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 and examines the ways children spend their time during the afterschool hours, the opportunities afterschool programs provide the children and families in their communities, 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 afterschool programs, explore Afterschool Essentials, or find out how many children are in afterschool programs by visiting 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 and subjects, ranging from the arts to health and wellness to STEM. 

Date Title

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

Knowledge of the afterschool field has grown substantially in the past 15 years, confirming that quality afterschool programs increase participants’ engagement in school, reduce their participation in at-risk behavior, and raise their academic performance. Growing emphasis on evidence-based practices has increased the frequency of afterschool program evaluations, making the positive outcomes of participation in programs more transparent. This report reviews these outcomes by synthesizing high-quality evaluations of 10 programs, summarizing promising practices from research spanning hundreds of programs, and providing specific examples of practices used in programs.


Afterschool and the Common Core State Standards (January 2014)

The Afterschool Alliance, in partnership with MetLife Foundation, is proud to present the first of four issue briefs in our sixth series examining critical issues facing middle school youth and the vital role afterschool programs play in addressing these issues. This brief discusses how U.S. students measure up globally, the call for focus on 21st century skills, the goals of Common Core, and how afterschool programs are working with students, teachers and schools to help them reach these goals.


Preventing Dropouts: The Important Role of Afterschool (2013)

Although much progress has been made in decreasing high school dropout rates nationally, over the last decade, significant gaps persist among states, races, income levels, and students with disabilities and limited English proficiency. This issue brief describes the national impacts of the dropout problem, identifies the risk factors, and evaluates how to address the dropout problem and ways afterschool programs can help.


The Importance of Afterschool and Summer Learning Programs in African-American and Latino Communities (2013)

The national economy is slowly recovering from the Great Recession, yet a deeper examination of its effect on African-American and Latino households reveals that these communities are facing higher rates of unemployment, poverty, homelessness and food insecurity. This issue brief looks closely at the current economic state of African-American and Latino communities, the far-reaching impact of poverty on academic achievement and highlights the important role afterschool and summer programs play in supporting youth and families in these communities. Afterschool and summer learning programs provide youth who are most in need of support with a safe and supervised space, healthy snacks and meals, and an academically enriching environment. However, this issue brief outlines the challenges these programs confront to keep pace with demand for their services, as well as ensure their doors stay open to continue to provide essential resources that are highly valued in African-American and Latino communities.


Summer Learning Programs Nourish Kids Bodies and Minds (2013)

Not only do summer learning programs keep kids safe and engaged in academically enriching activities that help stem the "summer slide," they also help parents ensure their kids are getting nutritious food while school's out. This fact sheet highlights the important role summer learning programs play in feeding high-needs children, addresses the challenges programs face in providing a summer meal and outlines the benefits of programs’ participation in the USDA Summer Food Service Program.


Afterschool in Action: Innovative Afterschool Programs Supporting Middle School Youth (2013)

This year marks the fifth round of the MetLife Foundation Afterschool Innovator Awards. For the past five years, we have collaborated to highlight the work of quality afterschool programs that support children, families and communities across the nation. This compendium includes an in-depth profile of 2012 Afterschool Innovator Award winners, a review of 2008-2011 winners, and a compilation of four issue briefs exploring afterschool’s role in school improvement efforts, arts enrichment, parent engagement and digital learning.


The Life-Enhancing Benefits of Reading in Out-of-School Programs (2013)

Scholastic Family and Community Engagement (FACE) and the Afterschool Alliance have partnered to spotlight the role of reading in a child's life and the unique ways afterschool programs can incorporate reading into their curricula, promoting students' academic success, boosting self-confidence and improving their overall well-being. This issue brief points to research that demonstrate the number of positive outcomes associated with avid reading, such as academic gains, increased drive to do well in school and improved self-esteem. The brief also highlights the important role afterschool programs play in helping students access reading materials, as well as become engaged and critical readers.


Digital Media & Learning in Afterschool (February 2013)

The Afterschool Alliance, in partnership with MetLife Foundation, is proud to present the last of four issue briefs in our fifth series examining critical issues facing middle school youth and the vital role afterschool programs play in addressing these issues. This brief discusses the growing importance of digital media and technology in education, the "digital divide" between high- and low-income communities, and the many opportunities and challenges the afterschool field faces with implementing equitable digital learning.

Digital Learning STEM


Evaluations Backgrounder: A Summary of Formal Evaluations of Afterschool Programs' Impact on Academics, Behavior, Safety and Family Life (2013)

Afterschool programs have been operating across the country for decades, and federal investment in afterschool has increased dramatically since the mid-1990s. Still, more investment is needed to meet growing demand.  As public demand and need for afterschool have grown, so too has the demand for accountability. This backgrounder contains research demonstrating the impact of afterschool programs on participant's academic achievement, behavior, safety, and overall wellness.


Afterschool: A Key to Successful Parent Engagement (2012)

The Afterschool Alliance, in partnership with MetLife Foundation, is proud to present the third of four issue briefs in our fifth series examining critical issues facing middle school youth and the vital role afterschool programs play in addressing these issues. This brief demonstrates the ties between parent engagement and student success, why afterschool programs are an ideal partner to help schools break down the barriers often present between parents and schools, and how they create unique opportunities that also encourage parent engagement.