Afterschool Programs: A Review of Evidence Under the Every Student Succeeds Act

Posted by Research for Action on April 23, 2019

Millions of American parents rely on afterschool programs to provide supervision, academic support, physical activity, and enrichment for their children. Federal funding for afterschool programs, most notably from the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program, is especially important for low-income families.

A new report summarizes the research on the effectiveness of afterschool programs, with a special focus on identifying programs that meet evidence requirements under the 2015 Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). ESSA encourages–and in some cases requires–that funding recipients establish that their programs are backed by evidence of effectiveness.

The report identifies 148 afterschool programs with studies meeting ESSA’s three most rigorous research quality tiers. Of those, 64 programs also have evidence of positive impact. “Taken together,” the authors write, “the programs improved a variety of outcomes, ranging from mathematics and reading achievement to physical activity and health, school attendance, promotion and graduation, and social and emotional competencies.” The report concludes with recommendations for program providers, states, evaluators, and the federal government, while an in-depth companion guide provides further details about the afterschool programs and their associated studies.

Click here to read the complete report from Research for Action and partners Abt Associates, Inc., and McClanahan Associates. For more information, contact Katie Carter, Communications Coordinator, at

Afterschool Programs: A Review of Evidence Under the Every Student Succeeds Act

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