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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.
This study of 1,364 families followed children from birth through age 15 to examine how early life experiences affect adolescent development. The study found that participation in both early child care and out-of-school time activities during middle childhood were linked to higher reading comprehension and math achievement at age 15, suggesting an additive effect. Additionally, participation in more organized activities in the elementary years was associated with higher vocabulary scores at age 15 and greater social confidence.
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 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.
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.
An evaluation of the Building Educated Leaders for Life (BELL) Summer program, which served 8,756 K-8 students at 66 sites across 8 states during the summer of 2012. The evaluation found that BELL Summer program participants made significant gains in reading and math, gaining an average of 5.8 months of reading skills and 6.7 months of math skills. Students who were struggling the most academically when entering the program saw the largest gains in reading and math skills. An overwhelming majority of teachers and parents surveyed for the evaluation reported that they agreed that students’ participating in the program made gains in their self-efficacy, engagement in school, and behavior.
A meta-analysis by the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) that examined 75 studies of 68 afterschool programs. The meta-analysis evaluated the impact of afterschool programs on participants’ personal and social skills, as well as academic achievement. A key finding of the evaluation is the positive impact high-quality afterschool programs have on students, where students showed improved behavior and performed better academically than students who did not participate in a program.
A 30-month longitudinal evaluation of 322 Boys & Girls Club members from 10 Clubs across the country, beginning in seventh and eighth grade. Student survey responses indicated that participants who attended the program more often had increased academic confidence, community service involvement, integrity, and academic confidence, and decreased school absence rates, aggression,and police interactions.