News

Study: OST Digital Technology Program has Impact on High Schoolers’ Grades

Participants of the YMCA Youth Institute in Long Beach, Calif., who are learning creative digital technology. YMCA
Participants of the YMCA Youth Institute in Long Beach, Calif., who are learning creative digital technology.

YMCA

Participants of the YMCA Youth Institute in Long Beach, Calif., who are learning creative digital technology.

Can out-of-school programs help low-income high school students improve their grades and test scores?

Little research has looked at programs at the high school level, said Julie O’Donnell, Director of Research at the Child Welfare Training Centre at California State University, Long Beach.

Now, however, she and fellow researcher Sandra Kirkner point to theYMCA Youth Institute in Long Beach, Calif., where their evaluation shows higher test scores, higher grade point averages and better school attendance among kids in the program.

Youth Institute is a comprehensive youth development program that teaches creative digital technology, including video production and website building. Participants are low-income, culturally-diverse youth.

“The research is getting a lot of attention because it’s really positive,” O’Donnell said.

untitled-31Thirty-one percent of active participants in Youth Institute raised their GPA, in comparison with 20 percent of kids in the control group, the evaluation showed. Seventeen percent had higher standardized test scores in English language arts, compared with 6 percent in the control group.

Each year, Youth Institute works with 85 kids from eighth through tenth grade. Fifteen alumni — high school students who’ve gone through the program — return to serve as peer teachers.

The program is a multi-faceted one. Kids take part in a wilderness retreat focusing on team-building and diversity training. They attend an eight-week summer program in addition to the after-school program.

They use a state-of-the art digital lab and learn software including iMovie HD, Final Cut Pro, Microsoft Word, Power Point, Keynote, and Inspiration 9.

The comprehensive nature of the program is important, O’Donnell said.

“If you’re going to do something with academics, you really need to have the comprehensive part to keep youth engaged and provide a lot of support,” she said.

O’Donnell stressed that the amount of a young person’s participation in the program made a difference. Active participants saw greater gains than less-active ones.

The research report by Julie O’Donnell and Sandra Kirkner, “Effects of an out-of-school program on urban high school youth’s academic performance,” was published in the March 2014 issue of Journal of Community Psychology.

Comments

Youth Today is the only independent, internationally distributed digital media publication that is read by thousands of professionals in the youth service field.

Youth Today adheres to high-quality journalistic standards, providing readers with professional news coverage dedicated to examining a wide spectrum of complex issues in the youth services industry from legislation to community-based youth work.

EDITORIAL INDEPENDENCE

Our organization retains full authority over editorial content to protect the best journalistic and business interests of our organization. We maintain a firewall between news coverage decisions and sources of all revenue.

DONORS & DONOR TRANSPARENCY

We are committed to transparency in every aspect of funding our organization. Donors may be quoted, mentioned or featured in our stories. Our news judgments are made independently – not based on or influenced by donors. Accepting financial support does not mean we endorse donors or their products, services or opinions…(read more)

Recent Comments

Categories

Archives

Kennesaw State University Mountain Logo & Ceneter for Sustainable Journalism Logo
LOGO Institute for Nonprofit News 3 turquoise boxes stacked in "J" shape

Copyright © 2018 Youth Today and MVP Themes --- Published by Center for Sustainable Journalism,
Kennesaw State University, 1200 Chastain Blvd. Suite 310, Kennesaw GA 30144

To Top