of research show that afterschool programs help kids learn, grow, and make smart choices. Programs spark interest in learning so students attend school more often, get better grades, and improve their behavior in class. This fact sheet summarizes research demonstrating the multitude of benefits programs have on kids and their families. 


What Does the Research Say About 21st Century Community Learning Centers? (Nov 2017)

21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) are afterschool and summer learning programs that are locally-designed school and community solutions that help kids learn and grow, keep children and teenagers safe, and support families to balance work with home. This fact sheet provides a small sampling of findings from evaluations of the federally-funded Community Learning Centers programs that demonstrate the positive impact programs across the country are having on students' academics, school-day attendance, engagement in learning, and behavior. 


What Does the Research Say About Afterschool? (Nov 2017)

Afterschool and summer learning programs inspire students to learn, keep children and teenagers safe, and give parents peace of mind. This fact sheet provides a small sampling of findings—from meta-analyses to program-level evaluations—that show that there is demonstrable evidence of the positive impact programs have on students' academics, school-day attendance, engagement in learning, and behavior. 


Building Workforce Skills in Afterschool (Nov 2017)

A strong and vibrant economy is reliant on a strong and vibrant workforce equipped with the necessary skills, competencies, and knowledge. This issue brief highlights the ladder of supports afterschool and summer learning programs provide to help students develop the skills and gain the experience that will benefit them in the workforce, from building students’ communication and teamwork skills in elementary school to connecting students to internships and apprenticeships in high school. In addition to this issue brief, six complementary in-depth afterschool program profiles highlight different roles programs play to build students’ workforce skills:

Building students’ foundational skills and competencies that will help them in the workforce and in life

Introducing students to new interests, opening their eyes to potential career pathways

Providing real-world work experiences that help build students’ familiarity with and capabilities in the workforce