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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.”
A statewide evaluation of Missouri’s 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) programs during the 2017-18 school year examined outcomes related to participants’ academic performance, engagement, and behavior. The evaluation found that almost all 21st CCLC sites reported that at least half of their students maintained or improved their reading/communication arts, math, and science grades. Students in the programs also reported strong personal and social skills and a commitment to learning.
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.
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.
This non-experimental evaluation focused on pre- and post-program survey results distributed to girls enrolled in Girlstart After School and Summer Camp programs throughout Texas. The study evaluated whether program participants showed an increase in confidence, ability, and desire to pursue and accomplish STEM related opportunities and future careers. The survey results for Girlstart’s After School program met or exceeded all goals set by the program prior to the post-program survey, showing a majority of girls interested in STEM, pursuing STEM careers, and feeling more confident in their abilities to complete STEM related tasks. Summer Camp evaluation results showed a similar pattern, however, results were not compared to pre-survey goals.
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.
Build IT is an afterschool and summer curriculum for middle school youth to develop fluency in information technology (IT), interest in mathematics and knowledge of IT careers. 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.
The Clubhouse Network provides a creative and safe out-of-school learning environment in which youth from underserved communities work with adult mentors to explore their own ideas, develop new skills and build self-confidence through the use of technology. In this selection of evaluation data spanning 2013 to 2016, participants demonstrated gains along three major categories of youth outcomes—interest in STEM, capacity to engage in STEM, and finding value in STEM.
East End House uses a holistic approach to promote the well-being, academic achievement, and lifelong success of youth from under-resourced families. STEM is embedded into its elementary and middle school afterschool program, with the goal to increase excitement and confidence in STEM learning, as well as introduce youth to STEM careers. 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.