Afterschool Alliance Research

Informing providers, advocates and policy makers for 15 years

Delve into our vast collection of research resources that show afterschool programs are keeping kids safe, inspiring learning and helping working families across the country. 

An integral component of Afterschool Alliance’s mission to ensure that all children have access to affordable, quality afterschool programs is research that assesses how children are spending their time during the afterschool hours, examines the opportunities afterschool programs provide the children and families in their community and the public support for these programs.

This section contains research materials the Afterschool Alliance has produced over the past 15 years. Find the resource that best fits your needs by searching by document type or by issue area. If you are interested in learning more about the basics facts about afterschool programs, explore Afterschool Essentials, or if you want to find out how many children are in afterschool programs, visit the America After 3PM page. You can also search by issue topic and learn more about afterschool programs supporting young people in variety of areas—ranging from the arts to health and wellness to STEM. 

Date Title

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Evaluations Backgrounder: A Summary of Formal Evaluations of Afterschool Programs Impact on Academics, Behavior, Safety and Family Life (2015)

A steady stream of afterschool evaluations are showing important gains for children, not only in terms of academic achievement but also in regard to safety, discipline, attendance and avoidance of risky behaviors. This updated evaluations backgrounder includes new research that demonstrate the impact of afterschool programs on academic outcomes, student behavior and parental concerns about childrens safety.

Evaluations

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Featured

Afterschool Programs Keep Kids Safe, Engage Kids in Learning and Help Working Families (2014)

A concise overview of the state of afterschool in the U.S., as well as key research on the benefits and outcomes associated with participation in programs. 

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Featured

21st CCLC facts and figures

An overview of the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program.

21st CCLC

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Building Literacy in Afterschool (March 2015)

The Afterschool Alliance, in partnership with Dollar General Literacy Foundation, is proud to present this issue brief examining the vital role afterschool programs play to build students' literacy skills. This issue brief will explore the additional support needed to help students with their reading, writing and critical thinking skills; delve into the variety of ways in which afterschool programs are successfully developing students' literacy skills; and provide examples of afterschool programs that are fostering students' love and appreciation of reading and writing.

Literacy

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Afterschool Programs Inspiring Students with a Connected Learning Approach (January 2015)

Connected learning is an educational approach designed to make learning relevant to students, creating a deeper form of learning and understanding that will help students become life-long learners who will grow and thrive in school, work and life. Afterschool programs have long been implementing this approach that ties together students interests, peer networks and academic pursuits. This report explores the benefits of using a connected learning approach, the variety of ways afterschool programs are offering connected learning opportunities to engage students in learning, and shares ideas on how to integrate the principles of connected learning into afterschool programs.

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Afterschool in Action: Promoting Middle School Success Through Innovative Afterschool Programs (2014)

This year's compendium marks the sixth and final round of the MetLife Foundation Afterschool Innovator Awards. Since 2007, the Afterschool Alliance and MetLife Foundation have worked together to raise awareness of the innovative and exemplary work taking place in afterschool programs around the country. "Afterschool in Action: Promoting Middle School Success Through Innovative Afterschool Programs" celebrates the culmination of this effort, providing an overview of the work accomplished, highlighting the close to 100 afterschool programs in 30 states featured in MetLife Foundation issue briefs through the years, presenting in-depth profiles on each of the five 2014 MetLife Foundation Afterschool Innovator Award winners, and includes four issue briefs that delve into the Common Core State Standards, supporting students with disabilities and other special needs, keeping kids safe and supported in the hours after school and using data to better serve students.

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Looking at the Data: Afterschool Programs Using Data to Better Serve Students (August 2014)

The afterschool field has made great gains in providing supports and an environment that helps their students succeed in school and beyond. Research has found that the quality of an afterschool program plays an integral role in its ability to positively impact students academic, social and emotional development. Fortunately, more and more programs are recognizing the critical role of data and more resources and tools are becoming available to help programs put the data to use in order to best meet the needs of their students. This issue brief explores the benefits of data collection and evaluation, the steps to evaluate a program, and highlights afterschool programs that have collected and analyzed program data to improve their programming, as well as better meet the needs of their students, families and staff.

Evaluations

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Keeping Kids Safe and Supported in the Hours After School (May 2014)

More than 15 million students are alone and unsupervised between 3 and 6 p.m, the peak hours for juvenile crime and a time of concern for working parents. Afterschool programs are giving working parents peace of mind and providing an environment where students can go to feel safe, find staff and mentors who they trust, learn to tackle challenging circumstances and avoid risky behaviors, and work on communicating effectively with their peers and interacting positively with others. This MetLife Foundation issue brief explores the variety of ways afterschool programs are helping keep middle schoolers safe, keep them engaged in learning, and help them take advantage of their full potential as they navigate school, peers and their surroundings.

Working Families

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Afterschool Supporting Students with Disabilities and Other Special Needs (February 2014)

Based on the Department of Educations National Center for Education Statistics most recent report, 13 percent of public school studentsapproximately 6.4 million studentswere identified as having a disability or other special need and served by a federally supported special education program. Research shows that, compared to students without disabilities, students with disabilities and other special needs face additional challenges as they move through school and into adulthood. However, inclusive learning environmentswhere students of all abilities can take part in meaningful learning experiences togethersupport positive growth and development, helping students of all abilities improve academically, socially and emotionally. Afterschool programs create a safe space where students of all abilities can learn and grow side-by-side, respecting and appreciating one anothers similarities and differences. This issue brief highlights the valuable source of support afterschool programs offer to students of all abilities and presents examples of programs that provide an inclusive environment that fosters a sense of belonging and promotes the overall success of every student.

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Taking a Deeper Dive into Afterschool: Positive Outcomes and Promising Practices (February 2014)

Over the past 15 years, knowledge of the afterschool field has grown substantially, confirming that quality afterschool programs help children become more engaged in school, reduce their likelihood of taking part in at-risk behaviors or acting out in school, and help raise their academic performance. A greater emphasis on evidence-based practices has increased the number of evaluations of afterschool programs, which in turn has helped parents, educators, business leaders and policy makers to see the range of positive outcomes associated with participation in afterschool programs. To better understand promising practices in the afterschool field, this report reviews outcomes associated with participation in afterschool programs, synthesizing high-quality evaluations of 10 afterschool programs, explores research spanning hundreds of programs to present a summary of promising practices of afterschool programs, and provides specific examples of ways in which the afterschool programs employ each promising practice.

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