ERIC Number: ED498791
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Mar
Charting the Benefits of High-Quality After-School Program Experiences: Evidence from New Research on Improving After-School Opportunities for Disadvantaged Youth
Reisner, Elizabeth R.; Vandell, Deborah Lowe; Pechman, Ellen M.; Pierce, Kim M.; Brown, B. Bradford; Bolt, Daniel
Policy Studies Associates, Inc.
This document examines the policy implications of recent findings of the Promising Programs study, conducted by researchers at the University of California at Irvine, the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and Policy Studies Associates, Inc. Most efforts to improve after-school opportunities focus on strengthening the effectiveness of individual programs. As a result, after-school providers tend to make plans focusing on their own organizations and immediate partners and on the expected progress of their own enrolled participants. This study suggests that failing to encourage community-wide collaboration is a missed opportunity for protecting and supporting youth during the after-school hours. Reported findings indicate that elementary- and middle-grades youth benefit from an array of after-school experiences that includes participation in high-quality after-school programs and structured school- and community-based activities supervised by adults. Findings also point to the comparative risks young people face when inadequately supervised, even when they occasionally participate in sports teams, after-school academic and arts lessons, or activities at neighborhood community centers. The central policy implication of this study is the importance of taking coordinated steps to increase the availability of high-quality after-school programming and reducing the incidence of unsupervised time on the part of elementary- and middle-grades youth. Recommendations include: (1) Encouraging creation and operation of new structures for collaborating to extend high-quality after-school to all youth in targeted communities; (2) Reducing unintended incentives that promote competition, rather than collaboration, among providers; (3) Increasing the availability of information about positive school- and community-based opportunities for youth in targeted communities; and (4) Supporting longitudinal research to measure the types of after-school learning opportunities available in targeted low-income communities, youth participation across available opportunities, and the outcomes of young people who experience each type or cluster of settings. (Contains 6 exhibits and 2 footnotes.)
Descriptors: School Activities, Disadvantaged Youth, After School Programs, Cooperation, Young Adults, Community Centers, Educational Benefits, Educational Quality, Educational Policy, Elementary School Students, Middle School Students, Student Participation, Longitudinal Studies, Program Improvement
Policy Studies Associates, Inc. 1718 Connecticut Avenue NW Suite 400, Washington, DC 20009. Tel: 202-939-9780; Fax: 202-939-5732; Web site: http://www.policystudies.com
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education; Middle Schools
Sponsor: Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, Flint, MI.
Authoring Institution: Policy Studies Associates, Inc., Washington, DC.