Out-of-school-time academic programs to improve school achievement: A community guide health equity systematic review

John A. Knopf, Robert A. Hahn, Krista K. Proia, Benedict I. Truman, Robert L. Johnson, Carles Muntaner, Jonathan E. Fielding, Camara Phyllis Jones, Mindy T. Fullilove, Pete C. Hunt, Shuli Qu, Sajal K. Chattopadhyay, Bobby Milstein

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Context: Low-income and minority status in the United States are associated with poor educational outcomes, which, in turn, reduce the long-term health benefits of education. Objective: This systematic review assessed the extent to which out-of-school-time academic (OSTA) programs for at-risk students, most of whom are from low-income and racial/ethnic minority families, can improve academic achievement. Because most OSTA programs serve low-income and ethnic/racial minority students, programs may improve health equity. Design: Methods of the Guide to Community Preventive Services were used. An existing systematic review assessing the effects of OSTA programs on academic outcomes (Lauer et al 2006; search period 1985-2003) was supplemented with a Community Guide update (search period 2003-2011). Main Outcome Measure: Standardized mean difference. Results: Thirty-two studies from the existing review and 25 studies from the update were combined and stratified by program focus (ie, reading-focused, math-focused, general academic programs, and programs with minimal academic focus). Focused programs were more effective than general or minimal academic programs. Reading-focused programs were effective only for students in grades K-3. There was insufficient evidence to determine effectiveness on behavioral outcomes and longer-term academic outcomes. Conclusions: OSTA programs, particularly focused programs, are effective in increasing academic achievement for at-risk students. Ongoing school and social environments that support learning and development may be essential to ensure the longer-term benefits of OSTA programs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)594-608
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Public Health Management and Practice
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Dec 1

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.


  • achievement gap
  • disparities
  • education
  • minority health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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