A project of the Afterschool Alliance.

Supporting Student Success in Middle Schools: Examining the Relationship between Elementary Afterschool Program Participation and Subsequent Middle School Attainments

Year Published: 2011

An analysis of 20,000 Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) middle school students who were enrolled in schools that offered the Los Angeles’ Better Educated Students for Tomorrow (LA’s BEST) program, comparing students who participated in LA’s BEST in elementary school to students who did not participate. Based on the results of this quasi-experimental study, the more a student participated in LA’s BEST, the better their academic outcomes were in middle school. At 50 days, gains were shown in general math; at 80 days, gains were shown in algebra, science, and history; at 140 days gains were shown in language arts.

Program Name: LA's BEST

Program Description: LA’s BEST, created by Mayor Tom Bradley in 1988, provides supervision and academic support between the hours of 3 and 6 p.m. to Los Angeles’ large population of underserved youth. Through their programming, LA’s BEST provides students age 5-12 with snacks, homework help, and enrichment activities.

Scope of the Evaluation: Local

Program Type: Afterschool

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Community Type: Urban

Grade level: Middle School

Program Demographics: Serves a diverse student population from LA’s low-income and underserved communities. Approximately 85 percent of LA’s BEST participants were Hispanic and approximately 2/3 were English Language Learners.

Program Website: http://www.lasbest.org/

Evaluator: Huang, D., La Torre, D., Leon, S., Duong, N., & Hodson, C. Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards and Student Testing (CRESST), University of California, Los Angeles.

Evaluation Methods: In this longitudinal study of 20,000 students from the Los Angeles Unified School District, data was collected on academic performance, school day behavior, and participation in the LA’s BEST program, including California Standards Test (CST) scores in math and English language arts and grade point averages in a variety of subject areas. The study identified and compared students who participated in LA’s BEST (10,104 students) to those who did not participate in the program (9,840 students). Students’ academic outcomes during their middle school years were examined based on their participation level in the LA’s BEST program from third to fifth grade. Baseline academic achievement, parental education, ethnicity, gender, and limited English proficient status were all accounted for when comparing participant and non-participant groups.

Evaluation Type: Quasi-experimental

Summary of Outcomes: The study found that the more a student participated in LA’s BEST during their elementary school years, the better their academic outcomes were in eighth grade math, science, history, and language arts. Increases in math grades were significant for students who participated in LA’s BEST for at least 50 days, and they continued to increase as students’ program participation increased. For students who participated in LA’s BEST at least 70 days, significant gains were seen in algebra and science grade point averages (GPA) and among students participating in the program at least 80 days, significant gains were seen in U.S. History GPA. Significant gains were seen in language arts among students who participated in the program for at least 140 days. The study also found that students’ grades in all subject areas continued to increase with increased program participation levels.

Significant gains among students who participated in LA’s BEST were seen in math California Standard Test (CST) scores after 80 days of participation and in algebra CST scores after 120 days of participation. However, significant gains were not seen in English language arts (ELA) CST scores at any participation level.

Associated Evaluation: https://www.cse.ucla.edu/downloads/files/Huang.etal.AERA.paper.pdf

Date Added: September 27, 2016