A project of the Afterschool Alliance.

Virginia Department of Education Evaluation of 21st Century Community Learning Centers 2017-2018

Year Published: 2019

A 2019 evaluation of Virginia’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers found that based on teacher-reported outcomes, an overwhelming majority of students improved their academic performance (63 percent), classroom behavior (70 percent), and homework completion and class participation (77 percent). Additionally, students indicated that the programs helped them get better grades, attend class regularly, behave in class, and “prepare for a job or career”. When comparing 21st CCLC students to non-attendees, students receiving special education services in the programs outperformed those not in programs. 

Program Name: Virginia 21st Century Community Learning Centers

Program Description:

Virginia’s 21st Century Community Learning Center program, which receives federal funding through the 21st CCLC initiative, provides afterschool and summer academic enrichment opportunities for children at high-poverty and low-performing schools throughout the state. During the 2017-18 program year, 118 grantees operated programs in 136 centers, serving 9,986 regular attending students (minimum of 30 days) as well as engaging 4,263 family members in family events and activities during the school year. 

Scope of the Evaluation: Statewide

Program Type: Afterschool

Location: Virginia

Grade level: Elementary School, Middle School, High School

Program Demographics:

During the 2017-18 program year, 78 percent of students were eligible for Free or Reduced Price Lunch, 11 percent were identified limited English proficient, and 15 percent were identified as having a special need or a disability. Regarding race and ethnicity, 44 percent of students identified as African American, 34 percent as white, 14 percent as Hispanic or Latino, 4 percent two or more races, two percent Asian, and less than one percent Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, or American Indian/Alaska Native. 

Program Website: https://www.doe.virginia.gov/federal_programs/esea/title4/part_b/index.shtml

Evaluator: Muzzi, C., Gallagher, B.M., Shearon, P., Feibelman, S., & Zoblotsky, T. University of Memphis, The Center for Research in Educational Policy.

Evaluation Methods:

This evaluation utilized five sources of data: 21st CCLC and school day attendance (for participants with Standards of Learning assessment scores); mathematics and reading scores for SOL (Standards of Learning), VAAP (Virginia Alternate Assessment Program), and VGLA (Virginia Grade Level Alternative) exams; the online Annual Local Evaluation Survey; the Student Perceptual Survey; and the Teacher Annual Performance Report. The data was used to assess outcomes in reading/language arts achievement, math achievement, and parental education opportunities. The analyses looked at both 21st CCLC participants compared to non-participants, as well as 21st CCLC participants only (center impacts). 

Evaluation Type: Quasi-experimental;Non-experimental

Summary of Outcomes:

A statewide evaluation of Virginia’s 21st Century Community Learning Center programs found that overall the programs resulted in positive academic and behavioral gains for students. Based on teacher surveys, 63 percent of students in the programs improved their academic performance, 54 percent improved their motivation to learn, and 53 percent improved turning their homework in on time. In addition, teachers indicated that roughly 7 out of 10 students improved their homework completion and class participation (77 percent) and classroom behavior (70 percent).

Among the students surveyed, a large majority agreed that the programs helped them get better grades in school (72 percent), be better at math (71 percent), attend class regularly (67 percent), and turn their homework in on time (66 percent). Additionally, students reported that the programs helped them prepare for trade school or college (73 percent) and learn the knowledge and skills to be ready for a job or career (71 percent). Among questions related to social and emotional skills and competencies, the majority of students surveyed agreed that their 21st CCLC program helped them to behave better in class (66 percent) and get along with other students (60 percent). Additionally, 78 percent of students said that they feel safe at their program and 74 percent said that staff encourage them to do their best.

The evaluation also found that students with higher levels of attendance in the program saw a statistically positive impact on math proficiency and SOL math scores for the 2017-18 year.

While the overall analyses assessing reading and math achievement comparing 21st CCLC participants to non-participants were not significant, it was found that the programs had a particularly strong impact on students receiving special education (SPED) services. 21st CCLC students receiving special education services statistically significantly outperformed students receiving SPED services who were not in the programs in both math and reading proficiency levels. In addition, a statistically significant positive impact on math SOL scores was found for economically disadvantaged students in the programs compared to those not in the programs.

In regards to school day attendance, there was a small, but statistically significant, positive effect found on 21st CCLC students’ attendance levels compared to non-participants.

Finally, it was found that 84 percent of programs offered opportunities for parent/ child interactions, 51 percent provided parenting skills training, and 25 percent offered career development for parents or other adults in the family. 

Date Added: June 14, 2021