An exploration of high school co-curricular activities
Previous research demonstrates that there is a small but statistically significant positive relationship between academic success and involvement in school based co-curricular activities. This qualitative research study focuses on college sophomore's reflections on their experiences in high school and specifically their descriptions of their school-based co-curricular activities. The study seeks to explore possible reasons why a relationship exists between co-curricular involvement in high school and academic success and why some activities might be more effective than others in supporting positive academic outcomes.
This dissertation research begins with a short survey to identify students who were involved in multiple student activities in high school that collectively required at least 10 or more hours a week of the student's time. The study then involves phenomenological interviews of these highly involved students. Upon completion of the interviews, the data were analyzed using two frameworks that exist at the intersection of ecological systems theory and person-environmental fit theory: Eccles and Gootman's (2002) framework of eight features of positive development and Hansen and Larson's (2007) framework of four amplifiers of positive development. Results from this study suggest that the activity leader's passion and job performance, the structure of the activity, and the relationships built within the activity might have the largest influence in creating positive developmental experiences. These results also suggest that the likelihood of a positive experience may be unrelated to the adult to student ratio.
0457: Performing Arts
0533: Secondary education