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THE EFFECT OF EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES ON ACADEM lCACHIEVEMENTA ThesisPresented tothe School of EducationDrake UniversityIn Partial Fulfillmentof the Requirements for the DegreeSpecialist of Educationby James W. O'DeaMay 1994

THE EFFECT OF EXTRACURRICULAR ACTlVlTlES ON ACADEMICACHIEVEMENTby James W. O'DeaMay 1994Approved by Cornmitt*:AdvisorRichard Schwab, h . 6Dean of the School of EducationV

THE EFFECT OF EXTRA-CURRICULAR ACTlVlTlESON ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENTAn abstract of a Thesis byJames W. O'DeaMay 1994Drake UniversityAdvisor: Michael JohnsonThe problem. Is there a difference in the grade point average betweenstudents who participate in extracurricular activities and those who do notparticipate?Procedure. Four hundred twenty-four seniors at Valley High School inWest Des Moines, Iowa made up the study group. Each senior completed theFall Senior Information Sheet which gathered information about theirparticipation in extracurricular activities. The grade point averages wereobtained from office records. Specific criteria were developed to establish agroup of involved students and a group of those not involved in extracurricularactivities. The difference between groups was statistically analyzed using a ttest.Findinas. The probability of the t-test was less than 0.000499. Asignificance level of 0.01 was established for this study.Condusions. 'There is a significant difference between the grade pointaverages of those involved in extracurricular activities and those not involved inextracurricuiar activities.Recorr mendations.Additional research is recommended to determine ifextracurricular activities have an effect on such variables as attendance,discipline, school size, and self-esteem. Do the types of activities have an effecton GPA? A study of the effects that withdrawal from extracurricular activities hason the previously mentioned factors could be interesting.

TABLE OF CONTENTSPageList of Tables .viChapter1.Introduction .IStatement of the Problem.2Significance of the Study .32.Review of Literature . 4Criteria for Selection of Articles .4Results . 5Threats to Internal Validity .I1Conclusions . 11Research Limitations. 14Summary . 15Procedures . 1 6Population and Sample .16Instrumentation. 17Definition of Terms . 17Statistical Hypotheses . 18Treatment of Data . 8Analysis of the Data . 20Introduction . -20Results . 20

5.Surnmary.Concluslons. andRecornmendatttions .26Procedure.26Conclusions.26Recommendations for FurtherResearch .27References.-29AppendicesA.Data for the Sample . -33B.Fall Senior information Sheet . 44

List of TablesTable1.Articles That Pertain Directlyto the Study .72. Articles That Support the Study .103.Frequency of Grade Point Averagefor All Students . 214.Frequency of Grade Point Averageof Students Involved in Activities . 225.Frequency of Grade Point Averageof Students not Involved. -23T-Test . -24in Activities.6.

Chapter 1IntroductionExtracurricular activities play an important role in today's secondaryeducation programs (Holland & Andre, 1987). When one considers the largenumber of activities available, one realizes the diversity of the programs.Included are athletics, publications, student government, fine arts, academicclubs, service organizations, and special interest activities.There has been a considerable amount of research devoted to studyingthe relationship between student involvement in activities and student academicachievement. Although a positive correlation has been shown in many of thesestudies, there is still a fierce battle among educators concerning the need forextracurricular activities.Two positions appear to be prevalent in today's academic community.These are referred to as either the academic or developmental perspective. Theacademic perspective considers extracurricular activities as purely leisure andnot part of the purpose of schools. The developmental perspective considersextracurricular activities necessary to the total development of the student intoday's schools (Holland & Andre, 1987).Educators who believe in the academic perspective argue that time spentaway from the classroom decreases the student's chances for success. Eventhose activities that don't require loss of classroom time are perceived to takeaway study time. These educators support cutting or eliminating activities forbudgetary reasons.The state of Iowa, like many states, has faced enormous challenges in therecent legislative sessions to fund education. Special interest groups supportingconsolidation, decrease in funding, and sharing of programs add fuel to theacademic perspective.

School boards and legislatures enacted "no pass - no play" rulesthroughout the country during the 1980's. These rules were designed to pacifythe back-to-basics trends that were and are prevalent in today's educationsystems.Educators who believe in the developmental perspective see activities asan extension of the educational program. Activities allow students to developskills such as leadership, sportsmanship, self-discipline, self-confidence, and theactivities offer anability to handle competitive situations. Extracurric laropportunity to interact in ways that allow the previously mentioned skills toblossom. The developmental minded believe that many of these skills would beimpossible or very difficult to develop in a classroom setting.Marsh (1992) stated:According to different theoretical perspectives, extracurricular activityparticipation may be posited to (a) divert attention from academic pursuits,as evidenced by its negative effects on narrowly defined academic goals;(b) have little or no effect on academic outcomes but contribute todesirable nonacademic outcomes; or (c) have positive effects onnonacaden- icoutcomes and facilitate academic growth, perhapsindirectly, as well. (p. 553)Statement of the ProblemThis research sought to study the relationship between extracurricularactivities and student achievement. The study was designed to determine ifthere was a significant difference in grade point average between studentsinvolved in extracurricular activities and students not involved in extracurricularactivities.

Sigrkificance of the StudvThe results of this study add to the body of irkformation regarding thevalue of extracurricular activities. It provides educators and parents withinformation to assist their high school students in making more informed choicesin their high school programs .

Chapter 2The Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC) was used for theprimary search of literature pertaining to the research question. The followingdescriptors were used for the first search: grade o i naveraae,tachievement,-a,and extracurricular.This search located 61 references whichproduced a limited number of primary sources. Another search was conductedusing the following key words: extracurricular, Iearninq, achievement, and affect.This search produced another 58 references.A request to the Iowa High School Athletic Association located 4 reports.A dissertation from the Drake library completed the search.The information search was conducted by the Area Education Agency.The information supplied with the ERIC search was used to determine whicharticles were appropriate for the research question. The information searchdocument has two sections which supplied the necessary material to determinewhich references would answer the research question. The section calleddocument type was used to eliminate secondary resources. The abstract wasutilized to determine if extracurricular activity and its effect on studentperformance was a main theme of the reference.The chosen references included research reports, conference papers,evaluative reports, reviews of literature, a dissertation, and articles pertaining toextracurricular activities and their influence on student achievement.Criteria for Selection of ArticlesThe criteria used for article selection were as follows:1. The article was classified as a research document and extracurricularactivity was the independent variable in the study.2.The variable grade-point average was involved in the study.

3. Extracurricular activity was compared to other adolescent development.The search and the criteria selection methods produced 41 articles whichwere used in this study.As the search progressed it became apparent that extracurricular activity,as compared to adolescent development, involved a wide variety of areas.A c a d e m i G t was not always reported as grade point average. Toallow for these differences, the following changes were made in the criteria.1. The article was classified as a research document and extracurricularactivity was the independent variable in the study.2. Academic achievement was compared to extracurricular activity.3. Articles addressed extracurricular activity and academic achievement.These articles may not correlate the two variables.The second criterion produced 14 articles which compared extracurricularactivities to academic success. A set of 6 articles was selected if extracurricularactivity and/or academic success was studied in the article even if academicsuccess was not the dependent variable.ResultsArticles that showed a positive or neaative relationshipThe research question was to determine if there was a relationshipbetween extracurricular activity and academic achievement. As mentioned in thecriteria section, there were 14 articles that met this requirement. Seven of thosearticles reported either a positive or negative relationship between the variables.All 7 articles were research articles. One article used the national ACT tosample 10,758 students (Dvorak, 1989). One article sampled 3,125 collegestl dentsfrom the same school (Henriksen, 1989). One article used the NationalLongitudinal Transition Study with a sampling of 10,369 students (Newman,1991). The remaining 4 articles sampled students from school districts in Texas,

Mississippi, California, and Wisconsin. These 4 studies used samples of lessthan 1000 (Brown 8 Steinberg, 1991; Gifford & Dean, 1990; Ligon, 1988;McNamara, 1985).The analytical techniques varied from simple survey and personalinterviews to the use of effect sizes. Percentages were used in two studies.Two articles reported using analysis of variance and Pearson correlationcoefficients, but neither study had any tables showing the results.Six articles found a positive( ) relationship between extracurricular activityand academic achievement while only one found no significant relationship.ArticlesaSeven research articles reported Pearson correlation coefficients usingextracurricular activity as the independent variable and academic achievementas the dependent variable.Three of the studies used the High School and Beyond national data base(Brown & Steinberg, 1991; Gifford & Dean, 1990; Ligon, 1988; McNamara,1985). This data base generated 10,613 and 7,668, and 5,209 studentsrespectively for these two studies. One study used ACT information for theincoming freshman class of a small college (Harvancik, 1986). The threeremaining studies were from individual high schools in the midwest, south, andintermountain regions of the country (Castle, 1986; Leonardson, 1986; Neish,1993).All seven articles reported a positive correlation between extracurricularactivity and academic achievement. The correlation coefficients had a rangefrom .209 - .56.Three studies used the same data base and two of the studiesreported identical rvalues of .231. The third study reported a value of ,432,which is almost twice the other two studies. Table 1 summarizes the informationpresented in the prior results section.

Table 1AuthorGifford, V.Dean,M.M.Dvorak, J.Marsh,H.W.Camp,W.G.Leonardson, G. R.31 ninthgrades N 771 injunior high33 ninthgradesN 825 insenior highN 10758collegefrosh info.from ACTAnalyticTechniqueAnalysis ool and CorrelationBeyonddatabaseN 10613MultipleHighSchool and CorrelationBeyonddatabaseN 7668Students in CorrelationCoefficientprivateShigh schoolin thelntermountain WestN l65'Threats toValiditvpopulationConclusion9th grade studentsin junior highparticipated in moreECA and higherGPA than 9th gradestudents in a seniorhigh setting.population Participation in highinstrumsntati school newspaperor yearbook staffonshowed nosignificant influenceon freshmancollege GPAParticipation inpopulationECA has a positiveeffect on academicachievement.Student activitylevel has asignificant effect onacademicachievement. Theeffect was twice asgreat as ninstrumentatiGPA andonparticipation in ECApopulation

Neish,M.A.Students atPearsonMarysville CorrelationHighSchoolN 288Castle,T.D.1985seniorclass inmidwestern highschoolN 374PearsonProductMomentCoefficient3Wisconsinand 6 SanFranciscoHighSchoolsN 8000Survey L.Harvancik,M.J.Survey and303personalschoolsinterviewsand 22special ed.schoolsacross theU.S.N 10369Pearsonl ncomingProductfreshmenMomentat smallsouthweste Coefficientrn college.N 1067PopulationSignificantcorrelation betweenhigh participation inECA and GPA participation inECAThose thaZMortalityparticipate in ECAMaturationachieve higherPopulationacademic success,miss fewer days ofschool andexperience fewerdiscipline problemsMortalityStudents in ECAMaturationhad greaterInstrumentat academic successthan those who didionnot participate found students inathletics with lowerGPA than those inleadershipactivities.Those specialMortalityeducation studentsinvolved in ECAhad a significantdecrease in failedclasses.HistoryPopulationinstrumentationThe positivecorrelation isquestionedbecause of selfreporting of gradesand ambiguousACT questionsconcerning ECA.

Percentages PopulationMortalityMcNamaraSeniorsPercentag, J.F.from 3 highesschool incentralTexasN 515 MortalityPopulationHenriksen,L. HistoryMaturationPopulationHighRegression .23School and1AnalysisBeyond.OOdatabaseN 52091PopulationLigon, G.Howley, C.Huang, G.Data baseof Austinlndependent SchoolDistrictBall StateUniversitystudentsN 3125SPSSXMANOVAeffect sizesStudy showedsignificantimprovement inacademic successfor those in ECAafterimplementation ofno pass - no playrule.Students thatparticipated in high,moderate, or (OWnumbers of ECAhad higher GPAthan those whodidn't participate.The GPA andgraduation rateswere higher forstudents involved inECAECA in some formcanenhancestudentachievementacross allcategories ofschool size.Selected articles that support the research question.A total of 5 articles that did not directly relate extracurricular activity toacademic acliievement were analyzed for the support they added to theresearch question. These are summarized in table 2. Two articles comparedextracurricular activities to self-concept andlor self-esteem. One study found apositive effect and the other no significant effect (Simeroth, 1987; Steitz & Owen,1988). Two studies compared work to participation in extracurricular activitiesand academic achievement. Both studies agreed that a significant negativeeffect occurred (MacAithur, 1989; Marsh, 1991).

Table 2Articles That Support The StudvAuthorMarsh,H.W.Laing, J.Sawyer, R.Noble, J,Simeroth,N.J.Steitm, essionSchool and coefficientBeyonddata baseN 477 I- Threats to1-validitypopulationConclusionsWork duringhigh schoolhad anegativeeffect onECA andacademicachievementHigh level ofaccuracy forself-reportedinformationStudents percentagethat tooksthe ACT inFeb. orApril of1986N 477Highregressionschool girls coefficientin AlaskasingleschoolN 166Highmultipleschool inregressionMemphisTN. N 445 instrumentationpopulation instrumentationselectionpopulationFemales inECA hadhigher selfconcept-populationinstrumentationJuniors in percentage3 highsschools ina southerncity N cebetweenECA andSelf-esteemWork had asignificantnegativeeffect onGPA andparticipationin ECA.

Threats to internal validitv.All 19 studies were scrutinized for threats to internal validity as describedby (Borg & Gall, 1989).The most common threat to internal validity was instrumentation. This threatemerged in 9 of 19 studies. The threat in most of these studies was caused bylack of information about the instrument. An example of this threat occurred in astudy that used the Piers-Harris Children's Self-Concept Scale (Leonardson,1986). There was no mention of the validity or reliability of this test in the study.This may account for the fact that these studies did not report any statisticalanalysis in their results.Mortality was a threat in 6 of 19 studies. This threat was common in thelongitudinal studies as subjects were lost over a period of time. An example ofthis threat was in the study done in Wisconsin using a self-reporting survey givenin two parts. Between the fall and spring surveys there was a high attrition ofminority students (Brown & Steinberg, 1991). Maturation, regression, selection,testing, and history did not account for any significant threats to internal validity.ConclusionsThe zero-sum model was developed to demonstrate a negativerelationship between academic achievement and extracurricular activities.Participation in extracurricular activities was said to detract from academicpursuits (Coleman, 1961). Ifparticipation in extracurricular activities is harmful toacademic achievement, then research studies should show a negativecorrelation between these variables (Camp, 1990).The opposite of the zero-sum model is the premise that extracurricularactivities enhance academic achievement. The results of this study show that 17of the 19 studies had a positive correlation between the two variables.

Participation in extracurricular activities is positively associated with manystudent characteristics. Participation is associated with higher levels of selfesteem (Marsh, 1992; McNamara, 1985; Simeroth, 1987). Participation isassociated with lower delinquencyi'absenteeism rates (Castle, 1986; Marsh,1992; Newman, 1991). Howley and Huang, (1991), using the High School andBeyond data base, found that extracurricular activity across at1 sizes of schoolsexhibi

activity was the independent variable in the study. 2. Academic achievement was compared to extracurricular activity. 3. Articles addressed extracurricular activity and academic achievement. These articles may not correlate the two variables. The second criterion produced 14 articles which compared extracurricular activities to academic success.

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