The content analysis approach of identifying and examining ECA studies
involves two steps: identifying relevant articles to be examined and determining the
theoretical frameworks (Harris, 2001). Using academic databases (EBSCOhost;
JSTOR; Proquest; PsycInfo; and Web of Science,), we conducted a literature search
for publications whose titles, abstracts or keywords contain the selected search
phrases. The keywords and phrases used in the literature search include
“extracurricular activities; ECA; extra school activities; after school activities; nonacademic school activities; co-curricular activities; CCA; academic performance; academic outcome; academic achievement; academic aspirations”. We excluded
book chapters, working papers, and other articles not subjected to peer-review
process. We then examined the selected articles in-depth to determine the
theoretical frameworks. The purpose of this study is to document how being involved in extra-curricular activities can influence development in academics, social skills, and high school completion. Over half of a student’s time is spent being involved in some sort of structured activity. It is important for teachers, counselors, and parents to know the overall impact of participating and being involved in out-of-school activities. Determining the long-lasting effects of extracurricular activities may help parents and students understand how participation can impact students’ development now and in the future. Armed with this information, families can make wiser choices for creating balance in academics and activities in an adolescent’s life. In addition to understanding the effects of being involved in these activities, it is important to lmow how these activities are influencing educational and career pathways beyond high school. Having this knowledge may allow counselors and other educators to promote participation and to support and encourage student involvement. Review of literature involving student participation in extra-curricular activities will take place in spring 2009.

 Research Questions

There are four research questions this study will attempt to answer. They are:

1. What are the main effects for participating in extra-curricular activities?

2. How many students are participating in activities?

3. In what activities are the students choosing?

4. How can schools minimize the barriers to participation in activities to be more

     inclusive of all students?

Definitions /Terms

There are terms that are used throughout the literature review that need to be

defined for clarity of understanding. These terms are:

Extracurricular Activities – organized student activities connected with school

and usually carrying no academic credit.

Out-of-School (OTS) Programs- activities and programs that meet before or after

school or over summer vacations such as camps.

Structured Extracurricular Activities – highly structured activities that emphasize

skill building, in which the skill attained increases in complexity under the guidance of competent adult leaders.



 It is assumed that there are many options for extracurricular activities and opportunities for out of school programs; however, in some communities students may have fewer opportunities than others. With that in mind, the literature reviewed will cover the assumption that the student has some opportunities for choice of activities. It is further assumed that students benefit from even poor programs with less than adequate coaching or facilities, with the focus on the team spirit, adult connection and leadership opportunities not limited to higher funding or greater opportunity. 9 The final assumption is that if students are over-extended, injured or participate in too many activities that it may negatively impact social adjustment, academic success and attendance. It is assumed that the goal is to create balance for good life-style choices.


This review of literature is limited to the study of extracurricular activities offered outside the school day. While aware of the many assets of holding a part-time job, this study will be limited to extracurricular leisure activities and will not focused on the work schedules and work-related employment of students. Another limitation to this study would be that although there may be much research on the topic, due to limited time and funding, the study may miss some of the important research due to limited access.

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