EFFECTIVE AFTER-SCHOOL AND expanded learning programs can play a vital role in student success. In fact, when researchers at the Harvard Family Research Project analyzed a decade of research and evaluation studies a few years ago, they concluded that "children and youth who participate in after-school programs can reap a host of positive benefits in a number of interrelated outcome areas--academic, social/emotional, prevention, and health and wellness" (Little, Wimer, & Weiss, 2008).
Quality after-school programs don't just "happen," however. Coordination among after-school and school-day personnel is essential, as is district support.
Supporting and Enhancing Academic Achievement
Numerous studies suggest that high-quality after-school programs enhance students' academic success in school. After-school programs lead to better attitudes toward school and stronger school engagement; stronger school performance, as measured by standardized test scores and grades; higher rates of school attendance; fewer behavioral problems; and lower dropout rates (Afterschool Alliance, 2008).
A meta-analysis of 35 research studies employing either quasi-experimental or experimental research designs found a small but significant positive effect of such programs on both reading and mathematics achievement, with larger effects for programs that offered tutoring in reading. After-school and summer programs were equally effective (Lauer et al., 2006).
Research and …