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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 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.
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 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.
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.