The Connection between Afterschool Programs and In-School Success: The Science Mentoring Project

Tuesday, March 1, 2005
Resource Type:
Peer-reviewed article | Research Products
Environment Type: 
Public Programs, Afterschool Programs
Elementary School Children (6-10) | Middle School Children (11-13) | Youth/Teen (up to 17) | Educators/Teachers | Museum/ISE Professionals
Ecology, forestry, and agriculture | Education and learning science | Life science
Access and Inclusion: 
Immigrant Communities
English Language Learners
Low Socioeconomic Status
Academy for Educational Development

This study investigated the ways in which the Science Mentoring Project, an afterschool program with a youth development focus and mentoring component, helped fifth-grade participants develop key competencies in five areas: personal, social, cognitive, creative, and civic competencies. Development of these competencies, in turn, positively affected participants’ school experiences. Using program observations, teacher interviews, student surveys, a student focus group, and mentor feedback forms, researchers studied how—not just whether—the project’s youth development activities affected school performance. The study’s evidence suggests that developing the key competencies affected three areas of participants’ school experiences: engagement and motivation, including increased interest in possible science careers; constructive behaviors, including positive risk-taking; and academic skills and knowledge, including increased awareness of environmental issues and vocabulary. The role models provided by high school mentors also helped build a critical foundation for student success. The findings of this study suggest the importance of including a youth development focus in afterschool programs.

Publication Name: 
Afterschool Matters
Occasional Paper #4

Team Members

Cheri FancsaliCheri FancsaliAuthor
Nancy NevarezNancy NevarezAuthor

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