How After-School Activities Help Students in the Classroom

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Sophie LeFevre |
November 13, 2019 |
For Teachers |

We may be biased, but the impact of after-school activities on student success is innumerable. It’s easy to recognize the benefits of students being in a learning environment after-school rather than at home alone. They are able to gain valuable skills and knowledge while staying away from potential crime or drug use. But how are after-school activities benefiting students in the classroom?

First and foremost, after-school activities have been shown to increase test scores and academic performance. This is significant for students and schools alike considering the impact test scores have on school funding. It’s been shown that among lower-income students, the more often and consistently students attend after-school activities, the smaller the math achievement gap is between them and their higher-income peers¹.

Improved attendance plays a big role in increased test scores and class performance. Research shows that students who participated in evidence-based after-school activities saw significant improvement in their school-day attendance². Furthermore, students attending after-school activities regularly have a decreased likelihood of dropping out of school.

The benefits aren’t purely academic. In one 3 year study, students who were kept more engaged after-school did better on “a range of academic, social, and behavioral outcomes.³” After-school activities boost confidence in a significant way, whether it’s because they are able to excel at a subject they enjoy, meet new friends, or find a hidden talent.

The effects of a student spending more time at school reverberate into their personal life, and then back to the classroom, creating a fully beneficial cycle. For instance, participation in after-school programs has been linked to both a reduction in drug use⁴ and criminal activity⁵. Naturally, when kids are making good decisions outside of the classroom, they are able to give more time and attention to their school work.

The points we touched on here are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the benefits after-school activities provide for students. With impacts as significant as these, why are there still 19.4 million students in the U.S. who would be enrolled in an after-school activity if one were available to them?⁶ For every child in an after-school program, there are still two who are waiting to get in.⁷

We want to help close that gap. To take the first step towards making after-school more accessible at your school, visit to learn more.


Photo by Santi Vedri.

[1] Afterschool Alliance, “What Does the Research Say About Afterschool?” Accessed November 13, 2019.
[2] Ibid
[3] Education Week, “High-Quality After-School Programs Tied to Test-Score Gains” Accessed November 13, 2019.
[4] Investing in Our Young People, University of Chicago, 2006
[5] UCLA National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards and Student Testing, 2007
[6] Afterschool Alliance, “America After 3PM: Afterschool Programs in Demand” Accessed November 13, 2019.
[7] Ibid