Harvard Family Research confirmed positive students’ outcomes in enrichment programs
A 10-year of research and evaluation conducted and published by the Harvard Family Research (HFRP) (Little, Wimer, & Weiss, 2008), as well as large-scale, rigorously conducted syntheses looking across many research and evaluation studies, confirms that children and youth who participate in after school enrichment programs can reap a host of positive benefits in a number of interrelated outcome areas – academic, social/emotional, mental health and etc.
Enrichment programs impact very positively on academic achievement. Improved test scores are reported in evaluations of The After-School Corporation programs in New York City (Reisner, White, Birmingham, & Welsh, 2001; White, Reisner, Welsh, & Russell, 2001) and in Foundations, Inc. elementary school programs (Klein & Bolus, 2002). A more recent longitudinal study showed significant gains in math test scores for elementary and middle-school students who participated in high-quality afterschool programs (Vandell, Reisner, & Pierce, 2007).
Three conditions are necessary to achieve the most positive results
While afterschool enrichment programs have the potential proven result of impacting a range of positive learning and development outcomes, some programs do not necessarily maximize this potential. Little, Wimer and Weiss of the Harvard Family Research Project (HFRP) identified the following three factors as critical to achieving positive youth outcome:
Access to and sustained participation in the program
Quality programming and staffing
Strong partnership among the program and other places