Participant-staff relationship quality and academic outcomes among elementary and middle school children in after-school programs

Lisa M DeBellis, Fordham University

Abstract

This study examined an important element of program quality in a large sample of 21st Century Community Learning Center (21 st CCLC) after-school programs, namely the quality of relationships between participants and staff members, and how this particular element of program quality was related to participants' academic outcomes. In particular, the study examined how participant-staff relationship quality (PSRQ) was related to participant engagement in positive academic behaviors and how engagement in turn predicted academic achievement scores in math and English language arts (ELA). The current study also focused on the interaction of program attendance and PSRQ in 21st CCLC programs, and how this interaction might predict engagement in positive academic behaviors and, subsequently, academic achievement. The current study also looked to determine whether PSRQ was more predictive of academic outcomes for elementary school participants compared with middle school participants. ^ This study provided a secondary analysis of data collected in conjunction with the evaluation of 58 21st CCLC funded programs throughout New York City, serving approximately 8,000 children and youth in grades 4-8. PSRQ was measured using the Trust in and Respect for Teachers Scale Adapted for After-School. Engagement in positive academic behaviors was measured using the Academic Work Habits Subscale from the Mock Report Card. Math and ELA achievement were measured using participants' scores from New York State exams. ^ A hierarchical linear modeling approach was used to answer the research questions in the current study. The results provided evidence that PSRQ was positively related to engagement in positive academic behaviors after controlling for several demographic variables and prior achievement. The interaction between PSRQ and program attendance was also significant such that predicted scores were lowest for participants who reported low levels of PSRQ and who also did not attend their programs frequently. PSRQ did not seem to influence engagement in positive academic behaviors more for elementary or middle school participants. PSRQ and engagement in positive academic behaviors were significant predictors of math achievement. In addition, program attendance was a significant predictor of math achievement as was the interaction between PSRQ and program attendance. Predicted scores in math achievement were lowest for participants who reported low levels of PSRQ and who also did not attend their programs frequently. PSRQ was not related to participants' achievement in ELA. This suggests that participation in after-school programs may have more of an impact on participants in their math achievement rather than ELA achievement. PSRQ did not significantly influence math or ELA achievement more for elementary or middle school participants; however, the results suggest that the influence of PSRQ on academic achievement may be greater for elementary school participants compared with middle school participants.^

Subject Area

Education, Middle School|Education, Administration|Education, Elementary|Education, Educational Psychology|Psychology, Developmental

Recommended Citation

DeBellis, Lisa M, "Participant-staff relationship quality and academic outcomes among elementary and middle school children in after-school programs" (2014). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3632715.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI3632715

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