The relationship between student participation rates in Texas public school extracurricular activity programs and related factors of academic achievement, attendance, drop outs and discipline
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Supporters of public education must point out positive aspects of the school program. One such aspect is the extracurricular activity program. Research points to the benefits students who participate in extracurricular activities gain in reference to academic achievement and other school related environmental factors (absences, dropouts, discipline referrals) (Greer, 1975; Hanks and Eckland, 1976; Joekel, 1985; NFHS, 1999). However, other existing research points to the fact that an over emphasis on school extracurricular activity programs, can negatively impact student and school performance on certain academic indicators (Coleman, 1961; Meier, 1999; Miracle, 1994). Today, widespread budget cuts have weakened and eliminated some extracurricular and co-curricular programs, which may carry hope and direction for students. By decreasing the number and quality of such programs, schools are also losing avenues that may help direct students/participants away from gang and other negative personal and social behavior. By cutting these programs, one of the most important means of socializing our youth and improving school environments is slipping away. The study investigated the following research questions: What is the relationship between the overall participation rate, athletic participation rate and non-athletic participation rate in Texas public school extracurricular activity programs and related factors of academic achievement, attendance, dropouts and discipline? What is the relationship between school size and overall participation rate, athletic participation rate and non-athletic participation rate in Texas public school extracurricular activity programs? In total, the findings of this study provide support for the notion that participation in extracurricular activities can have positive implications not only for student success academically, but also for school success as a whole. In reference to the participation rates (overall, athletic and non-athletic) in the school extracurricular activity program and their relationships to academic achievement, attendance, dropouts and discipline, it is clear from the data that schools with higher participation rates in extracurricular activities have statistically significant differences in their performance on the tested variables. In reference to school size, the data indicate that as the size of the school increases the rate of participation in extracurricular activities (overall, athletic and non-athletic) decreases at a statistically significant rate.