Understanding Key Elements, Processes, and Outcomes of Expanded Learning Systems: A Review of the Literature
Every Hour Counts Literature Review
More is expected of students and graduates today than ever before. With ever-increasing expectations, it’s not surprising that schools struggle to squeeze everything into a six-hour day; expanded-learning systems fill these critical gaps. AIR was commissioned by Every Hour Counts, formerly the Collaborative for Building After-School Systems, to write a literature review as it was in the process of revising its 2008 measurement framework to reflect changes in policy, practice, and research (see the revised measurement framework).
The purpose of this literature review is to define key elements, processes, and outcomes of expanded learning systems. This review informs the outcomes selected for inclusion in the revised framework, which consists of 8 elements and 28 outcomes, across three levels of organization: system, program, and youth. As such, the review is organized to parallel the framework. The review aims to understand promising practices employed by systems that may support program-level quality, the best program practices that may ultimately promote positive youth outcomes, and the specific youth outcomes that programs can influence which ultimately lead to academic and life success. The review draws primarily from the fields of positive youth development, afterschool, and out-of-school time but also draws on research in health, education, early childhood, and prevention. It contains peer-reviewed research as well as promising practices, policy briefs, and research reports published by national think tanks and associations.