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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 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.
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 statewide evaluation of Massachusetts’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) program during the 2017-18 program year found that, based on teacher ratings, program participants made gains in math and reading/English language arts achievement. Teachers and program staff also noted increases in outcomes including students’ critical thinking skills, perseverance, and communication. English language learners, students receiving special education services, and economically disadvantaged students made particularly strong gains for certain outcomes.
A statewide evaluation of Hawaii’s 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) programs during the 2017-18 school year examined outcomes related to participants’ educational, social, and behavioral developments. Based on teacher reports, among students who participated in the program 30 days or more, 82 percent improved turning in the homework on time and classroom participation and 79 percent improved their behavior in class. Of the sub-grantees reporting on academic improvement, 69 percent of students regularly attending the program showed improvements in English and 72 percent saw gains in math based on teacher surveys.
A 2019 evaluation by Education Northwest of Alaska’s 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) afterschool programs found that students who participated more regularly in programs saw greater academic and behavioral gains. Teachers surveyed reported that an overwhelming majority of students attending the program for at least 60 days saw improvements in their academic performance (72 percent), participation in class (71 percent), and ability to persevere through challenges (66 percent), as well as their ability to form positive relationships with adults (70 percent) and work collaboratively with peers (68 percent).
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.
This 2019 statewide evaluation of North Carolina’s 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) programs found that based on teachers surveyed, students regularly participating in 21st CCLC programs saw improvements in their classroom performance and behavior. Approximately 5 in 6 elementary (84 percent), middle (86 percent), and high school (88 percent) students improved their homework completion and class participation. A majority of elementary (68 percent), middle (74 percent), and high school (84 percent) students also improved their behavior.
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.