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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.”
Students, teachers, families, and afterschool program staff reported mostly positive outcomes for students attending 21st CCLC program sites across the state of Alabama, even while COVID-19 proved to be challenging for programs nationwide. Students improved their math and reading through their afterschool programs and agreed that their programs were a place they could feel safe. Parents reported that their children improved their school day attendance, enjoyed the STEM opportunities available, and get along better with others through programming, and staff responded positively to survey questions about programs’ overall operations, and provided categories of professional development that would be beneficial for future program delivery.
This quasi-experimental study examines students who attended Aim High, a voluntary summer learning program that provided academic and social and emotional learning (SEL) supports, during 2013-2014 and/or 2014-2015 to middle school students in the San Francisco Unified School District. The study analyzes how students’ participation in the program impacts both behavioral engagement and academic achievement. Evaluators found that program participants were significantly less likely to be chronically absent and suspended, as well as have slight improvements in English/language arts state assessments and school-day attendance than their peers who did not participate in Aim High. Additionally, this study found that these effects are greatest for Aim High participants who are boys and Latinx students.
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 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.
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.
A 2020 evaluation of Ohio's 21st Century Community Learning Centers programs found that there was a statistically significant positive impact on academic and behavioral outcomes among students regularly attending the program. Regular program participants scored higher on math and English language arts assessments compared with similar non-participating youth, as well as saw reductions in both unexcused absences and disciplinary incidents. Youth surveys revealed that students agree that their program is beneficial, including helping them make new friends and prepare for their future.