The Growth In After-School Programs And Their Impact

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The Growth In After-School Programs And Their Impact


This paper reviews literature on the growth in after-school programs, reasons for their growth, and what these programs hope to accomplish It also addresses what is known about what works, program costs, and implications for policy. Overall, the forces behind increased funding and activity in after-school programs could be characterized in two phases: time on task and home alone. There was tremendous struggle between those who believed that after school programs should focus on skill development by providing more time on task and those who stressed the need to provide an atmosphere for growth and adult contact for children who are home alone. It was difficult to pin down models of youth development and links from theory to program characteristics. Much of the evidence on these programs was sparse. However, data from a review of 10 studies that used a relatively rigorous methodology to measure impact on a variety of outcomes (e.g., drug and alcohol use, academic skills, and violence) indicated that there have been some effective programs. Alternative strategies for determining what works and what does not are noted (e.g., abandon the search for hard evidence and justification and capitalize on major evaluation efforts). Appended are a description of factors in the growth of youth development programs and detailed summaries of program evaluations.


After School Programs, Disadvantaged Youth, High Risk Students, Poverty, Program Effectiveness, Program Evaluation, Secondary Education, Supplementary Education

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Brookings Institution