2013-08 Co-Curricular Participation and Student Achievement
- First published on 18 May 2013 Posted in District News
The Chilton School District has a rich history of support for a broad range of co-curricular activities ranging from school clubs, school activities, music, drama and athletics. One question that is often asked is; what is the effect of co-curricular participation on student achievement? Many studies have been conducted and do support the common theme that participation in co-curricular activities does correlate to higher student achievement. In addition to higher student achievement, a number of related personal and social benefits are also found to be present in those participating in co-curricular activities.
According to studies conducted, male and female students who participate in co-curricular activities, including athletics, derive a host of benefits. Those benefits are: Better grades, a higher likelihood of college attendance, a lower likelihood of dropping out of school, higher educational aspirations, more satisfaction with schools and teachers, higher life satisfaction, broader conventional peer networks, less involvement in delinquent behavior, and less drug and alcohol use.
The National Federation of State High School Associations recently published updated information asserting the value of participating in interscholastic activities. The data continues to support, with overwhelming evidence, that participation in school programs enriches the lives of millions of students each year on a national scale. According to the National Governors’ Association Center for Best Practices, students who participate nine hours or more each week, for at least a year, are four times more likely to: Be recognized for academic achievement, win a school attendance award, participate in a science and math fair, and win an award for writing. They are also three times more likely to be elected to class office.
Independent research demonstrates that students who participate and are engaged in school programs, whether it’s athletics or any other extracurricular activity, have less truancy, lower drop-out rates, fewer disciplinary issues and better grade point averages, on average, than their peers that have no involvement. In 2007, the Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise reported that students who took part in more vigorous sports like soccer or football performed nearly 10 percent better in math, science, english and social studies classes.
It may also be undeniable that involvement in high school activities bodes well for participants after high school as well. According to researchers in a 2005 study, participation in extracurricular activities gives all students, including those from disadvantaged backgrounds, and those without stellar academic accomplishments in high school; measurable improvements on college admission exam scores. Furthermore, students who compete in sports in high school were more likely than those not participating to be active in volunteering, voting, speaking publicly and being aware of current events.
Participation in high school co-curricular activities leads to fewer school drop outs, greater community involvement, greater academic achievement and a plethora of other positive outcomes. Perhaps the most important impact of participation in high school activities is the short- and long-term personal and emotional benefits that lead to making appropriate choices. According to a United States Department of Education article published in 2002, those who have no involvement in interscholastic activities are 49 percent more likely to use drugs, and 37 percent more likely to become teen parents.
The volume of materials and information supporting the values and life-long lessons learned through interscholastic activities is vast. However, we must be careful not to take extracurricular opportunities for granted or underestimate the impact they have on schools, and a school’s community. School co-curricular programs are valuable extensions of the traditional classroom.
In the current climate of tightening school budgets that threaten to reduce funding for extracurricular programs, it is imperative for us to embrace school activities that nurture our students. The Chilton School District recognizes the importance of co-curricular opportunities for students and the benefits gained through participation. It is our sincere wish that all students would experience one or more of the many co-curricular activities available to them. The benefits will last them a lifetime.
Written by Mr. David Sonnabend, Assistant High School Principal and Athletic Director