ERIC Number: ED484349
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2004-Sep
Afterschool Alliance Backgrounder: Formal Evaluations of Afterschool Programs' Impact on Behavior, Safety and Family Life.
Although afterschool programs for children have been operating for many years in some communities, the afterschool movement, the great national awakening to the opportunity afterschool offers, is just a few years old. As public demand for afterschool has grown, so also has the demand for accountability. That is particularly true in programs that spend public dollars. A number of different types of evaluations have been conducted over the last several years, assessing various aspects of afterschool programming. Some evaluations seek to gather data on whether programs have been structured as they were originally intended, how well they have done at meeting attendance and staffing goals, how they "fit" in the school environment and more. Others explore the effect afterschool programs have on the children who participate in them, their parents, and even the communities at large. When taken together the two types of studies help identify the particular program elements and approaches most critical to accomplishing program goals. It is useful, for example, to correlate information on student attendance at afterschool programs with student academic performance. Were an evaluator to conclude that attendance is key to academic gains, program designers might focus more energy on improving attendance for students. Evaluations also differ by virtue of who conducts them. Many programs self-evaluate, providing useful data and satisfying the needs of their various stakeholders, parents, funders, partnering businesses, local public officials and so on. Academics and large funders such as the federal government, state governments, the Open Society Institute, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation or the Wallace Fund, for example, often require more exacting standards and greater independence is often required. Independent evaluations commissioned by such entities are the primary subject of this document. This compilation focuses chiefly on the impact of afterschool programs on student safety, behavior and discipline, and on the closely related topic of afterschool's effect on parents' concerns about their children's safety. The evaluations included in this summary amply demonstrate that afterschool programs help keep children safe, have a positive impact on behavior and discipline, and help relieve parents' worries about their children's safety. Also provided are 15 related Web sites for further exploration of this subject matter.
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Afterschool Alliance, Washington, DC.