After-School Programs Dissertations

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There is however a larger body of literature on the effects of student engagement during the school day.

This literature—which conceptualizes engagement as multidimensional and having cognitive, emotional, and behavior components—shows that engagement in school is robustly associated with higher academic achievement and lower risk of school dropout (e.g., [9–12]).

Other studies have found more positive results though, with meta-analyses indicating small but significant effects of after-school program participation on reading and mathematics achievement [3] and on personal and social skills [2].

Given this mixed bag of findings and overall small effects, researchers have focused on identifying factors that may explain the ways in which participation in after-school programs affects student outcomes.

Programs provided out-of-school care with an emphasis on activities designed to foster student achievement and social emotional growth.

After-School Programs Dissertations

The nine program sites were housed in schools from three public school districts and served children from prekindergarten through sixth grade.Engagement has affective, cognitive, and behavioral components and entails enjoyment of, interest in, and sustained attention and effort focused on an activity [5–7].This multidimensional construct differs from previous conceptions of student participation that equated participation with enrollment or attendance but did not consider the combination of these three factors (enrollment, attendance, and engagement) when assessing student outcomes [5].Using data from the second year, we test the unique effects of student engagement in after-school activities on change in academic skills and social competence over the course of the school year, as well as the interaction between engagement and another facet of program participation: program attendance.Based on Weiss et al.’s [5] framework for after-school program participation and prior research [7, 13], we hypothesize that student engagement in after-school activities is associated with increased academic skills and social competence, particularly when coupled with regular program attendance.Another study of middle school students found that student engagement as rated through experiential sampling methods partially explained the relationship between program participation and social competence [8].These studies suggest that engagement may be associated with student outcomes in multiple ways (i.e., additive and interactive effects) and point to the need for additional empirical examination of the role played by student engagement in after-school programs to understand how program participation can make an impact on student outcomes [5, 8].In the present study, the rationale for our reliance on staff reports was threefold: (a) to ensure that the assessment of engagement focused on after-school activities (i.e., staff did not observe students during the school day), (b) because the programs in the study served a wide range of grades, as young as prekindergarten, and (c) to have an assessment easily administered by programs as part of self-assessments.Using data from the first year of the study, we examine the factor structure program staff-rated engagement measure and how its factors correlate with elementary school teachers’ ratings of classroom behavior.During the 2009-2010 school year, sites varied in terms of the percentage of students receiving free or reduced lunch ranging from 67.7% to 90.3% (), staff size (4–8 staff members), and program quality (see below).During the 2010-2011 academic year, percentage of students receiving free or reduced lunch ranged from 66.2% to 90.5% (M = 81.2%).


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