Academic Achievement as a Predictor of Involvement in Extracurricular Activities for African American Children


Deborah L. Winston
Executive Director
Office of Literacy
Detroit Public Schools
Detroit, Michigan
dlwin722@gmail.com

Janice E. Hale
Professor of Early Childhood Education & Founding Director of the Institute for the Study of the African American Child (ISAAC)
Wayne State University
Detroit, Michigan
janiceehale@cs.com

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of participation in extracurricular, community–based, and religious activities on African American elementary school children’s school behavior, goal orientation and academic–related perceptions and beliefs.

A non–experimental, descriptive research design was used in this study. Two surveys, the Patterns of Adaptive Learning Scales (PALS) and a short demographic survey were used to collect data from the students in the fourth, fifth, and sixth grades who were attending a charter school academy located in an urban area in a large Midwestern state. A total of 102 students participated in the study. The sample included 36 fourth grade, 33 fifth grade, and 33 sixth grade students. The students were between 8 and 13 years of age, with the fourth grade students ranging from 8 to 11 years, fifth grade students ranging from 9 to 12 years, and sixth grade students ranging from 10 to 13 years.

The findings of the study indicated that the students were involved in many school–based extracurricular and community–based activities. More than two thirds of the students attended religious activities at least once a week. There was a direct relationship between students’ self–reported academic achievement and mastery goal orientation. Some statistically significant relationships were found between students’ academic achievement and their participation in school extracurricular, community–based activities, and religious activities. Recommendations for further study are provided.

Keywords: Achievement gap, African American children, Extracurricular, Community Based and Religious Activities

Introduction

The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship whether self–reported academic achievement is a predictor of participation in extracurricular, community–based and religious activities among African American elementary school children. The study further sought to examine the impact of participation in extracurricular, community–based, and religious activities on the students’ school behavior, goal orientation and academic–related perceptions, beliefs, and strategies.

The achievement gap between European American and low opportunity students, especially African American and Hispanic — persists. Johnston and Viadero (2000) wrote, “The disparity in school performance tied to race and ethnicity, known as the achievement gap, shows up in grades, test scores, course selection, and college completion” (p. 1). Proposed solutions for remedying the widening achievement gap are numerous. Various remedies proposed as solutions in the academic literature include: providing programs to address the needs of the poor, raising students’ and teachers’ expectations, developing programs to increase parental involvement in homes and schools, improving teacher training, providing additional financial resources to all school districts and increasing standardized testing among students. Despite these and other efforts, the problem continues.

Researchers have studied high school students’ involvement in extra– and co–curricular activities and the impact of that involvement on academic achievement for decades. Much of the research was based on the seminal work of Coleman (1961). Coleman’s (1961) findings suggested that involvement in non–academic extracurricular pursuits was counter to attaining educational excellence. He asserted that adolescents were drawn to non–academic extracurricular activities which took away valuable time better used for academic pursuits. Coleman suggested that the time adolescents spent doing extracurricular activities negatively impacted academic results.

The majority of the studies that examined student participation in extra– and co–curricular activities and their relationship to academic achievement focused on White, middle–class, male high school students. The research, therefore, on minority students’ participation in extracurricular activities and its impact on academic achievement is limited (Braddock, Royster, Winfield, & Hawkins, 1991; Finn & Rock, 1997; Mahoney, & Cairns, 1997; Nettles, 1991).

Bronfenbrenner (1986) suggested that after–school programs, extended–day programs, and community–based programs could all serve to provide support and enrichment to the child. Brown and Steinberg (1991) wrote that after–school programs with an academic focus positively impacted academic achievement. “Those who concentrated on ‘glory’ sports (football, basketball, baseball) or performing activities had a significantly lower academic record than those who concentrated on leadership activities or clubs and interest groups” (p.5). Marsh (1992) stated that students’ participation in extracurricular activities had a small, but positive impact on their commitment to school and grade point averages (GPA). These activities were: “sports, honor societies, student government, community service organizations, school publications, church organizations, school subject matter activities, and cheerleading” (p. 24). There are movements such as the Supplementary Education Movement (Gordon, Bridglall, & Meroe, 2005) that promote the value of cultural enrichment activities for children. Cultural “enrichment activities” is a blanket term for co– and extra–curricular activities that supplement the academic curriculum. However, those movements focus on after school activities that are structured by White middle–class parents. It is more difficult for lower income African American parents to pay for those activities and transport their children to participate.

Because schools have children within their buildings and under their direct influence for a minimum of six hours, five days a week for an average of 180 days yearly, the schools often function as the primary “care–taker” of children. Alexander (2001) stated, “Next to the family, the school is the greatest institution of socialization in American Society (p. 57). In Hale’s (2001) opinion, schools, for lower income children should assume the role of provider and/or coordinator of those activities that serve as “protective factors” for children. The schools should act as enrichment agents for children, “in loco parentis” – in place of the parents when necessary. The school can provide protective factors for children by keeping them active in the school setting with a variety of extracurricular activities. Being engaged in enriching activities can keep them constructively busy. It also keeps them away from being exposed to, or possibly involved in negative or harmful activities in their neighborhoods. Churches also provide protective factors such as enriching, organized activities, mentoring and character building opportunities.

School districts have made many attempts at school reform to make the academic outcomes positive for its students. However, most school reform efforts have centered heavily on the quantity and quality of the core academic subjects offered to students. Reading, writing, science, mathematics and foreign languages have received the attention of most educators and legislators. However, despite more children than ever before in America’s history having access to a high school education, the academic discrepancy between European American students and African American students remains. Factors other than the core academic subjects affect achievement. Therefore, the impact of extra–curricular activities examined in this study.

The present study is guided by Hale’s (2001) school reform model which includes three essential components. They are:

  1. A pedagogy that features culturally salient instruction;
  2. Strategies for implementing an instructional accountability infrastructure within the school; and
  3. A plan to move African American children from remediation to enrichment.

The third component of this model made it most unique in comparison to many school reform models. The cultural enrichment component looked at other influences in addition to and in support of academically oriented practices that affect the academic achievement of African American children. Hale’s admonition to move African American children from remediation to enrichment is a challenging, yet attainable goal.

By examining how this younger population spends time investing in their futures, a direct link between the activities in which the children are involved and student achievement was examined. This information could help to shape the curriculums of schools, especially for African American children who are still shut out of “high quality” educational experiences. Hale (2001) maintains that when children are exposed to enriching experiences at home, at school and in the community, a canvas is created for artistic teaching in the classroom. She further argued that in most traditional efforts at school reform, the focus is upon lengthening the school day and year, essentially offering a greater quantity of what is already being done. She pointed out that attention should be given to the quantity and quality of extracurricular and community–based experiences provided to children that support academic achievement.

Hale (2001) suggests that participation in cultural enrichment activities enables children: to develop social and political skills; to identify talents and interests that can lead to satisfying leisure time activities and careers; and to find meaning in their daily lives. She stipulated that “it is essential that inner–city children be given an opportunity to participate in activities that enable them, in the words of Thurman (1980), the African American theologian–mystic, to identify the genuine in themselves” (p. 143).

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study was to examine the impact of participation in extracurricular, community–based, and religious activities on the students’ self–reported school behavior, goal orientation, and academic–related perceptions and beliefs.

A seminal study provides empirical evidence that participation in cultural enrichment activities has a positive impact on outcomes for African American students in particular. Fleming (1985) identified the opportunity to provide leadership in extracurricular activities as one of three factors that caused African American students to grow more intellectually in historically Black colleges as compared to the outcomes of African American students attending White colleges.

Additionally, Nettles (1989) stated, “… structured school–based or community–based after–school and weekend activities, if carried out properly, can provide both rewards and challenges for adolescents that facilitate social, moral, and intellectual development” (p. 1). Additional studies: (Benard, 1991; Braddock et. al, 1991; Finn & Rock, 1997; Shulruf, Boaz, 2010; Simoncini & Caltabiono & 2012) supported the importance of children being involved in meaningful school activities. Borman and Rachuba (2001) posited that the school environment that provides “opportunities for students to become meaningfully and productively involved and engaged within the school” promotes academic success” (p. 3).

Figure 1 presents a graphical representation of the interrelatedness of the types of activities and their influence on student outcomes. It is clear from this figure that student involvement in extra–curricular activities, community based activities and religious activities have an impact on their self–reported academic achievement; their self–reported classroom behavior; their goal orientation; and their academic related perceptions, beliefs and strategies.

Figure 1: Influence of Participation in School�based, Community�based, and Religious Activities on Student Outcomes.

Figure 1. Influence of Participation in School–based, Community–based, and Religious Activities on Student Outcomes.

Significance of the Study

This study is important because children spend almost half of their waking hours outside of school. According to several authors (Dotterer, McHale, Crouter, 2007; Hofferth & Sandberg, 2001; Miller, O'Connor, Siriganano, & Joshi, 1997) “Children spend only 20% of their waking time in school, because public schools meet only for 6 hours per day, 180 days per year. This [time frame] leaves 185 days and many hours each day free – a time of both risk and opportunity” (p. 1).

The kinds of activities in which children invest their time can influence their immediate and future lives. Most of the previous research, however, has been conducted on European American, middle–class high school students. By examining younger African American children, patterns of academic success can be identified at an earlier age and generalized to broader populations.

The data could be useful in helping parents, educators and policy–makers shape African American children’s leisure activities, academic curricula, and social environments to bring about successful school and future career experiences for children. Additionally, by providing a road map early in children’s lives, the number of children having school and life successes could increase.

Furthermore, this study sought to document the categories and quantity of cultural enrichment to which African American children were exposed. Understanding their exposure to enrichment activities was achieved by collecting data on how African American elementary children used non–instructional time in and outside of school.

Data were collected to examine the inter–relatedness between the categories and quantity of enrichment activities that children engaged in and how that involvement supported academic achievement. The dependent variables of the study were: self–reported academic achievement, self–reported school behavior, goal orientation, and academic–related perceptions, beliefs and strategies.

With almost one half of children’s time being discretionary, it is important to examine specifically how this time is being spent and its impact on academic achievement. High academic achievement has a direct and lasting impact on the opportunities and careers to which children are exposed and often engaged in for an entire lifetime.

Children have daily, discretionary time that can be used for positive or negative pursuits. Timmons, Eccles, and O’Brien (1985) reported that,

…young adolescents (9–14) spent 42% of their time in discretionary activities such as viewing television, playing and hobbies, playing sports, and attending church. About 37 percent of their time was spent in what Timmons and his colleagues call productive activities, including school, studying, and reading. (p. 1)

These allocations of time have been supported by the findings of subsequent scholars, namely Hofferth & Sandberg, 2001 and Dotterer, McHale, & Crouter, 2007.

Dryfoos (2002) also argues that unstructured time could lead to negative behaviors.Previous studies (Carnegie Council on Youth Development, 1992; Conrad & Hedin, 1989; Mortimer, Finch, Shanahan & Rye, 1992; Nettles, 1989; Timmons, Eccles, & O’Brien, 1985) have focused on how children spend their out–of– school time, but these studies did not specifically examine its effect on academic achievement. Additional research is needed to determine if the results of previous studies conducted during the 1980s and 1990s remain relevant.

By examining the patterns of participation in extracurricular, community–based, and religious activities among elementary African American children, a largely overlooked population in the literature, it is hoped that educators could garner useful data in helping to design curricula that positively impact academic achievement.

The findings of this study could also provide policy–makers, school administrators, teachers, parents and concerned citizens with important information about the correlates of cultural enrichment. These findings could provide guidance for structuring enrichment activities for African American children, a vulnerable and most underserved group by public school environments that positively impact their academic achievement and futures. A key element in closing the achievement gap is to redefine the scope of activity of the school. The school is uniquely positioned to take the leadership in developing the talents of all children through cultural enrichment activities.

Methods

Research Question

The following research question was addressed in the study:

  1. Can elementary African American students’ self–reported academic achievement, self–reported school behavior, goal orientation, and academic–related perceptions, beliefs, and strategies be predicted from their participation in extracurricular, community–based and religious activities?

Assumptions

The following assumptions were used in this study:

  • African American children are more likely than European American children to attend schools that offer a limited variety of extracurricular activities.
  • African American children are less likely than European American children to live in communities that offer a variety of community–based activities.
  • The public schools that African American children attend must coordinate the extracurricular and community–based activities in which children are engaged. Involvement in extracurricular, community–based, and religious activities impacts academic achievement Finn & Rock, 1997).

Limitations

The generalizability of the study results were affected by the following limitations:

  1. The study was limited to students from a single elementary, public school academy located in an urban setting.
  2. The study was limited to students in grades four through six.
  3. The study was not an experimental study and the sample size for each grade level was small.
  4. The findings of the study may not be generalizable to students in traditional public schools.

Definition of Terms

The following terms are defined for this study. The definitions are terms used in the survey instrument as noted by the reference that is given for each:

Personal Achievement Goal Orientation: This refers to students’ reasons or purposes for engaging in academic behavior. Different goals foster different response patterns. These patterns include cognitive, affective, and behavioral components, which have been characterized as more or less adaptive. (Midgley et al., 2000).
Mastery Goal Orientation When oriented to mastery goals students’ purpose or goal in an achievement setting is to develop their competence. They seek to extend their mastery and understanding. Attention is focused on the task (Midgley et al., 2000).
Performance–Approach Goal Orientation When oriented to performance–approach goals, students’ purpose or goal in an achievement setting is to demonstrate their competence. Attention is focused on the self (Midgley et al., 2000).
Performance–Avoid Goal Orientation When oriented to performance–avoid goals, students’ purpose or goal in an achievement setting is to avoid the demonstration of incompetence. Attention is focused on the self (Midgley et al., 2000).
Academic Efficacy Refers to students’ perceptions of their competence to do their class work (Midgley et al., 2000).
Academic Press Refers to students’ perceptions that their teacher presses them for understanding (Midgley et al., 2000).
Academic Self–handicapping Strategies Refers to strategies that are used by students so that if subsequent performance is low, those circumstances, rather than lack of ability, is seen as the cause (Midgley et al., 2000).
Avoiding Novelty Refers to students’ preference for avoiding unfamiliar or new work (Midgley et al., 2000).
Cheating Behavior Refers to students’ use of cheating in class (Midgley et al., 2000).
Disruptive Behavior Refers to students’ engagement in behaviors that disrupt or disturbs the classroom (Midgley et al., 2000).
Self–Presentation of Low Achievement Refers to students’ preference to keep peers from knowing how well they are achieving in school (Midgley et al., 2000).
Skepticism About the Relevance of School For Future Success Refers to students’ beliefs that doing well in school will not help them achieve success in the future (Midgley et al., 2000).
Public School Academy (Charter School) A PSA is a state–supported public school operating under a charter contract issued by a public authorizing body. PSAs are also commonly referred to as charter schools. Charter schools may include grades K–12 or any combination of those grades. They may not charge tuition and must serve anyone who applies to attend; that is, they may not screen out students based on race, religion, sex, or test scores. Students are selected randomly for admission if the number of students applying exceeds the school's enrollment capacity. Charter teachers must be certified and “highly qualified” as defined in the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA); charter school students are assessed annually as part of the Michigan Education Assessment Program (MEAP). Charter schools cannot be religiously affiliated. (Michigan Department of Education, 2009, p. 1, para. 1)

Participants

The participants in the present study were fourth through sixth grade students who were enrolled in a single charter school located in an urban area. Even though I was initially interested in younger children, I decided to begin with 4th graders for several reasons:

  • I wanted to be sure that that the children could read well enough to understand the instructions;
  • I wanted to select grades that had MEAP test score data to evaluate. Originally, I intended to compare their self–reported academic achievement with their MEAP scores. However, there were privacy/legal reasons that prevented access to their scores and grades.
  • I wanted the children to be old enough to be significantly involved in activities so that I could have a base of comparison.

The majority of the students were African American. All students in these grades were eligible to participate in the study.

All of the 4th(n=36), 5th(n=33), and 6th(n=33) grade elementary students in the school participated in this study. They were all African American. There were only two children whose parents did not grant permission for their children to participate in the study.

Variables

The variables that were examined in this study are presented in Table 1. Participants were asked to complete the Patterns of Adaptive Learning Scales (PALS) and a short demographic questionnaire. The collected data were used to analyze the relationship between the students’ involvement in extracurricular, community-based, religious activities, achievement, school behavior, goal orientation, and academic perceptions, beliefs, and strategies.

Table 1
Variables in the Study
Independent Variables Dependent Variables Background Variables
Involvement in extracurricular activities Self–reported academic achievement Age
Involvement in community–based activities Self–reported school behavior Grade Level
Involvement in religious activities Goal Orientation Gender
  Academic–related perceptions, beliefs,  and strategies Socioeconomic Status   as measured by   eligibility for free or   reduced lunch

Research Design

A non–experimental, correlational research design was used in the study. This type of design is appropriate as the independent variables were not manipulated and no treatment or intervention was used with the participants in the study.

This type of research design was used to determine the strength and direction of relationships among variables presented in Table 1 (Gay, Mills, & Airasian, 2008). The researchers needed paid attention to uncontrolled extraneous variables that could affect the manner in which the students may respond to the surveys. For example, if a teacher suddenly left, the students’ attitudes toward some aspects of their classes might be affected. By understanding these occurrences, the researcher was able to provide this information in the discussion of the findings to help interpret the findings accurately.

Setting for the Study

The study was conducted in Public School Academy (PSA), an elementary charter school located in an urban area in a Midwestern state. During the 2010–2011school year, PSA had an enrollment of approximately 400 African American students in kindergarten through sixth grade. The school received the letter “A” from the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) on the annual report card for 2010–2011. This designation is reserved for schools in the state of Michigan that met the Michigan Department of Education’s achievement goals and has made significant academic progress, as measured by the Michigan Educational Assessment Program (MEAP), the MDE’s annual statewide public school assessment. Table 2 presents scores for the Fall 2010 MEAP tests for grades 3 through 6. The percentage of students for each category (Levels 1–4) on the MEAP are shown on Table 2 for the fall of 2010 school year.

Table 2
MEAP Scores for Grades 3 through 6 (percentages)
Grade Math Reading Writing Science Social Studies
Third          
Level 1 Advanced 42.9 23.8      
Level 2 Proficient 57.1 66.7      
Level 3 Partially Proficient 0.0 9.5      
Level 4 Not Proficient 0.0 0.0      
Met or exceeded 100.0 90.5      
Number tested 42 42      
Fourth          
Level 1 Advanced 14.0 14.0 2.3    
Level 2 Proficient 72.1 72.1 37.2    
Level 3 Partially Proficient 14.0 11.6 60.5    
Level 4 Not Proficient 0.0 2.3 0.0    
Met or exceeded 86.0 86.0 39.5    
Number tested 43 43 43    
Fifth          
Level 1 Advanced 30.0 30.0   16.7  
Level 2 Proficient 60.0 53.3   53.3  
Level 3 Partially Proficient 10.0 10.0   26.7  
Level 4 Not Proficient 0.0 6.7   3.3  
Met or exceeded 90.0 83.3   70.0  
Number tested 30 30   30  
Sixth          
Level 1 Advanced 26.7 16.7     6.7
Level 2 Proficient 50.0 63.3     46.7
Level 3 Partially Proficient 23.3 16.7     36.7
Level 4 Not Proficient 0.0 3.3     10.0
Met or exceeded 76.7 80.0     53.3
Number tested 30 30     30

PSA has an after school tutoring program, a vibrant after school enrichment program that includes academic support. Although the percentage of students scoring at advanced and proficient for the MEAP tests were higher than the state averages, the scores were not used in any analyses because of privacy issues. Parents would have had to give permission for the researcher to obtain students’ scores from their records. Twelve students at PSA received HOPE scholarships that allowed them to attend Lansing Community College tuition free for two years. HOPE stands for Helping Other People Excel. The H.O.P.E. Scholarship Program is an education initiative in cooperation with the Lansing School District, the City of Lansing, Lansing Community College, Michigan State University, the Lansing Police Department, YMCA, and in cooperation with local businesses and private citizens. The H.O.P.E. Scholarship Program offers Lansing School District youth an opportunity for a college education and a brighter future. Students are initiated into the program as sixth graders. Students promise to finish high school in exchange for two years of free tuition at Lansing Community College. The students are chosen by their school based on their ability to utilize the program.

Sample size

To determine the appropriate sample size for the study, G*Power 3.1 (Faul, Erdfelder, Buchner & Lang, 2009) was used. With a two–tailed test, an effect size of .15, alpha level of .05, and a power of .80, a sample of 55 students was needed to obtain a valid result on a stepwise multiple linear regression analysis using one dependent variables. Having a larger sample increased the power of the analysis.

Instrumentation

Two surveys were used in the present study: The Patterns of Adaptive Learning Scales (PALS; Midgley et al., 2000) and a researcher–developed demographic questionnaire. Each of these instruments is discussed in this section.

Patterns of Adaptive Learning Scales

The Patterns of Adaptive Learning Scales (PALS; Midgley et al., 2000) were used for the study. I read the questions to the students so that their ability to read would not affect the outcomes of the study. It took approximately one hour to administer the survey. The PALS was developed to measure goal orientation theory and examine the relation between student motivation, affect, and behavior and the learning environment. The instrument is divided into student and teacher scales. For the purpose of the present study, only student scales were used. Five scales are included in the student scales: personal achievement goal orientations, perception of teacher’s goals, perception of classroom goal structures, academic–related perceptions, beliefs, and strategies, and perceptions of parents, home life, and neighborhood. Perceptions of teacher’s goals and perceptions of parents, home life, and neighborhood scales were not used in the present study. Table 3 presents the scales and subscales that were included in the study.

Table 3
Subscales that Were Included in the Present Study
Scale Subscales Number of Items Alpha Coefficient
Personal Achievement Goal  Orientation Mastery Goal Orientation (Revised) 5 .85
Performance–Approach Goal Orientation (Revised) 5 .89
  Performance–Avoid Goal Orientation (Revised) 4 .74
       
Academic–Related Perceptions,  Beliefs, and Strategies Academic Efficacy 5 .78
Academic Press 7 .79
  Academic Self–Handicapping Strategies 6 .84
  Avoiding Novelty 5 .78
  Cheating Behavior 3 .87
  Disruptive Behavior 5 .89
  Self–Presentation of Low Achievement 7 .78
  Skepticism About the Relevance of School for Future   Success 6 .83

The PALS was developed for use at all levels of education (elementary, middle, and high school). Several of the scales were developed using research that indicated a differential emphasis was found for mastery and performance goals that were associated with adaptive or maladaptive patterns of learning (Ames, C., 1992; Dweck, & Leggett, 1988; Maehr,1989; Nicholls,1989). Several studies (Elliot & Harackiewicz, 1996; Midddleton & Midgley, 1997; Midgley, 1993; Skaalvik, 1997) indicate that performance goal orientation has been divided into two components (approach and avoidance). The scales include both master and performance, with performance further classified as performance–approach and performance–avoid.

Because students in elementary school spent most of their day with one teacher, the items have been worded to reflect class or school work in general. Middle and high school items were domain–specific (e.g., science, math, reading, etc.).

Scoring. Each item was rated using a 5–point Likert–type scale ranging from 1 for not at all true to 5 for very true. The numeric values associated with each of the 5–points were summed to obtain a total score, which was then divided by the number of items on the subscale to create a mean score for the subscale. The use of a mean score provided scores that reflected the original scale of measurement and allowed comparisons across the subscales that had different numbers of items.

Validity. A confirmatory factor analysis was used to validate the revised personal goal scales. Using LISREL VIII, the factor structure of the mastery, performance–approach, and performance–avoid subscales was confirmed. The goodness of fit indices provided evidence that the model fit the data and the personal mastery, performance–approach, and performance–avoid loaded on different latent factors (Midgley et al., 2000). The subscales measuring perceptions of classroom goal structure were validated using a confirmatory factor analysis. The results of this analysis indicated that the items loaded on different latent factors.

Reliability. Each of the subscales was tested for internal consistency as a measure of reliability. The alpha coefficients ranged from .70 to .89, providing supported the adequate reliability of the subscales. Table 4 presents the subscales that were used in the study with their associated Cronbach alpha coefficients.

Demographic Questionnaire

In addition to the PALS, the students were asked to complete a short demographic survey developed by the researcher. The questionnaire asked the children to indicate their age, gender, grade in school, and eligibility for free or reduced lunch as a measure of socioeconomic status, participation in school and community–based extracurricular activities, self–reported academic performance, and self–reported citizenship. The items used a forced–choice format to make it simpler for the students. These variables were used to provide a profile of the students in the study and to test the hypothesis and address the research question.

Variables in the Study

The dependent variables in the study included:

  • Self–reported academic achievement
  • Self–reported behavior (citizenship)
  • Goal orientation
  • Master goal orientation (revised)
  • Performance–avoid goal orientation (revised)
  • Academic perceptions, beliefs, and strategies
  • Academic efficacy
  • Academic press
  • Academic self–handicapping strategies
  • Avoiding novelty
  • Cheating behavior
  • Disruptive behavior
  • Self–presentation of low achievement
  • Skepticism about the relevance of school for future success

The independent variables included:

  • Involvement in school–based extracurricular activities
  • Involvement in community–based activities
  • Involvement in religious–based activities

The background variables included:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Grade level
  • Socioeconomic status (eligibility for free or reduced lunch)

Data Collection Procedures

Following approval from the Human Investigation Committee (HIC) and the principal of the elementary school that was used in the study, the researcher began the data collection process. The researcher also developed an oral assent that was read to the students whose parents had given passive permission to participate in the study. The students had the right to refuse to participate in the study if they so choose. They were told that their decision to not participate would not affect their standing in their classes or in the school. Students who decided to participate completed the questionnaires in their classrooms.

The students who participated in the study received the two questionnaires. They were told not to place their names or any other identifying information on the questionnaires. The questionnaires were administered in one setting; during class time; and for each grade level on the same day. They were instructed to complete the questionnaires without discussing either the items or their responses. When they were through with the questionnaires, they returned them to the researcher who placed them in a large envelope. All surveys were completed in this area. Students whose parents had given permission for them to participate but were absent when the data were being collected were allowed to participate on a make–up day.

Data Analysis

The data were entered into a computer file for analysis using IBM–SPSS (ver.19.0). The data analyses were divided into three sections. The first section used cross tabulations, frequency distributions, and measures of central tendency and dispersion to provide a profile of the students. The second section used descriptive statistics to provide baseline information regarding the scales and subscales that were included in the study. The findings for the inferential statistical analyses used to test the hypothesis and address the research question were presented in the third section of the analysis. The inferential statistical analyses included Pearson product moment correlations and stepwise multiple linear regression analysis. All decisions on the statistical significance of the findings were made using a criterion alpha level of .05. Table 4 presents the statistical analyses that were used to test the research question and associated hypothesis.

Table 4
Statistical Analysis
Research Questions/Hypotheses Variables Statistical Analysis
   
1. Can elementary African American students’ self–reported academic achievement; personal achievement goal orientation, academic–related perceptions, beliefs, and strategies and school behavior be predicted from their participation in extracurricular, community–based, and religious activities? Dependent Variables
  • Self-reported academic achievement
  • Goal orientation
  • Academic related perceptions, beliefs,   and strategies
  • Self-reported behavior

Independent Variables
  • Number of extracurricular activities
  • Number of community-based activities
  • Number of religious activities
Separate stepwise multiple linear regression analyses were used to determine whether the independent variables could be used to predict the dependent variables.
H2: Elementary African American students’ self-reported academic achievement; personal achievement goal orientation, academic-related perceptions, beliefs, and strategies, and school behavior can be predicted from their participation in extracurricular, community-based, and religious activities.    
H02: Elementary African American students’ self–reported academic achievement; personal achievement goal orientation, academic–related perceptions, beliefs, and strategies, and school behavior cannot be predicted from their participation in extracurricular, community–based, and religious activities.    

Results of Data Analysis

Findings

The sample included 36 fourth grade, 33 fifth grade, and 33 sixth grade students. The students were between 8 and 13 years of age, with the fourth grade students ranging from 8 to 11 years, fifth grade students ranging from 9 to 12 years, and sixth grade students ranging from 10 to 13 years. The majority of the students in the fourth grade (n = 21, 58.3%) and fifth grade (n = 19, 57.6%) were female, with the majority of sixth grade students indicating their gender as male (n = 19, 57.6%). See Table 5.

Table 5
Crosstabulations: Age and Gender of Students by Grade
Age and Gender Grade in School Total
Fourth Fifth Sixth
n % n % n % n %
Age  
8 1 2.8 0 0.0 0 0.0 1 1.0
9 18 50.0 2 6.3 0 0.0 20 19.8
10 16 44.4 19 59.3 3 9.1 38 32.6
11 1 2.8 9 28.1 23 69.7 33 32.7
12 0 0.0 2 6.3 6 18.2 8 7.9
13 0 0.0 0 0.0 1 3.0 1 1.0
Total 36 100.0 32 100.0 33 100.0 101 100.0
Missing     1          
 
Gender  
Male 15 41.7 14 42.4 19 57.6 48 47.1
Female 21 58.3 19 57.6 14 42.4 54 52.9
Total 36 100.0 33 100.0 33 100.0 102 100.0

Almost all of the students qualified for the free or reduced lunch program (n = 98, 96.1%). The majority of the students indicated their grades were mostly As and Bs (n = 54, 52.9%). The fourth grade students had the largest percentage of students at this level (n = 27, 75.0%), with fifth grade (n = 14, 42.4%) and sixth grade (n = 13 39.4%) students reporting lower percentages of students at the mostly As and Bs level. The majority of students (n = 86, 84.3%) at all grade levels reported their citizenship was satisfactory (See Table 6).

Table 6
Crosstabulations: Qualify for Free or Reduced Lunch, Self–reported Grades, and Self–reported Behavior of Students by Grade
  Grade in School Total
Fourth Fifth Sixth
n % n % n % n %
Qualify for free or reduced lunch program                
Yes 36 100.0 30 90.9 32 97.0 98 96.1
No 0 0.0 3 9.1 1 3.0 4 3.9
Total 36 100.0 33 100.0 33 100.0 102 100.0
 
Self–reported Achievement                
Mostly As and Bs 27 75.0 14 42.4 13 39.4 54 52.9
Mostly Bs and Cs 9 25.0 15 45.5 17 41.5 41 40.2
Mostly Cs and Ds 0 0.0 3 9.1 3 9.1 6 5.9
Mostly Ds and Fs 0 0.0 1 3.0 0 0.0 1 1.0
Total 36 100.0 33 100.0 33 100.0 102 100.0
 
Self–reported Behavior  
Satisfactory 34 94.4 25 75.8 27 81.1 86 84.3
Unsatisfactory 2 5.6 8 24.2 6 18.2 16 15.7
Total 36 100.0 33 100.0 33 100.0 102 100.0

The students were participating in a number of extracurricular activities, with after school tutoring, Reaching Higher After School Program, school sports, Reaching Higher Choir, science fair, and the Shabazz dance and drumming group the most often indicated programs. Many of the students were involved in community–based programs, specifically community–based sports programs, Boys and Girls Club, YMCA/YWCA, and library programs. The majority of students were involved in religious activities, including choir, praise dancers, and band. They generally attended these programs once/twice a week or everyday/almost every day (See Table 7).

Table 7
Frequency Distributions: Participation in Extracurricular Activities Sponsored by School
Extracurricular Activities Grade in School Total
Fourth Fifth Sixth
n % n % n % n %
After School tutoring 18 50.0 22 66.7 10 30.3 50 49.0
Reaching Higher After School Program 15 41.7 16 48.5 10 30.3 41 40.2
School Sports 8 22.2 11 33.3 14 42.4 33 32.4
Reaching Higher Choir 12 33.3 11 33.3 7 21.9 30 29.7
Science Fair 9 25.0 13 39.4 7 21.2 29 28.4
Shabazz Dance & Drumming Group 11 30.6 6 18.2 8 24.2 25 24.5
Chess Club 7 19.4 9 27.3 2 6.1 18 17.6
Spelling Bee 9 25.0 5 15.2 4 12.1 18 17.6
After school enrichment program 9 25.0 5 15.2 2 12.5 16 15.7
Cheerleading 8 22.2 3 9.1 0 0.0 11 10.8
Girls’ Club 0 0.0 0 0.0 9 27.3 9 8.8
Robotics 0 0.0 0 0.0 8 24.2 8 7.8
First Aid/CPR Training 2 5.6 5 15.2 0 0.0 7 6.9
Boys’ Club 1 2.8 1 3.0 5 15.2 7 6.9
Summer Book Reading Program 0 0.0 5 15.2 0 0.0 5 4.9
Digital Media 0 0.0 0 0.0 5 15.2 5 4.9

See Table 8 and Table 9 for the community–based and religious type activities in which the students’ self–reported their involvement.

Table 8
Frequency Distributions: Participation in Community–based Activities
Community-based Activities Grade in School Total
Fourth Fifth Sixth
n % n % n % n %
Community Sports Programs 15 41.7 11 33.3 10 30.3 36 35.3
Boys and Girls Club 12 33.3 10 30.3 9 27.3 31 30.4
YMCA/YWCA 10 27.8 4 12.1 5 15.2 19 18.6
Library Programs 4 11.1 7 21.2 5 15.2 16 15.7
A+ Summer Sports Program 6 16.7 3 9.1 2 6.1 11 10.8
Boy/Girl Scouts 4 11.1 5 15.2 0 0.0 9 8.8
Dance Classes 5 13.9 2 6.1 0 0.0 7 6.9
Music Classes 1 2.8 2 6.1 2 6.1 5 4.9
A+ Summer Art Academy 1 2.8 2 6.1 0 0.0 3 2.9
A+ Summer College Program 0 0.0 0 0.0 1 3.0 1 1.0
Summer College Program 0 0.0 0 0.0 1 3.0 1 1.0
Science Mathematics Challenge 0 0.0 0 0.0 1 3.0 1 1.0
Table 9
Frequency Distributions: Participation in Religious Activities
Participation in Religious Activities Grade in School Total
Fourth Fifth Sixth
n % n % n % n %
Involved in religious activities  
Yes 29 80.6 24 80.0 16 48.5 69 69.7
No 7 19.4 6 20.0 17 51.5 30 30.3
Total 36 100.0 30 100.0 33 100.0 99 100.0
Missing     3          
Types of Religious Activities
Choir 17 47.2 5 19.2 8 42.1 30 37.0
Praise Dancers 9 25.0 4 15.4 2 10.5 15 18.5
Band 2 5.6 1 3.0 4 12.1 7 6.9
Frequency of Attendance at Religious Activities
Rarely or Never 7 19.4 7 24.1 12 40.0 26 27.4
Less than once a week 6 16.7 4 13.8 2 6.7 12 12.6
Once/twice a week 19 52.8 8 27.6 13 43.3 40 42.1
Everyday/almost every day 4 11.1 10 34.5 3 10.0 17 17.9
Total 36 100.0 29 100.0 30 100.0 95 100.0
Missing     4   3   7  

Data Analyses

Stepwise multiple linear regression analyses were used to determine if the number of school extracurricular, community–based, and religious activities could be used to predict self–reported academic achievement, self–reported school behavior, goal orientation, and academic related perceptions, beliefs, and strategies.

Table 10
Stepwise Multiple Linear Regression Analysis: Self–reported Academic Achievement
Independent Variables Constant b–Weight β–Weight Δr² t–Value Sig
Included Variables            
Community–based activities 1.68 –.01 –.22 .05 –2.26 .026
             
Excluded Variables            
School extracurricular activities     –.08   –.82 .413
Religious Activities     –.07   –.67 .506
Multiple R .22              
Multiple R² .05              
F Ratio 5.10              
DF 1, 100              
Sig .026              
Table 11
Stepwise Multiple Linear Regression Analysis: Mastery Goal Orientation
Independent Variables Constant b–Weight β–Weight Δr² t–Value Sig
Included Variables            
Religious activities 4.36 .24 –.28 .08 –2.95 .004
             
Excluded Variables            
School extracurricular activities     .01   .15 .884
Community–based activities     .18   1.82 .072
Multiple R .28              
Multiple R² .08              
F Ratio 8.72              
DF 1, 100              
Sig .004              
Table 12
Stepwise Multiple Linear Regression Analysis: Performance Goal Orientation – Approach
Independent Variables Constant b–Weight β–Weight Δr² t–Value Sig
Included Variables            
Religious activities 3.14 .61 .34 .11 3.55 .001
             
Excluded Variables            
School extracurricular activities     –.09   –.93 .355
Community–based Activities     .17   1.69 .095
Multiple R .34              
Multiple R² .11              
F Ratio 12.62              
DF 1, 100              
Sig .001              
Table 13
Stepwise Multiple Linear Regression Analysis: Performance Goal Orientation – Avoid
Independent Variables Constant b–Weight β–Weight Δr² t–Value Sig
Included Variables            
Religious activities 3.36 .35 .21 .04 2.14 .035
             
Excluded Variables            
School extracurricular activities     –.13   –1.30 .198
Community–based Activities     .07   .70 .488
Multiple R .21              
Multiple R² .04              
F Ratio 4.58              
DF 1, 100              
Sig .035              
Table 14
Stepwise Multiple Linear Regression Analysis: Academic Efficacy
Independent Variables Constant b–Weight β–Weight Δr² t–Value Sig
Included Variables            
Community–based activities 4.04 .14 .25 .06 2.54 .013
             
Excluded Variables            
School extracurricular activities     .05   .49 .623
Religious Activities     .17   1.67 .098
Multiple R .25              
Multiple R² .06              
F Ratio 6.44              
DF 1, 100              
Sig .013              
Table 15
Stepwise Multiple Linear Regression Analysis: Academic Press
Independent Variables Constant b–Weight β–Weight Δr² t–Value Sig
Included Variables            
Community–based activities 3.92 .15 .32 .10 3.31 .001
             
Excluded Variables            
School extracurricular activities     –.14   –1.45 .150
Religious Activities     .19   1.98 .051
Multiple R .32              
Multiple R² .10              
F Ratio 10.99              
DF 1, 100              
Sig .001              
Table 16
Stepwise Multiple Linear Regression Analysis: Self–presentation of Low Achievement
Independent Variables Constant b–Weight β–Weight Δr² t–Value Sig
Included Variables            
Community–based activities 1.67 .13 .25 .06 2.55 .012
             
Excluded Variables            
School extracurricular activities     .03   .32 .748
Religious Activities     .05   .51 .614
Multiple R .25              
Multiple R² .06              
F Ratio 6.50              
DF 1, 100              
Sig .012              

The statistically significant results were as follows:

  • Self–reported academic achievement could be predicted by number of community–based activities, with greater involvement in community–based activities associated with lower academic achievement.
  • Mastery goal orientation could be predicted from religious activities, with greater involvement in religious activities associated with higher mastery goal achievement.
  • Performance goal orientation – approach could be predicted by religious activities, with greater involvement in religious activities associated with higher performance goal orientation – approach.
  • Performance goal orientation – avoid could be predicted by religious activities with greater involvement in religious activities associated with higher performance goal orientation – avoid.
  • Academic efficacy could be predicted by community–based activities, with greater involvement in community–based activities associated with higher academic efficacy.
  • Academic press could be predicted by community–based activities, with greater involvement in community–based activities associated with higher academic press.
  • Self–presentation of low achievement could be predicted by community–based activities, with greater involvement in community–based activities associated with higher self–presentation of low achievement.

Discussion

The results of the number of children participating in extracurricular activities showed that the greatest number of students across the grades participated in the After–School tutoring program, a remediation program aimed at improving academic outcomes. The second largest group of children was participating in an enrichment program, the Reaching Higher After–School program, to gain greater understanding of academic topics. Additional programs that could be considered enhancement with an academic focus were the Science Fair, Chess Club, Spelling Bee, and the Robotics class. Students’ exposure to and involvement in the types of extracurricular activities have changed significantly since Coleman’s (1961) seminal study, The Adolescent Society: The Social Life of the Teenager and its Impact on Education, which found that students were engaged primarily in non–academic extracurricular activities. As more mothers entered the workforce, since Coleman’s (1961) study, after school programs became more prevalent. This phenomenon supports why children today are offered and probably engaged in a wider variety of extracurricular activities.

The activities focusing on the arts such as the Reaching Higher Choir, Shabazz Dance and Drumming Group, and the after–school enrichment program were well attended by the students. In all activities with an academic focus the fourth and fifth grade students participated at a higher rate than the sixth graders. Holland and Andre (1987) suggested that students who engage in extracurricular activities self–select the activity. Oftentimes, as students get older they are left to make their own decisions, which may account for a lower percentage of the older students being engaged in extracurricular activities with an academic focus.

The focus of students’ participation in community–based activities differed from the students’ participation in extracurricular activities offered by the school. The largest percentage of students participated in sports programs that were offered in the community whereas in school the percentage of students participating in academic activities was greater. Oftentimes because of the seasonal offering of sports activities many students attend these activities during specific seasons as well as when school is closed. Likewise, the participation rate in community–based activities was lower at the sixth grade than either fourth grade or fifth grade. This finding might be attributed to the practice that many younger children are taken to activities by their parents or other responsible individuals. Again, older children are often responsible for getting themselves to activities. This slightly older population of children may face challenges such as transportation, negative peer–pressure or other factors that may interfere with their ability to get to activities. The percentage of students participating in the Boys and Girls Club, however, was evenly distributed across all grade levels. Boys and Girls Clubs are often located in the community and are in walking distance for the children.

The community–based programs with an academic focus were the library programs, A+ Summer College Program, Summer College Program, and the Science Mathematics Challenge program. Collectively, these programs had a lower student participation rate than the students’ participation rate in community–based sports programs. Again, many African American children are not engaged in community–based, high–quality programs with an academic focus. Furthermore, the children’s involvement in community–based activities with an enrichment focus, dance and music classes, also was lower than their involvement in community–based sports programs. These findings suggest that despite the variety of community–based activities offered, a greater percentage of African American students are participating in non–academic pursuits outside of school — largely sports.

Kalmijn and Kraaykamp (1996) implied that exposure to “highbrow activities” such as music and dance may influence academic achievement. Unfortunately, the children did not participate in these community–based activities at a rate comparable to sports participation. The students’ limited engagement in the community–based art and music classes deemed “high brow” supported Hale’s (2001) work that implied that the school must provide and/or be the coordinator of activities for African American children. Further support for the need of schools to provide or coordinate the types of community–based activities with an academic and enrichment focus is supported by the following data. Those students with higher self–reported grades were more likely to be involved in community–based activities and students participating in greater numbers of community–based activities were more likely to have higher academic efficacy and higher academic press scores.

The cycle of not being involved in and exposed to these “highbrow” activities is supported by Posner and Vandell (1994) in which the researchers reported that many African American children in families with low socioeconomic statuses do not have these opportunities available in their communities. Additionally, the cost of “highbrow” activities may be too expensive for many parents. Therefore, many African American children may not participate in these cost– prohibited activities despite being available in some of their communities.

When asked about their involvement in religious activities, over two–thirds of the children responded that they participated in religious activities. However, the remainder of the participants indicated that they did not participate in any religious activities. Almost one–third of the children in the study did not have access to the “protective factors” offered by many religious institutions, such as organized activities, mentoring, and character building opportunities. This lack of attendance in religious activities potentially impacts African American students’ academic achievement. Foshee and Hollinger (1996) suggested that the Black church supports educational achievement and a large percentage of the children lacked exposure to the type of support offered by some religious institutions.

Of the percentage of children attending religious activities, most reported attending activities once or twice a week. This percentage was similar to the patterns of attendance found in Smith, Denton, Faris and Regnerus (2002) in which the religious weekly attendance rate among 8th, 10th, and 12th grade American adolescents was 38%. Although, the demographic survey administered in the study did not specify the type of religious institution, some children verbally acknowledged attending church. Brown and Gary (1991) noted that “many of the socialization experiences emanating from religion and the Black church appear to be conducive to a number of outcomes including educational achievement” (p. 415). Additionally, of the percentage of children attending religious institutions, approximately one–third rarely attended (31%) while a smaller percentage reported that they attended religious activities everyday or almost everyday. This finding is in accord with Smith et al. (2002) who found great variance in adolescents’ frequency of attendance in religious activities.

The PALS survey examined the ways that children approached the learning process, goal orientation, as well as to determine their academic–related perceptions, beliefs, and strategies. The students completed 10 subscales on the Patterns of Adaptive Learning Scales (PALS) survey. The first three subscales were examining personal mastery, performance–approach and performance–avoid as part of goal orientation. The other subscales measured academic related perceptions, beliefs, and strategies: academic efficacy, academic press, academic self–handicapping strategies, avoiding novelty, cheating behavior, self–presentation of low achievement and skepticism about relevance of school for the future. Each of the subscales is discussed next and conclusions related to self–reported academic achievement and self–reported behavior are presented.

Mastery goal orientation refers to those children whose goal is to achieve mastery or expertise in school subjects. They focus on the task at hand and to these children learning is innately interesting. The mean scores across all grade levels were higher for mastery goal orientation than for performance approach goal orientation, which expresses a student’s desire to focus on self as compared to others. This approach describes the student who tries to appear smarter than their peers and to look competent among others. Mastery goal orientation was also higher than the results for performance–avoid goal orientation approach to learning in which students want to avoid appearing incompetent among their classmates. Goal orientations were similar regardless of the grade level or gender of the students. Self–reported academic grades were significantly related to mastery goal orientation, but not to performance goal orientation – approach or performance goal orientation – avoid. Students who had higher levels of academic achievement were more likely to have a mastery goal orientation.

In accord with Middleton & Midgley (1997), students with higher self–reported grades had higher scores for academic efficacy, (which is the student’s perception of their competence to do their class work) compared to students with lower self–reported grades. They also had higher scores for academic press, the student’s perception that their teacher presses them for understanding compared to students with lower self–reported grades. When comparing the mean scores for academic press no differences were noted for gender or the interaction between grade and gender. Students with higher grades often believe in their abilities to learn because of the previous academic successes that they experienced in school. These children are probably more likely to have been in classes with teachers who pushed them to achieve because of their higher academic standing. In other words, their teachers believed that they could learn. Gender and grade by gender interaction did not provide any evidence of statistically significant differences for academic related perceptions, beliefs, and strategies. These findings are important and are supported by the work done by and Cantor, Kester and Miller (2000); Gottfredson (1991); and Kerman, Kimball, and Martin (1980). These studies reported that teacher expectations influenced student achievement. Additionally, no significant correlations were found for self–presentation of low achievement and skepticism about relevance of school for the future with self–reported academic grades.

Furthermore, children with lower self–reported grades scored higher on self–handicapping strategies, which means they deliberately engaged in strategies that hindered efforts toward academic achievement. They also scored higher on two other subscales: avoiding novelty, and cheating behaviors. These results provided additional evidence of the importance of shaping school environments to support nurturing environments where all students experience some measure of success.

The correlation between the students’ self–reported behavior, goal orientation and academic perceptions, beliefs, and strategies was not significant. This finding was unexpected because children who had higher scores for academic self–handicapping strategies might have been expected to engage in disruptive behavior and/or cheating behaviors. Because students with a self–handicapping orientation look for excuses on which to blame their academic failure, it was expected that they might have engaged in disruptive behaviors to avoid tasks that they may not have been able to complete successfully.

Recommendations to Educational Stakeholders

The students who participated in the study were African American and 96% of the population qualified for free and reduced lunch. This group of children, however, attends a school that provides “protective factors” for the children by keeping them active in the school setting by providing a variety of extracurricular activities. The student participation rates resulted in children often staying in school until after 6:00 p.m. These activities kept many of the children from being exposed to, or possibly involved in, negative influences that they might have faced in their neighborhoods. The students were very fond of the school and exhibited a sense of belonging as evidenced by their behavior and attitudes while in school. Researchers have studied students that feel a sense of belonging to a school and those children are more likely to stay in school, become engaged in the “fabric of the school” and develop meaningful relationships with adults.

By providing safe and engaging extracurricular activities the schools become the safe havens and stimulating environments needed by many African American children. This study suggested that the students’ self–reported grades were significantly related to mastery goal orientation, indicating that students who were doing better in school also found learning inherently rewarding. Students with higher self–reported grades were likely to have higher scores on the academic efficacy and academic press scales. These findings suggested that students who reported having higher grades in school also believed in their own abilities to learn and engage in behaviors to achieve academically.

Mahoney and Cairns (1997) and Finn (1989) concluded that involvement in extracurricular activities could help at–risk students develop a sense of connectedness to the school. Schools that create stimulating environments, inclusive of enriching extracurricular activities, involve and support their students along the path of achieving academic success.

Recommendations for Future Research

The following recommendations should be considered to continue study on the link between school–based extracurricular and community–based activities and academic achievement:

  • Examine student achievement levels among students enrolled in specific extracurricular and community–based activities that have been evaluated for effectiveness. These students could be compared to a group of students not enrolled in the programs to gauge the effectiveness of the activities on academic achievement.
  • Investigate the degree of parental involvement with their child’s extracurricular activities. This involvement could include parents encouraging their children to participate in school–related and community–based activities, attendance at their children’s performances in sports and other activities, and volunteering as coaches or providing help to reinforce their support for their children.
  • Use a longitudinal research design to determine when students’ interest in extracurricular activities begins to change and how these changes affect the types of activities in which the child is involved. Perhaps the school administrators and teachers could provide different types of activities for students at different grade levels.
  • Study the effects of cost on involvement in community–based activities that could limit a child’s participation. Determine if parents have to limit the number and types of community–based activities based on financial constraints.
  • Study the effects of participation in extracurricular activities and academic outcomes (grades and behavior) in public and parochial schools. Compare these results with the present study to determine if the outcomes are generalizable to all school children or are specific to children in public school academies (charter schools).

The findings of this study could encourage educators to incorporate cultural enrichment programs into the missions of their schools because low opportunity children often do not have parents who can provide consistent, high quality out–of–school enrichment activities for their children.

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Appendix A

Instrument

Patterns of Adaptive Learning Scales
1 2 3 4 5
Not at all True   Somewhat True   Very True
Here are some questions about yourself as a student in this class. Please put an “x” under the number that best describes what you think. There are no right or wrong answers. 1 2 3 4 5
1. It is important to me that I learn a lot of new concepts this year.          
2. One of my goals in class is to learn as much as I can.          
3. One of my goals is to master a lot of new skills this year.          
4. It is important to me that I thoroughly understand my class work.          
5. It is important to me that I improve my skills this year.          
6. It is important to me that other students in my class think I am good at my class work.          
7. One of my goals is to show others that I am good at my class work.          
8. One of my goals is to look smart in comparison to the other students in my class.          
9. It is important to me that I look smart compared to others in my class.          
10. It is important to me that I do not look stupid in class.          
11. One of my goals is to keep others from thinking I am not smart in class.          
12. It is important to me that my teacher does not think that I know less than others in class.          
13. One of my goals in class is to avoid looking like I have trouble doing the work.          
14. I am certain I can master the skills taught in class this year.          
15. I am certain I can figure out how to do the most difficult class work.          
16. Even if the work is hard, I can learn it.          
17. I can do even the hardest work in this class if I try.          
18. When I have figured out how to do a problem, my teacher gives me more challenging problems to think about.          
19. My teacher presses me to do thoughtful work.          
20. My teacher asks me to explain how I get my answers.          
21. When I am working out a problem, my teacher tells me to keep thinking until I really understand.          
22. My teacher does not let me do just easy work, but makes me think.          
23. My teacher makes sure that the work I do really makes me think.          
24. My teacher accepts nothing less than my full effort.          
25. Some students fool around the night before a test. Then if they do not do well, they can say that is the reason. How true is this of you?          
1 2 3 4 5
Not at all True   Somewhat True   Very True
Here are some questions about yourself as a student in this class. Please put an “x” under the number that best describes what you think. There are no right or wrong answers. 1 2 3 4 5
26. Some students purposely get involved in lots of activities. Then if they do not do well on their class work, they can say it is because they were involved with other things. How true is this of you?          
27. Some students look for reasons to keep them from studying ( not feeling well, having to help their parents, taking care of a brother or sister, etc.). Then if they do not do well on their class work, they can say this is the reason. How true is this of you?          
28. Some students let their friends keep them from paying attention in class or from doing their homework. Then if they do not do well, they can say their friends kept them from working. How true is this of you?          
29. Some students purposely do not try hard in class. Then if they do not do well, they can say it is because they did not try. How true is this of you?          
30. Some students put off doing their class work until the last minute. Then if they do not do well on their work, they can say that is the reason. How true is this of you?          
31. I would prefer to do class work that is familiar to me, rather than work I would have to learn how to do.          
32. I do not like to learn a lot of new concepts in class.          
33. I prefer to do work as I have always done it, rather than trying something new.          
34. I like academic concepts that are familiar to me, rather than those I have not thought about before.          
35. I would choose class work I knew I could do, rather than work I have not done before.          
36. I sometimes copy answers from other students during tests.          
37. I sometimes cheat on my class work.          
38. I sometimes copy answers from other students when I do my class work.          
39. I sometimes annoy my teacher during class.          
40. I sometimes get into trouble with my teacher during class.          
41. I sometimes behave in a way during class that annoys my teacher.          
42. I sometimes do not follow my teacher’s directions during class.          
43. I sometimes disturb the lesson that is going on in class.          
44. I would avoid participating in class if it meant that other students would think I know a lot.          
45. If other students found out I did well on a test, I would tell them it was just luck even if that was not the case.          
46. I would not volunteer to answer a question in class if I thought other students would think I was smart.          
47. If I did well on a school assignment, I would not want other students to see my grade.          
48. It is very important to me that I do not look smarter than others in class.          
49. If I were good at my class work, I would try to do my work in a way that did not show it.          
50. One of my goals in class is to avoid looking smarter that other kids.          
1 2 3 4 5
Not at all True   Somewhat True   Very True
Here are some questions about yourself as a student in this class. Please put an “x” under the number that best describes what you think. There are no right or wrong answers. 1 2 3 4 5
51. Even if I do well in school, it will not help me have the kind of life I want when I grow up.          
52. My chances of succeeding later in life do not depend on doing well in school.          
53. Doing well in school does not improve my chances of having a good life when I grow up.          
54. Getting good grades in school will not guarantee that I will get a good job when I grow up.          
55. Even if I am successful in school, it will not help me fulfill my dreams.          
56. Doing well in school will not help me have a satisfying career when I grow up.          

Demographic Survey

How old are you? _____    
What grade are you in?
Are you a  
Do you receive free or reduced lunch?  
What kind of grades do you usually earn?
 
 
 
 
What kind of citizenship grades do you mostly receive?
 
 
In which of the following extracurricular activities do you participate?
In what other types of activities are you involved?
 
Are you involved in any religious activities?  
If yes, what types of activities?
About how often do you attend religious activities?