Enrollment in after-school programs sponsored by the state Department of Education helped California students make academic gains, according to a study at UC Irvine.
At a news conference in Sacramento on Friday, state Supt. of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin released an evaluation of the program, which creates partnerships with local communities to provide academic enrichment in after-school activities.
Administrators say the study of standardized test scores and promotion rates proves that students in those after-school programs are doing better than students who are not enrolled in them.
"It's a matter of extending the school day," said Pat Rainey, administrator of the Before and After School Learning and Safe Neighborhoods Partnerships Program, which receives $87.8 million a year in state funds for about 1,000 centers. "School is no longer just 8 to 3. It's about allowing kids extra time to be around their peers and learn new things from other people."
Students originally scoring in the lowest 25% on the SAT 9 standardized test showed the largest improvement after participating in the after-school program, according to the UC Irvine study. In reading, 4.2% of after-school participants moved out of the lowest 25% compared with 1.9% of all students statewide. In math, 2.5% of after-school participants moved out of the lowest 25% as compared with 1.9% statewide.
Dr. Joan Bissell of UC Irvine, the author of the report, said second- and third-grade students in the after-school program were promoted to the next grade levels at significantly higher rates than children who weren't.