Monday, May 16, 2011

The Role of Research for OST Providers #a4aChallenge

Quick thoughts from today’s conference session on research.

Afterschool and summer programs make dramatic impacts on lives and communities – but its only through rigorous research and evaluation that we can make that case. Examples of benefits/outcomes that have been proven through research/evaluation:

- Proof of improved academic outcomes (grades, test scores)

- Analysis outlining that higher dosage of OST learning produces better results

- Youth with the greatest risks realize the greatest benefits of these programs

- Improved feelings, behaviors, safety, and in-school behavior

- Health and wellness benefits

- Productivity – working parents miss less work and work more hours when children are in programs. Saves $50-300 billion in lost productivity! Every dollar invested in afterschool saves taxpayers $3 in school-related costs – and even more when you include crime and other secondary costs!

Not only will solid research provide suggestions/lessons for program improvement based on the outcomes listed above, but it can allow your organization to advocate in a widespread way for afterschool programs – to make the case externally for the value of afterschool, and raise awareness about its impact.

Win win!

- Rachel Gwaltney

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