Oct 13, 2013


After School Matters is an apprenticeship program available to high school students in Chicago, IL. The program was created to help them gain career-readiness skills.  In this evaluation, 535 high school students were evaluated to see the impacts of the apprenticeship experience on a number of measurable outcomes related to career-readiness.  Of these outcomes, students in the intervention group were shown to significantly differ on self-regulation, attitudes about school, and fewer specific problem behaviors.


Target population: High School Students

After School Matters was created to give high school students the opportunity to gain career-readiness skills through an intensive 20-week (10 weeks in the fall and 10 weeks in the spring) apprenticeship-style experience.  The apprenticeships meet for nine hours a week: three days a week after school for three hours each day (180 hours for the full year). The apprenticeships are organized around particular enterprises including technology, science, athletics, and the arts.  The program ends with a final product or performance by the student.  Two paid instructors, who have expertise in the designated activity, direct each apprenticeship.


Hirsch, B. J., Hedges, L.V., Stawicki, J. A., & Mekinda, M. A.  (2011) After School Programs for High School Students: An Evaluation of After School Matters. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University

Evaluated population: There were a total of 535 Chicago public high school students in the study (304 in the treatment group and 231 in the control group).  Of the total population, 36.4 percent were freshmen, 29.5 percent were sophomores, 23.6 percent were juniors, and 10.5 percent were seniors, with the mean age at pretest being 15.87 years. There were slightly more females than males (59.4 percent and 40.6 percent respectively).  The majority of the population was African American (76.6 percent) or Latino/a (22.5 percent).  Additionally, 92.2 percent of the population received free/reduced price lunch at their respective schools.

Approach: Data was collected before (pretest) and after (posttest) the apprenticeship.  The outcome variables measured were positive youth development outcomes (self-efficacy, self-regulation, occupational values, relationships with adult authority figures, interpersonal relationships), marketable job skills, school performance, school attendance, attitudes about school, and problem behaviors (total score, and history of drinking alcohol, using drugs, having risky sexual intercourse, physical fights, stealing, being suspended from school, selling drugs, stealing, carrying a weapon and gang activity).

Results: For the positive youth development outcomes, only self-regulation was statistically significant.  Marketable job skills, school performance, and school attendance showed no difference between groups.  Students in the intervention group showed significantly more positive attitudes about school in both school identification and extrinsic value.  For the problem behaviors outcome, student in the intervention group showed a significant difference on the total scale mean, and a reduction in the likelihood of selling drugs and gang activity.




Hirsch, B. J., Hedges, L.V., Stawicki, J. A., & Mekinda, M. A.  (2011)After School Programs for High School Students: An Evaluation of After School Matters. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University

KEYWORDS: High School, Males and Females (Co-ed), Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, Urban, Community-based, Vocational Learning, Skills Training, After-School Program, Attendance, Other Self-Sufficiency, Self-Esteem/Self-Concept, Delinquency, Aggression, Sexual Activity, Marijuana/Illicit/Prescription Drugs, Alcohol Use, Job Training/Readiness, Academic Motivation/Self-concept, Expectations/Engagement, Academic Achievement

Program information last updated 10/10/13