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Knowledge From the Field

After-School Programs for High School Students: An Evaluation of After School Matters

Published: June 2011

Publisher(s): Northwestern University

Author(s): Hirsch, Barton J.; Larry V. Hedges; Megan A. Mekinda; JulieAnn Stawicki

Funder(s): Chicago Community Trust, Wallace Foundation, William T. Grant Foundation

View Report (115 pages; 2.06MB; PDF)

Area of Focus: Out-of-School Time


The report presents results from a three-year, random assignment evaluation study of Chicagoís After School Matters (ASM), a paid apprentice-type program for high school youth. The majority of control youth were involved in other organized after-school activities or paid work, so the study was a comparison between ASM and an alternative treatment.

Key Findings and/or Recommendations

+There were statistically significant differences favoring After School Matters for positive youth development (higher self-regulation) and problem behaviors (youth in treatment group reported fewer problem behaviors on a 10-item index), but effect sizes were small.

=There were no significant differences between the groups for marketable job skills or academic success.

=ASM program recommendations include: engaging youth more fully, providing training and supervision for instructors in building a curriculum that deepens over the semesters, learning from ASMís own best practices, and focusing more on transferable skills (both job skills and positive youth development).

Focus: Chicago

Subjects/Keywords: Adolescents; After-School Programs; Children and Youth; High School Education; Job Training

+ Successful strategy
= Observation
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