Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

An examination of academic outcomes for students who attend a school-based afterschool program
by Dreyer, Karen J., Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh, 2010, 113; 3417442
Abstract (Summary)

While most research on the benefits of afterschool programs has shown positive behavioral outcomes, the results on academic outcomes have been mixed. This study focused on academic outcomes to further explore whether students who regularly attended a school-based afterschool program showed greater academic gains than students who did not attend. Previous research has shown mixed results in academic outcomes from afterschool programs depending on gender, program location and grade level; therefore, these variables were examined to evaluate where group differences may exist. Afterschool attendance was considered and narrowly defined to provide more understanding about dosage in afterschool outcomes research.

Students in this study were in grades 3 through 8 during the 2008–2009 school year, and they attended two charter schools in Western Pennsylvania. The afterschool programs operated within the charter schools. This is a secondary data analysis, using data that were collected for a program evaluation of the afterschool programs. To measure academic gains, a difference score was calculated from students’ pretest and posttest scores on the 4Sight reading and mathematics assessments. The design of this study was a quasi-experimental design comparing students who regularly attended the afterschool programs (50% or greater attendance) with a randomly selected comparison group from the same population of charter school students.

An overall Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) on the difference scores showed that afterschool participants with regular attendance performed better than nonparticipants in mathematics but not in reading. Further ANOVAs on the mathematics difference scores found no differences in gain scores by gender. Elementary students showed greater mathematics gains than middle school students, and students who attended the afterschool program at School M showed greater mathematics gains than students at School H. The reading gain scores were also further analyzed with ANOVAs, and boys showed greater gains than girls, elementary students showed greater gains than middle school students, and students at School M showed greater gains than students at School H. No correlation was found between the number of days of afterschool attendance and reading or mathematics gain scores. Findings are related to future directions for afterschool research and implications for afterschool providers.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Bagnato, Stephen J.
School: University of Pittsburgh
School Location: United States -- Pennsylvania
Source: DAI-A 71/08, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: School administration, Educational psychology
Keywords: Academic, Afterschool, Afterschool program, Attendance
Publication Number: 3417442
ISBN: 978-1-124-14946-2
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