Skip Navigation
The Evaluation of Enhanced Academic Instruction in After-School Programs
NCEE 2009-4077
September 2009

Research Questions

The overarching purpose of this evaluation is to determine whether providing students with enhanced after-school academic instruction improves their math or reading achievement above and beyond what they would have achieved had they remained in a regular after-school program. In particular, the study examines whether making the enhanced program available to students for one year improves student achievement, and whether that impact differs when the program is in its second year of operation and, thus, more mature, compared to the first implementation year. Therefore, the following impact questions are examined in this report:

  • What is the impact on student achievement of offering students the opportunity to participate in the enhanced after-school program for one school year?
  • Is this impact different in the second year of implementation than in the first year?

The study can also examine whether making the enhanced program available to students for two school years — thereby potentially lengthening studentsí average level of exposure to the program — improves student achievement. Hence, the following question is also addressed in this report:

  • What is the impact of offering students the opportunity to participate in the enhanced after-school programs for two consecutive years?
To help interpret and understand the magnitude of the impact findings, the study also examines how well the academic services received by the enhanced after-school program group were implemented, whether the implementation differed across implementation years, and whether there is a measurable difference between the services received by students assigned to the enhanced program and the services received by students assigned to the regular after-school program.

The report also examines two questions that cannot be answered based on the experimental design of the study. First, in order to provide information about the treatment for those who actually received it in both years (rather than the effect of offering two years of programming, which includes students who did not actually participate both years), this report examines the relationship between achievement and program participation for those students who participated in both years of the enhanced after-school services. Second, because the enhanced program was offered in a variety of settings, this report also examines the association between impacts on achievement and the variation in the local school context, as well as variation in program implementation. These nonexperimental findings can then be used to help interpret the generalizability of the overall experimental findings, as well as generate possible avenues for program improvement.

Top