Texas 21st Century Community Learning Centers: 2014-15 Evaluation

Elizabeth Devaney
Feng Liu
Joseph Shields and Eric Booth, Gibson Consulting Group, Inc.

Research indicates that afterschool programs can significantly improve youth outcomes in such areas as academic performance, student attendance rates, and incidence of disciplinary actions. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) has implemented a number of state and federally funded afterschool initiatives in Texas, including the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program (21st CCLC), and has been working with AIR since 2007 to understand their implementation and impact.

AIR’s most recent evaluation found that students participating in the Texas 21st CCLC program—also known as Afterschool Centers on Education (ACE)—saw improvements in their State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) math scores, fewer disciplinary incidents and absences than non-participating students, and an increased likelihood of being promoted to the next grade level. The evaluation also revealed a relationship between participation in a high quality program and improved outcomes.

Key Findings

  • Participation in high quality programs was associated with reduced absences as compared to participating in low quality programs.
  • Students who participated in ACE for 60 or more days showed improved STAAR mathematics performance, decreased school day discipline incidents and absences, and increased likelihood to be promoted to the next grade level.
  • Participating in a combination of ACE enrichment and academic intervention was more effective in improving student outcomes than just participating in one of those program types alone.
  • Using a Learning Strategies approach (e.g., hands-on learning focused on developing learning skills broadly) and a face-to-face mode of delivery were most effective in leading to improved outcomes.