Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)

Degree Level



Curriculum and Instruction


Carleton R. Holt

Committee Member

Ed Bengston

Second Committee Member

Betsy Orr


Education, After-school programs, Community learning centers, Extended learning programs, Latchkey programs, Out-of-school time programs, Quality elements


Concern for the safety, education and well-being of children during out-of-school time is helping to change the landscape and priorities of families, educators and policy-makers. Changes in family structure and society have presented the need for quality out-of-school time programs. The changing family structure caused by both parents working outside the home, the advent of the single-parent household, the necessity of federally mandated standardized testing for student achievement, certain criminal activities and the expanding population of children have contributed to the question of how to protect children and enrich their lives during out-of-school time hours. The purpose of this intrinsic case study is to describe the key elements of quality in out-of-school time programs for school age youth as perceived by the participants and to determine the impact of the quality standards in out-of-school time programs as perceived by administrators, teachers, and students. The program participants are middle school students based on academic performance enrolled in a 21st Century Community Learning Center out-of-school time program in Southeast Arkansas.

Participants included a diverse population from various socioeconomic backgrounds that were enrolled in the program because of basic or below scores on the benchmark examination. The study is designed around the premise out-of-school time programs built around key elements of quality reinforce outcomes of student achievement, personal enrichment and out-of-school time programs matter. Interview content regarding student achievement was found to be the richest category with related themes of grades and homework. Interview data revealed shared themes regarding the program for the participants' category.

The study provides insight into quality elements of out-of-school time programs, specifically, student achievement through gains made in homework and grades. The case study identified elements of quality that support student achievement outcomes for school-based programs including positive program perceptions, sustainable funding, and building strong interpersonal relationships. The findings suggest key elements of quality were identified and may contribute to positive outcomes for students. Program sustainability was a major concern for staff and the future of the OST program. This study contributes to the data needed to identify out-of-school time quality elements across program types and geographical locations.