A project of the Afterschool Alliance.

Building Quality, Scale, and Effectiveness in After-School Programs: Summary Report of the TASC Evaluation

Year Published: 2004

An external evaluation of The After-School Corporation (TASC), which works to increase the availability of quality afterschool programs in New York City, that collected data spanning four school years from 96 TASC afterschool projects and their host schools in New York City and compared students participating in TASC to students not enrolled in the afterschool programs. The TASC model is a partnership between a public school and a local nonprofit organization that provides afterschool programming free of charge to New York City students enrolled in the school. At the elementary and middle school levels, TASC participants showed gains in math achievement and school attendance. At the high school level, afterschool participants passed more Regents exams, attended school more regularly, and earned more high school credits than their non-participating peers.

Scope of the Evaluation: Local

Program Type: Afterschool

Location: New York, NY

Community Type: Urban

Grade level: Elementary School, Middle School, High School

Program Demographics: The schools in the evaluation sample enrolled higher percentages of students from low-income families, low-achieving students, and children of color. Eighty-nine percent of participants qualified for free or reduced price lunch, 48 percent were Hispanic, 26 percent were African-American, 8 percent were Caucasian and 7 percent were Asian or Pacific Islander. Fourteen percent of participants were English Language Learners and 7 percent had special needs or disabilities.

Evaluator: Reisner, E. R., White, R. N., Russell, C. A., & Birmingham, J. Policy Studies Associates, Inc.

Evaluation Methods: Evaluators collected data from a total of 96 The After-School Corporation (TASC) sites through surveys, site visits, focus groups and a review of administrative records. Survey data was collected from TASC site coordinators, TASC afterschool staff, school principals, parents, and students. Student survey data was only collected from projects first funded in year one (about half). The report also stated that “because the full sample size was not attained until year two for the site coordinator, staff, and principal surveys, most cross-time comparisons reviewed in the report span years two through four.”

Evaluation Type: Quasi-experimental

Summary of Outcomes: The evaluation of The After-School Corporation (TASC) reported on a number of benefits for students who participated in the afterschool program, including academic performance and school day attendance, which are detailed below and separated out by students in Pre-K through eighth grade and students in ninth through 12th grade. Principals of schools offering a TASC project were very supportive of the program, with 90 percent of principals reporting that the benefits of hosting a TASC project either “very much” or “somewhat” outweighed the costs of the project. Additionally, 95 percent of principals said that TASC gave students access to activities not available during the regular school day, 79 percent said that participants’ parents expressed more positive feelings about the school because the program provides a safe place for their children after school, and 66 percent said that afterschool participants received special opportunities to hone literacy skills.

Elementary and middle school participants: On average, participants made greater gains in math test scores than similar non-participants, with regular participants experiencing the greatest gains. Students who participated in TASC for one year saw greater math gains than non-participants, while students who participated in TASC for two years saw even more substantial gains compared to their non-participating peers.  Students who scored at or above grade level showed significant gains after both one and two years of programming, while students below grade level showed significant gains after two years of programming.

Additionally, this evaluation indicates this program was successful at reaching students who are more likely to be at-risk academically. There were significant differences seen between different ethnic groups, with African-American and Hispanic students exhibiting greater gains in math than Asian or Caucasian students. Students eligible for free and reduced priced lunch, English language learners and students with special needs or disabilities saw significant gains in math after both years of programming (this was not the case for recent immigrants). Comparable findings in reading and English language arts were not apparent.

Improved school day attendance was also reported for TASC participants compared to their peers who did not participate in the program.  After both years one and two of the study, average school day attendance was significantly higher for participants than similar non-participants.  Regular school day attendance improved especially among seventh and eighth grade participants, increasing by 2.7 school days compared to non-participants.

High school participants: Although the study cautioned findings related to high school students (see pgs. 35-36 of the full report), high school afterschool participants passed more Regents exams, attended school more regularly and earned more high school credits than their non-participating peers.