A project of the Afterschool Alliance.

Washington 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program Evaluation: 2012-2013 and 2013-2014

Year Published: 2015

This statewide evaluation of Washington’s 21st CCLC grantees assesses the impact of the program on participating students during the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 academic school years. Data collected on youth outcomes included reading and math achievement, GPA, school day absences, disciplinary incidents, and surveys of students that examined students’ motivation, engagement, and beliefs. This study found that students who regularly participated in Washington’s 21st CCLC programs saw gains in their math and reading performance and grade point averages, compared with their non-participating peers. A positive impact was also found regarding school day absences and disciplinary incidents, where regular program participants had a lower number of unexcused absences and disciplinary incidents compared to students not participating in the program.

Program Name: Washington's 21st CCLC program

Program Description: Washington’s 21st Century Community Learning Center program—which has received federal support through the 21st CCLC initiative—serves high-needs communities across the state, providing local afterschool and summer programming to 56 grantees operating 176 centers and serving 21,701 students during the 2012-2013 school year and 55 grantees operating 161 centers serving a total of 18,366 students during the 2013-2014 school year. For both the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 periods, roughly 60 percent of participating students were regular attendees.

Scope of the Evaluation: Statewide

Program Type: Afterschool, Before school

Location: Washington

Grade level: Elementary School, Middle School, High School

Program Demographics: Among regular attendees, approximately 3 in 4 students qualified for free or reduced price lunch (73 percent in 2012-2013 and 74 percent in 2013-2014), more than 40 percent were Hispanic (42 percent in 2012-2013 and 43 percent in 2013-2014), almost a quarter were English language learners (21 percent in 2012-2013 and 23 percent in 2013-2014), and roughly 1 in 10 were classified as special needs (11 percent in 2012-2013 and 12 percent in 2013-2014).

Program Website: http://www.k12.wa.us/21stCenturyLearning/

Evaluator: Naftzger, N., Sniegowski, S., Devaney, E., Liu, F., Hutson, M., Adams, N., & American Institutes for Research

Evaluation Methods: This analysis included data for 161 sites from 55 current 21st CCLC grantees in the 2013-2014 academic year and 176 sites from 56 current grantees from the 2012-2013 academic year. Data on grantee characteristics, the student population served and the extent to which students showed improvements in academic-related behaviors and achievement was collected through the Annual Performance Report (APR) completed by grantees annually. Youth outcome data was collected from the Comprehensive Education Data and Research System (CEDARS), Youth Program Quality Assessments (YPQA), and staff and student surveys. Propensity score matching was implemented to estimate the impact of 21st CCLC programs on participants compared to non-participating students.

Evaluation Type: Quasi-experimental

Summary of Outcomes: The evaluation of the 2012-2013 academic year found that students attending Washington’s 21st CCLC afterschool programs 60 days or more saw statistically significant improvements in their math achievement, as well as a positive impact on their cumulative GPAs and credits earned/credits attempted, when compared to their non-participating peers. Regarding reading achievement for the 2012-2013 academic year, a statistically significant impact was not found; however, there were significant positive impacts found during the 2011-2012 school year for students attending the program at least 30 days and students attending the program at least 60 days. Participants who attended 30 days or less did not see significant improvements in their math or reading grades, and students who participated more than 60 days did not see improvement in their reading grades.

Students who regularly participated in the programs at the 30 day and 60 day participation thresholds had fewer unexcused absences and fewer disciplinary incidents than non-participating students. The evaluation of the 2013-2014 academic year found that a majority (54 percent) of responding youth felt their program helped them academically.

The evaluation also found that the majority of youth participating in the program during the 2013-2014 school year reported having positive experiences in programming using the Youth Motivation, Engagement, and Beliefs Survey. For example, 56 percent of students’ responses fell within the “completely true” range when asked a series of questions related to belonging and being engaged in the program, and 54 percent of responses fell within the “completely true” range when asked a series of questions regarding if the program had a positive impact on their academics.