Page 1 of 7
21st Century Community Learning Centers across the state served almost 7,000 students who participated in 396,739 hours of activities during the fall 2021 semester. Almost half (49 percent) of all participants earned a B or better during the first grading period in both math and English/reading. In evaluators’ preliminary findings, they noted that there were, “substantial gains in students’ English/Reading scores” comparing the first two grading periods during the 2021-22 school year.
This quasi-experimental evaluation of the Please Call Me Mister (PCMM) program—a 4-year afterschool program in Franklin County, Kentucky, for middle and high school African American and Hispanic males focused on violence prevention and positive youth development—found several statistically significant positive outcomes for PCMM participants, including a decrease in carrying weapons and lower levels of alcohol consumption. PCMM participants also saw increases in resiliency and a decrease in levels of depression.
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.
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 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.
The study found that students who participated in the Higher Achievement afterschool and summer program over the course of two years had statistically significantly higher grades in math, English, and science, as well as higher overall GPAs, compared to a matched control group. The program appeared to be most effective for students who joined the program on grade level. The subgroup analysis also found that male students in the program also saw greater gains in math compared to girls in year one and two of the program.
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 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.
This 2019 evaluation of Washington’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers program found that students who consistently attended programs had a higher percentage of credits earned, cumulative GPA, and a lower number of school day absences and disciplinary incidents compared to non-attendees. Additionally, most students reported that it was completely or mostly true that the program helped them improve their academic behavior (81 percent) and self-management skills (77 percent). Students who regularly attended programming for two years had statistically significant higher reading and math test scores, lower school day absences, and a higher percentage of credits earned compared to students who did not attend at these levels. This finding suggests the importance of regular and continued program participation.
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.