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Study of Best Practices in Afterschool Programming

University of Wisconsin-Madison

  • Program Education
  • Program Area Advancing Afterschool
  • Grant Amount $3,000,000
  • Grant Period January 1, 2003–December 31, 2008
  • Location Madison, WI, United States
  • Geographic Focus United States

About this grant

In 2001, the University of Wisconsin-Madison began exploring and planning a rigorous study of best practices in afterschool programming to complement a 21st Century Community Learning Center’s (21st CCLC) evaluation. While the 21st CCLC evaluation examines the characteristics and impacts of the average 21st CCLC site, the University of Wisconsin-Madison study seeks to determine what makes the best afterschool programs effective and the difference these programs make for at-risk children and youth.Multiyear funding will support a study to analyze student outcomes in the areas of academic, social, psychological and behavioral development, looking at both intermediate and long-term outcomes in the program and at school and home. The study will use a longitudinal design, evaluating students over three years. It will target third- and sixth-grade students at approximately 40 school-based or school-linked afterschool programs and assess the effects by comparing outcomes for afterschool participants and nonparticipants. Objectives of the study include a policy report focused on issues of interest to policymakers; publications in scholarly journals; and a half-day conference to provide directors of all participating programs an opportunity to learn the findings, discuss implications and network.Major activities during the first year included developing a theory of change; identifying expected outcomes and planned measures; developing instruments; sampling parameters and timelines for data collection; conducting an extensive national search for sites; and consulting with experts and practitioners.