Evaluation of After-School Programs to Increase Student AcademicAchievement and Parental Involvement
Updated: Oct 26, 2020
Evaluation of an Elementary After-School Program to Increase Student Academic Achievement and Parental Involvement for Low- Income African American Urban Families
Aminifu R. Harvey, DSW is a retired professor of social work, Department of Social Work, Fayetteville State University, Fayetteville, North Carolina 28301. Phone: 919 767-5541 or 202 669-8921. E-mails: email@example.com
Pamela Love Manning, Ph.D. is the President of DP Love Enterprises in Baltimore, Maryland. Phone: 410 599-6139 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Pamela Caudill-Ovwigho, Ph.D. is the Executive Director of the Center for Bible Engagement in Lincoln, Nebraska. Phone: 402 464-1519 E-mail: email@example.com
Tawannah G. Allen, Ed.D. is an associate professor of Educational Leadership at High Point University. Phone: 919-414-9378. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
After-school programs (ASPs) designed activities: (1) to help students improve their academic performance and (2) to increase parental involvement. Despite the research focused on ASPs, few studies have examined their impact on these two areas for low-income African American children in elementary school. The present study used quantitative and qualitative data to examine how program participation at an elementary school’s extended day program in a Northeastern city affected children’s academic achievement, and behavior. Qualitative and quantitative data were employed to determine the ASP’s impact on parental involvement and teachers’ perceptions of parental involvement. Findings indicate that at the end of the school year, students’ behavior, math and reading grades improved. The authors also found that parents’/guardians’ involvement in school activities and at home had a positive effect on students’ academic performance and behavior in school.
Low-income African American Parents, After-School Programs (ASPs), Parental Participation, Academics and African American elementary Children
Evidence continues to mount regarding how and where students spend their time outside of the regular school hours. These decisions have significant implications on a student’s growth and development. According to the America After 3 report (Afterschool Alliance, 2014), at least 11 million students, in the United States, between the ages of 6-12, are unsupervised after regular school. The risks associated with this unsupervised time may result in self or socially destructive behaviors, leading to negative outcomes such as academic and behavioral disruptions, drug use, and other risk-taking behaviors associated with unsupervised time (Kremer, Maynard, Polanin, Vaughn, & Sarteschi (2015).
Positive benefits have been noted when students spend their time engaged in structured opportunities that provide positive interactions with adults or peers who encourage them to participate in engaging and challenging tasks, designed to help them apply new skills and develop personal talents (Review of Evidence: Arts Integration Research Through the Lens of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), n.d.); American Youth Policy Forum, 2006). As a result, there has been increasing interest to bridge the end-of-school day by utilizing after-school programs (ASPs), that provide youths with safe and supportive systems focused on promoting academic, personal, social and recreational development. With the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in 2015 and the re-authorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, states are expected to use empirically supported approaches with demonstrated improvements in program outcomes (Review of Evidence: Arts Integration Research Through the Lens of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), n.d.).
The authors of this evaluation study assert that literature evaluating the effectiveness of ASPs serving African American urban students considered at risk for school failure, as a result of low income, limited familial resources, and/or poor grades is very scant. Therefore, the purpose of this research is fourfold: (1) to report the findings of a mixed-method, multi-year evaluation of an ASP operating in a low-income African American urban community setting; (2) to discuss the utilization of innovative and creative ways to increase student learning in reading and mathematics; (3) to discuss the effects of the ASP on student behaviors and (4) to report the strategies the ASP utilized to promote parental engagement in the academic careers of African American urban students.
Researchers, policymakers, and academicians have touted ASPs as a solution for improving academic achievement among students who are struggling (Leos, Urbel, 2015; Jenner & Jenner, 2007). The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 focused new attention on children’s out-of-school activities, specifically, for those students attending schools that fail to help students meet proficiency in reading and math (Lauer, Akiba, Wilkerson, Apthorpe, Snow & Martin-Glenn, 2006). Although a variety of programs are designed to supplement classroom instruction, many also strive to increase parental involvement in their children’s academic lives. This is particularly important to low-income families, which traditionally are not as involved as their higher income peers (McDonald, Miller, & Sandler, 2015).
Across the country, both the percentage and the total number of children in the United States participating in ASP are on the rise. Researchers, policymakers, and academicians have proposed ASPs as a solution for improving non-academic and academic achievement among students who are struggling (Kremer, Maynard, Polanin, Vaughn, & Sarteschi, 2014).
Nearly 1-in-4 families (23 percent) currently have a child enrolled in an ASP. Children from low-income households are more likely than their higher-income peers to participate in an ASP (20 versus 18 percent). The demand for ASP is much higher among low-income families and families that participate in the Federal Free or Reduced Price Lunch Program (America After 3, 2014). This was due in part to an increase in the percent of mothers in the workforce (47.4% to 71.6% from 1975 to 2009) and the need for a safe place for children to go after school (Bianchi, 2011).
In the past decade, researchers have examined the impact ASPs have on students’ academic achievement, social-emotional, and physical well-being (Dodd & Bowen, 2011). Much of the research suggests that children who participate in a quality ASP experience some degree of grade improvements and positive achievement on test scores, compared with children who do not participate (Leos-Urbel, 2015; Jenner & Jenner, 2007). Others conclude that in addition to improving students’ academic performance in the classroom, a structured ASP helps to develop positive out-of-school behaviors and social skills (Kremer, et. al, 2014). Kremer et al. (2014) contend when students participate in an ASP, they are less likely to exhibit delinquent behavior; while Marsh and Kleitman (2002) assert aside from the academic, behavioral and social skills benefits, ASP also improve parental involvement, particularly among low-income families, which traditionally, are not as involved as their higher income peers (Malm, Hufsteler, Dietz, Malikina, & Henrich, 2016).
A report by the Harvard Family Research Project (2015) purports successful ASPs promote desirable changes in three areas: feelings and attitudes, indicators of behavioral adjustment, and school performance. More specifically, there are significant increases in youths’ self-perceptions (i.e., their self-confidence, self-esteem and sense of self-efficacy), the ability to bond to school, their positive social behaviors, and improvements in their school grades and performance on achievement tests. These desirable changes are attributed to the design and components of ASP.
Successful programs encompass activities which address the following skills: decreased behavioral problems, improved social and communication skills, and/or relationships with others (peers, parents, teachers) increased self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-efficacy, lower levels of depression and anxiety, development of initiative improved feelings and attitudes (Chung, 2018; Little, Wimer, & Weiss, 2007).
Educating Low-income Urban African American Children in Reading & Math Skills
In the US alone, billions of dollars are spent each year in the U.S. on educating children in grades K-12 (National Assessment of Education Statistics, 2007). Research shows that those who learn basic math and reading skills in earlier years develop the skills necessary to successfully complete high school and perform well in college (Duncan, et al., 2007). For example, a study by the Annie E. Casey Foundation found that students who had low reading test scores in third grade were less likely to graduate from high school (Hernandez, 2011). The State of Education for African American Students (2014) found that despite real gains in academic achievement African American students still significantly lag that of white students. Consequentially, few studies have addressed the learning styles of minority children, moreover, African American children living in high poverty urban settings. Morris (2016) also found that the lack of cultural understanding by teachers and school administrators not only pushes African American female students out of the academic arena but it also criminalizes them.
The classical research of Pasteur and Toldson (1982), as well as Hale-Benson’s 1982 research provided a detailed explanation of Black children being predominately right brained, as opposed to Caucasians who are more left brained. The right brain is characterized by spontaneous, spiritual, and ecstatic experiences (p.19). Pasteur and Toldson concluded that the right hemisphere is also the creative side of the brain, resulting in an increase in learning and application of skills when the arts (dance, drama art & music) are infused in the curriculum.
An increasing achievement gap persists amongst K-12 minorities and their white counterparts as evidenced by standardized test scores and dropout rates. Studies show that although academic gains have been made, Hispanics, African-American students and those living in poverty continue to perform -below Caucasian students in reading and math (Hemphill, Vanneman, & Rahman, 2011; Vanneman, Hamilton, Anderson, & Rahman, 2009). The real concern should be establishing a standard for all and not a comparison with Caucasians, as their standard might be sub-par.
The success of ASPs is believed to be the result of committed stakeholders who support a mission that is clear and outcomes-oriented (Shea, 2019). In addition to teachers, teacher assistants, and community partners, parents’ involvement in their children’s education has been positively associated with improved academic achievement, pro-social skills, school attendance, and general attitudes (Wade, 2015; Fan and Williams, 2010).
Parental involvement is conceptualized as parents’ tangible support of their children’s academic achievement and adaption to the school environment (Bryce, Bradley, Abry, Swanson & Thompson, 2018; Suizzo & Stapleton, 2007). Research demonstrates that a school’s culture can affect parental involvement. Swick (2004) suggests that some teachers have negative stereotypes about parents and family involvement that affect the amount and type of interactions parents have with their children and the school. However, when teachers’ beliefs, attitudes, and signals to parents are positive, parental involvement is supported, resulting in the achievement of intended outcomes (Bryce, et. al, 2018). The U.S. Department of Education reported that when parents’ involvement in ASPs increases, so does their involvement with their children at home (Parental Involvement in Schools, 2012).
Parents’ transmission of their values and attitudes about education can directly and indirectly influence students’ persistence and motivation to achieve in school (El Nokali, Bachman, & Votruba-Drzal, 2010). Parental involvement and presence not only socializes children to the importance of education, but also gives them opportunities to monitor school behavior, academic performance, and makes parents readily aware of outside resources in support of their family’s needs. Wasserman, Sabater, & Hill (2017) present a model: Strength in Families: The Journey Project Model for Engaging Low -Income Black Families in Children’s Education. This has been demonstrated as an effective model for working with Black families in the realm of education.
Program Setting & Description
The program evaluation was conducted in a full-service community elementary school located in a low-income African American section of a Northeastern city. Situated in a community with high rates of poverty, crime, adult illiteracy, inadequate and sub-standard housing, and drug abuse, the school provides a secure, welcoming setting and a variety of services to help students achieve academically. A national foundation funded a local non-profit agency to develop and implement this ASP.
The ASP served as an extension of the school’s academic day and was considered one of the core components of the school. It operated Monday through Friday from 3:15-6:30 p.m. throughout the academic year. Students participating in the extended day program received two hours of individualized academic support (i.e. remedial instruction and homework assistance) Monday through Thursday. Computer labs were open to students for skill building activities. Fridays were “club day,” students participated in activities such as visual arts and crafts, martial arts, dance, various sports, and performing arts. During the week, some students received additional tutoring by the funding foundation’s employees.
In order to expose students to other cultures the program periodically scheduled field trips to local museums. In addition, as an incentive for good attendance, the least behavioral problems and improvement in academic performance level, they chose 15-5th grade students each year to travel to another country (i.e. London and Puerto Rico). Students were selected based upon attendance and grades. Along with the after school activities, the program offered mental health services, parent education activities such as G.E.D. classes, and cultural and recreational programs. Part-time teachers, aides, and parents staffed the program.
Together the school’s principal and the local non-profit agency designed the ASP curriculum. On the request of the national foundation providing the funding, the local non-profit agency contracted with the primary author to evaluate the effectiveness of the ASP. Using a combination of quantitative and qualitative data, the evaluation examined a range of process and outcome measures. This evaluation focuses on three of the main outcomes: academic achievement, behavior modification, and parental involvement. Parental involvement includes parents and guardians.
For the quantitative analyses, our sample included 715 students who participated in the ASP during a five-year period. One-quarter (n = 172; 23.7%) of participants were in 2nd grade. The remaining participants were evenly distributed among the remaining grades: 1st (n = 135; 18.6%); 3rd (n = 134; 18.4%); 4th (n = 140; 19.3%) and 5th (n = 134; 18.4%).
Ideally, outcomes for ASP students would be compared to non- attending ASP students from the same school. The school had a large and very active ASP. Thus, the total possible comparison group includes only 87 non-ASP students. We know from the data that the non-ASP students were more likely to be in first grade and less likely to have a math or reading grade of ‘Below Basic’. It is also likely that this group differs from participating students in other unknown ways, such as whether or not they have a stay-at-home parent, making their value as an appropriate comparison group is questionable. Thus, we decided to not use a comparison group and just report the findings, especially since this is a program evaluation.
Quantitative data was drawn primarily from the administrative records of the school operating the ASP. Each year the school provided the evaluators with basic data including: student participation in the ASP, math and reading levels obtained from standardized test scores and report card grades for each quarter. Additional student data was included, to include the types of ASP activities students participated in, the receipt of mental health services, and parent/guardian participation were available in some years as well.
We utilized paired samples t-tests to test for statistically significant changes in reading and math report card grades from the first to fourth quarter of the same school year.
To gain a deeper understanding of the effectiveness of the ASP, annual focus groups were conducted with students, teachers/teacher assistants and parents/guardians. Release forms explaining the purpose of the focus groups and the confidentiality process were signed by all participants, with parents giving permission for their child(ren) to participate.
The student focus groups were conducted in the respective grade level, with ASP staff randomly selecting 15-20 students for each focus group. On average, anywhere between 8-12 students participated in the focus groups, students’ incentives included ice cream treats or toys, while parents were incentivized with monetary ($20) or household gifts. As salaried employees, neither teachers nor teacher assistants’ received incentives for participating in this research.
The school in which the ASP operates utilizes a four-point grading scale on its report cards: 1 = Below Basic; 2 = Basic; 3 = Proficient; and 4 = Advanced. Figures 1 and 2 show the first quarter math and reading report card grades for ASP students. Although there is some variation across grade levels, the main finding is that the majority of ASP students began the school years at below basic or basic in reading and math for their respective grade levels.
Insert Figure 1. Math Grades, 1st Quarter, ASP Students
Insert Figure 2. Reading Grades, 1st Quarter, ASP Students.
Our remaining quantitative analyses focused on those students who initially were not achieving at least at the Proficient level in reading and math. Figure 3 shows the reading and math report card grades for these students over time. ASP students who were at a Below Basic or Basic level in the first quarter significantly increased their grades by the fourth quarter. In math, grades increased by half a level on average, from 1.62 in the first quarter to 2.27 in the fourth (t = -19.35, p < .001). Similarly, the average reading grade rose from 1.44 in the first quarter to 2.27 by the end of the school year (t = -19.53, p<.001).
Changes in Reading & Math Grades - ASP Students Starting Out Less than Proficient.
Insert Figure 3.
Report card grade increases for math and reading occurred for students at all grade levels. The only differences among grade levels occurred in math grades. Fifth grades students experienced average grade increases for math and reading that were significantly smaller than the average increase among second grade students. This effect resulted from the fact that a smaller proportion of fifth grade students started at the “Below Basic” level and thus, they had less room for possible improvement.
Evaluators discovered in their work that there are 3 A's for effective teaching: affection, affirmation and affiliation. Our evaluation findings confirm this for effective teachers. Consistent with the quantitative data, students, parents, and teachers all reported in the focus groups that the ASP was helping students improve academically. Students in all grades said that they were doing better in math and reading. Parents agreed that their children had improved academically, and viewed their children as being more attentive. Parents noticed a “big” improvement in reading. Many parents stated their children completed their homework, and through their own initiative, read books, newspapers, and other materials. Parents also found that their children were more focused in class and were consistently prepared for their tests. Parents noted that the students would teach their younger siblings what they had learned. Parents also noted that because of the students’ own initiative in completing their school work and being excited about the process, there was more personal time for family activities. Parents shared that the ASP field trips inspired parents to provide additional educational activities to their children, such as visits to museums.
Teachers of all grades noted the academic achievements of ASP students, particularly in math and reading. They agreed that students are better in comprehension, fluency and spelling. Teachers stated that students improved on multiplication, complex sentences and in their work ethic. An analysis of the audio recordings resulted in the following themes:
Response to Different Instructional Methods
All program personnel, including teachers and staff, were trained to use an Africentric theoretical and practice methodically. It is a culturally-appropriate, culturally relevant method (Harvey, 2018). Evaluators view the teaching methods as culturally relevant. Students liked the various interactional methods of teaching/learning (Jones & Hawes 1972) used in the ASP, especially the educational interactive games. Students in the 2nd and 3rd grades in particular stated that playing games was a good means for them to learn their basic math computations such as addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. The upper grade students stated reading out loud with partners helped them understand words and phrases outside of the school experience.
All students liked reading poems and acting in plays (Jones & Hawes 1972) . They appreciated the one-on-one time that the smaller class sizes allowed to happen and thought they learned better this way. Being rewarded for performing well on various class exercises was a positive for the students and reinforced their learning and appreciation of the teachers, whom they perceived as caring about them (this is an example of affection and affirmation).
Teachers also discovered that games work well in teaching students, rather than the traditional didactic methods. Students like competing with each other and like that both winners and losers received congratulations with some type of prize. Employing this method reinforced the students’ abilities to learn and helped build their self-confidence by rewarding them for their efforts. It also led to students feeling more connected to the program and each other. Some parents reported that their students often referred to “the program” with a sense of pride. This is an example of affiliation.
Teachers learned that they had to be willing to be creative and modify their teaching techniques based upon the learning (Hale, 1986) and language styles of the children (Kochman, 1983). This is critical to helping close the achievement gap because, in many cases, these styles are grounded in the ethnicity (Boykin & Toms, 1985), socio-economic status and social environment of the children (Edelman, 1985).
Students, parents, and teachers also credited the ASP with helping students improve their behavior. In particular, they indicated that the ASP helped students gain self-confidence, self-control, and coping skills. Students stated that the latter assisted them in their ability to read better, increased their self-confidence and reduced their test-taking anxiety. A number of students mentioned that before being involved in the program they were shy and not social, but after participating in the program they gained confidence in themselves, not only were they able to make friends, but they also engaged in conversations with other children and adults. One student stated “I am learning to be a better gentleman and respect others.” Many of the students also stated that they learned to “get along with their siblings better.” These outcomes reinforce Goggins II work on social emotional learning (SEL) (2017). Goggins II contends that there are five core competences essential to the student's capacity to integrate skills, attitudes, and behaviors to effectively perform educationally: self-awareness social awareness, self-management, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making.
ASP staff assisted students with learning more appropriate means of expressing themselves rather than yelling, arguing and fighting. As one boy stated, “Teachers help me find a better way to express myself without yelling, fighting, and getting upset.” Teachers helped students learn various techniques, such as meditation and self-talk, to calm themselves. In addition, students stated that ASP activities, (dancing, cheerleading and especially Tae Kwon Do) assisted them in learning self-control; thus being able to control themselves in the regular classroom and being able to give their undivided attention to the teacher.
Parents reported their children now listen to authority more and are more independent which “takes the slack off the parent.” Parents agreed that their children engaged in fewer fights, were better socially, handled their emotions better and controlled themselves better. All parents agreed that their children helped their younger siblings to read and do basic math. One parent stated “My child brings home his multiplication tables and teaches them to his younger siblings as well as helping them to read books.” Other parents agreed with this statement.
Teachers thought that the Tae Kwon Do classes were “helping children with their behavior” and providing the boys with more structure. Teachers believed the children gained more confidence in asking questions, which allowed them to have a better understanding of the students’ needs. Teachers reported that after being in ASP for a while, “the students came to class with great attitudes and an eagerness to learn and they were more independent and motivated to learn.” Teachers stated that at the start of the program students came to class with bad tempers. The teachers reported children went from fighting and arguing with each other to being caring and cooperative with each other. Students would even assist and encourage each other academically rather than tease and put each other down for their academic achievements. Children who were shy became more outspoken, more social and participatory in program activities. Teachers also observed improvement in appearances, hygiene and self-respect.
One teacher stated: “I had discipline problems at the beginning of the program but I realized the girls enjoy more of a game atmosphere to learn.” Jones & Hawes (1972) suggest that students respond well to incentives, snacks and pizza. Another teacher stated “students do better across the board once they know what is expected of them. Their behavior improved after teachers expressed to students their duties and responsibilities.” For example, they now use a pledge song in terms of learning and behavior at the end of the day to reinforce academic and behavioral expectations. With improvements in behavior, the relationships between teachers and students in the regular classroom became more positive.
Appreciation of Culture
Through field trips to museums and other activities, children gained an appreciation of culture in general and their African American culture in particular (Thompson 2017). All the children agreed they liked and enjoyed going on field trips. They said they enjoyed learning about other cultures and especially, about African American historical figures.
Parents appreciated their children learning about other cultures and their own African American culture as well (Rhomes, 2015). One parent stated her “daughter has a better understanding of being a Black person and some knowledge of other cultures.” All parents stated they liked the fact that their children had field trips to museums and this motivated them to have family field trips to the museums as well.
Teachers agreed that the children needed more exposure outside of their neighborhood in order to understand African-American culture and heritage. Teachers also agreed that the children have a deep hunger and interest for learning about Black history. The teachers stated most of the children do not know their history and have negative stereotypes about their race and heritage. Teachers were motivated to help change this by incorporating Black history and culture into their lesson plans.
The ASP also made a concerted effort to encourage parental involvement (Norman, 2014) in school activities in support of their children’s academic achievement. It quickly became clear that some activities generated more parental interest than others. Teachers were surprised that parents will come to see their children participate in extracurricular activities such as athletic competitions, plays, dance recitals, martial arts demonstrations and the end of the year awards ceremony, but were reluctant to engage in the academic side of the program.
Parents indicated that their own educational limitations impacted their ability to help their children. For example, many stated that the afterschool homework assistance is important because many parents do not have the academic knowledge to assist their children with their homework.
Although parental involvement in academically-focused activities was not as great as teachers would have liked, parents agreed the program has assisted them in being better parents. For example, parents said
“The program calmed me down. I now give my child more time to understand and finish her homework and not yell at her.”
“The program has made me want to go back to school.”
“I am more involved in the academics of my child and I have more time to get dinner ready and interact with my child due to the ASP.”
Parents stated they were thankful that teachers also taught life skills and were concerned about the students’ well-being. They agreed that the teachers are special and act as role models for them, and assist them in how to be more effective in dealing with their children.
Lessons Learned and Suggestions for ASP Development
In summary, the evaluation of the ASP showed that most students began the school year at a below basic or basic level in math and reading. By the end of the school year, grades, in reading and math, had significantly improved for these students. Some students moved from below basic to basic and a significant number moved to proficient. In the focus groups, students and teachers noted that the children responded well to the different interactive reward-based teaching techniques used in the ASP.
Increased confidence and self-control were also noted by children, parents/guardians, and teachers. As children’s reading and math skills improved, they became more enthusiastic about learning. Parents appreciated that the ASP staff helped with homework because parents/guardians often lacked the confidence and skills to do so themselves. In fact, the statements of some parents and guardians strongly suggested that their previous lack of involvement in the school was often due to their embarrassment about their own academic limitations.
Some of our most important findings concern factors that impeded and improved parental involvement among low-income African American urban families. The evaluators learned that in low-income high crime environments, parents are initially concerned with the safety of their children, because the environment often poses a serious threat to their well-being. On one occasion as the children crossed the school yard to go into the school building, they discovered a dead body. Parents were also hesitant to come out in the evening to attend PTA type of meetings especially during the winter, when it gets dark early, because in their environment that is when the streets are most dangerous with gang and drug activity.
Based on these findings, we suggest that meetings be held when the parents come to pick their children up from the ASP. These interactions do not necessarily have to be structured programs. Many parents did not have access to private transportation and had to either walk or catch a bus. Parents were grateful for the opportunity to be able to speak with the teachers in the ASP when they came to pick their children up from school. Most parents worked and were not able to get to school by the time the school normally let out. Because the ASP does not end until 6:30 pm, it provided more opportunities for parent-teacher interaction. In addition, the ASP created a welcoming environment, with an emphasis on positive academic and behavioral achievements. Parents felt that historically teachers only focused on the negative aspects of their child, prompting them to avoid interactions with school personnel. The authors recommend that teachers should regularly provide positive feedback to parents about their children as well as areas in need of improvement.
Through the evaluation, we learned that once the safety issue was dealt with parents would come out to the activities their children were involved in such as plays, athletic activities, martial arts demonstrations, dance recitals and the end of the year awards dinner celebration. Our suggestion is to integrate the academic and behavioral advisement into the activity agenda, such as during program presentation breaks or program intermissions. From a culturally competent perspective the evaluators also suggest most activities have substantial food provided so that parents do not have to prepare dinner.
Teachers are encouraged to be creative in their methods of communicating with parents. Most parents have cell phones and thus can text and many have access to the internet and can receive reports and communication employing these methods. These technologies can be used to give parents quick and informal updates about their students.
This may also be a way to encourage parents to be involved in their children’s education (Morris, 2016). For example, while many parents are not able to assist their children with homework, they could initiate a “family study time.” Parents can set aside a block of time each evening when all family members gather to study. Family members not in school can read the newspaper, books, or do some other intellectual activity, while children do their homework. Students can also assist their younger siblings in learning basic reading and math. During this time, there would be no TV, no phone calls, no texting or any other use of technology except for academic reasons. Parents could also ask their children to explain their homework to them. If children can explain what they have learned it insures that they know the material.
In conclusion, ASP shows the potential of children, parents and teachers to come together to increase academic achievement and decrease negative behaviors. The ASP provided both direct benefits to children, as well as ripple effects on their teachers and parents. Each group began to understand the other better, in order to develop creative approaches to learning and educating African-American children living in an urban setting (Rizza, 2015).
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Figure 1. Math Grades
Figure 2. Reading Grades
Figure 3. EDP Students Starting Out Less than Proficient.