Date of Paper


Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)


Social Work

First Advisor

Kari L. Fletcher


Social Work


Currently in the United States there is a gap in academic achievement within the school system. For the purpose of this study, academic achievement is defined as grade point average, school attendance, test scores, and graduation rate. White (non-Latino) students are outperforming students of color, and many students of color are not meeting the necessary criteria to graduate from high school. While it is currently not possible for any one group of people to change the education system in the United States, it is important to look at ways we can serve the students that are currently being ignored. While the current education system focuses on teaching students what they need to know to pass a test, also termed “teaching to the test,” many students, particularly students of color, are being failed by the system. The purpose of this research is to assess if supports found in after-school programs increase academic achievement. While not much research has been conducted in this area, the research that has been conducted found students who participate in after-school programs have higher levels of academic achievement than those who do not. The factors in after-school programs that have been found to increase academic achievement are: a supportive adult in the student’s life; when students are encouraged to understand concepts, rather than how to take a test; when students were taught to manage their negative behaviors, and learn how to work cohesively as a team with peers. Given the results of the research that currently exists, it is imperative that school systems begin to incorporate these supports into their systems. Additionally, results from this study may imply that incorporating similar supports into the public school system will help to increase the academic achievement of students of color, thus decreasing the achievement gap between students of color and White (non-Hispanic) Students.

Included in

Social Work Commons