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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1860/3255

Title: The impact of an academic sports-mentoring afterschool program on academic outcomes in at-risk youth
Authors: Green, Heather Kestner
Keywords: Clinical psychology;After-school programs;Juvenile delinquency -- Prevention
Issue Date: 10-Jun-2010
Abstract: Afterschool programs for at-risk students serve as secondary prevention programs addressing juvenile delinquency and school dropout. While previous research has found interpersonal, developmental and academic benefits for students who participate in afterschool programs, their conclusions are limited by the lack of a control group. This study sought to expand the literature by comparing the academic outcomes of sixth and seventh grade low-income, urban youth who participated in SquashSmarts, an academic sports-mentoring afterschool program to those of a comparison group of students who attended the same schools. Because participants in afterschool programs are a self-selected group, random assignment of participants and non-participants in the experimental condition was not possible. Selected by the their ability to commit to 80% attendance, SquashSmarts’ students participate in the afterschool program three times per week, during which they receive one-on-one homework help and coaching to learn the game of squash. This study contributes to the current literature base by examining an underrepresented population (low-income, urban youth), the impact of program intensity on academic outcomes, and differences between students who are low-achieving and those who are performing as expected. Consistent with predictions, results found that students who participate in the SquashSmarts improved their overall grade point averages significantly more than their non-participating peers. In contrast, SquashSmarts’ students’ scores on academic achievement tests declined, as well as their level of academic engagement. It appears that the unexpected drop in SquashSmarts students’ academic achievement test scores may be due, in part, to the shorter pre-post period employed in this study, as well as situational factors associated with the testing. Additionally, unexpected declines in Academic Engagement scores may have been due to the age of the Middle School participants. Implications for future outcome studies on afterschool programs in the context of difficult economic times are discussed, as are smaller scale data collection efforts lead by afterschool program directors.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1860/3255
Appears in Collections:Drexel Theses and Dissertations

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