A project of the Afterschool Alliance.

21st Century Community Learning Centers: A Descriptive Evaluation for 2014-2015

Year Published: 2015

A statewide evaluation of West Virginia’s 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) programs during the 2014-15 school year to examine the program’s impact on participating students’ academics and school day behavior. Key findings of the report include—based on teacher surveys—approximately 3 in 4 students improved their homework completion and participation in class and approximately 7 in 10 improved their academic performance, behavior in class, and engagement in learning. The evaluation also included findings from surveys of program directors to evaluate the successes, challenges, parent participation, and relationships with partners of 21st CCLC programs. Results from program directors showed that student involvement and high attendance were their greatest successes, and personnel issues was the biggest challenge. Furthermore, programs desired more professional development training—specifically in sustainability and personnel issues, greater parent engagement, and improvements in the 21st CCLC database collection system.
 

Program Name: West Virginia’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers

Program Description:  West Virginia’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) program, a federal grant program designed to serve high-needs communities with afterschool and summer programming, operated 139 sites across the state and served more than 11,000 children during the 2014-2015 school year. Between 2004 and 2015, the programs have served more than 120,000 students.

Scope of the Evaluation: Statewide

Program Type: Afterschool

Location: West Virginia

Community Type: Rural, Urban, Suburban

Grade level: Elementary School, Middle School, High School

Program Demographics: Among students participating in West Virginia’s 21st CCLC program during the 2014-15 school year, 61 percent were elementary school students, 25 percent were middle school students, and 16 percent were high school students.

Program Website: http://wvde.state.wv.us/21stcclc/

Evaluator: White, L. J., Hammer, P. C., & Whisman, A.

Evaluation Methods: This evaluation used a combination of quasi-experimental and non-experimental methods to assess students’ academic performance and classroom behavior. Evaluators compared the West Virginia General Summative Assessment scores in English language arts and math achievement of 1,864 students participating in a West Virginia 21st CCLC program for at least 30 days to a matched control group of non-participating students.
 
Additionally, survey responses from school day teachers were used to evaluate changes in students’ class participation, academic performance, attendance, and homework completion. Survey responses from directors were used to assess success of program partnerships; professional development supported by 21st CCLC programs; parent and community involvement; and successes, challenges, and recommendations for the future of the program. Surveys were distributed to 23 directors of 21st CCLC programs and 929 school teachers of 11,299 participating students.

Evaluation Type: Quasi-experimental;Non-experimental

Summary of Outcomes: This statewide evaluation of West Virginia’s 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) programs during the 2014-15 school year examined the program’s impact on participating students’ academics and school day behavior. Positive findings were reported based on teachers surveyed in relation to student improvements in academic performance, homework completion, behavior in class, and engagement in learning. However, based on assessment data from the West Virginia General Summative Assessment for students grades 3-11, no statistically significant difference in mathematics or English/language arts between participants and nonparticipants was seen.
 
Regarding a change in behaviors among students participating in a 21st CCLC program, teachers reported that most students saw improvements in key classroom behaviors. Teachers reported that approximately 3 in 4 students improved their homework completion (76 percent) and participation in class (76 percent) and approximately 7 in 10 improved their academic performance (73 percent), behavior in class (71 percent), ability to get along with other students (70 percent), coming to school motivated to learn (68 percent), and class attentiveness (65 percent). Teachers also reported that 63 percent of students showed improvement in their classroom attendance.
 
Program director surveys focused on the successes and challenges of their programs, the source of volunteers, how program partnerships were being utilized, professional development, and community and parent involvement. A majority of director responses cited that the greatest success of their programs were student involvement and participation in programs. The greatest challenges for programs were personnel issues (hiring, finding new quality staff, training new staff, etc.), improving parent participation, and funding. Responses to these surveys indicated that K-12 service learning programs were the largest source of volunteers, followed by parents; partners with programs were most commonly utilized for their resources (28 percent) and programming (22 percent); directors desired more professional development training and resources on program sustainability, staff development, and STEM/STEAM. When asked to make recommendations to improve the program, the most frequent recommendation by program directors was to improve the 21st CCLC data collection system.