ASSETs Final Evaluation Report: California 21st Century High School After School Safety and Enrichment for Teens (ASSETs) Program
The California 21st Century High School After School Safety and Enrichment for Teens (ASSETs) Program is part of a statewide effort to address the underachievement of California youth by providing opportunities to become well-adjusted adults and constructive citizens. California’s former Superintendent of Public Instruction, Jack O’Connell, remarked that 1.7 million high school students are not reaching academic levels needed to succeed in the workplace, in college, or as effective citizens.
WestEd’s ASSETs Interim Evaluation Report focused on the initial progress of the first cohort of grantees participating in the ASSETs program. Findings in this final evaluation report include characteristics of after-school programs for high school students, promising organizational and planning practices that support academic achievement, and practices that engage students in planning and participating in the high school after-school projects. Of special interest are findings from the comparative analyses of Cohort 1 data about California Standards Test (CST) scores and California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE) scores for ASSETs Program participants and similarly situated students not involved with the ASSETs Program. For example:
- For both the English language arts and mathematics portions of the CAHSEE, after-school participants passed at a significantly higher rate than similarly situated students not involved in the after-school projects.
This finding held true for all participants, those who attended 10 days or more, and those who attended 30 days or more.
This report also highlights evidence of ASSETs Program projects to develop common elements needed to provide an effective platform for added school and community support for high school students as they transition into young adulthood, develop academic skills, prepare for further education and work, and pursue activities they find interesting and meaningful. Such evidence includes:
- strong links to students’ regular academic school day;
- youth involvement in the design, development, promotion, operation, and evaluation of after-school activities and services;
- staff who are qualified to help high school students with academics and who do so with enthusiasm; and
- structural support for students’ developmental needs, including youths’ sense of belonging in the school community, with adults, and with peers.
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