Collaboration between after-school programs and schools facilitates shared access to academic information that helps both parties extend and deepen student learning, Education Week reports.
To gain access to this rich data, one group, the Next-Generation Afterschool System-Building Initiative, asks parents to sign consent forms that give schools permission to share details with the after-school program, including "attendance, academic, and behavior data."
- Sharing data has helped districts and after-school programs make changes to curriculum and programming, including expanding science and art classes after school.
Both after-school and regular school programs can benefit when they coordinate based on data that comes from student performance and behavior. Whether the sources are attendance records or surveys asking students about their confidence levels, these data sets can help determine how curriculum is landing with students, and that it’s working as it was designed to.
In a white paper titled "Using Student Achievement Data to Support Instructional Decision Making, the National Association of Elementary School Principals notes that there’s no question data is crucial to today’s education system.
"Good data make for good decisions," wrote the authors. "How student achievement data are collected and implemented will determine how well that data support the instructional decision making by principals and teachers."
After-school programs are permitted access to school records and vice versa under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) as long as sharing of this data is in the best interest of students, notes a 2014 report from the Afterschool Alliance. Data can help determine the effectiveness of after-school programming and how these after-school hours even impact graduation rates.
The BUILD program in Chicago, for example, has even changed its programming after examining surveys and data collected. When the group discovered that 10% of students identified as LGBTQ and 40% didn’t know if they had medical insurance, it launched new initiatives around physical and mental health wellness. BUILD also found that 93% of students in its programs were promoted to the next grade, according to the Afterschool Alliance.
By working together, after-school groups and schools can help scaffold students. The key, said the Afterschool Alliance, is that they go in with "a clear and focused set of goals, gather and synthesize data that are connected to those goals, and implement a continuous improvement cycle that uses the data in order to build on lessons learned and ensure that they are providing their students with the supports they need."