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Background of the Study

Extracurricular activities are designed to aid high school students in getting involved with their community as well as their school. It has been observed that high school students show more interest in extracurricular activities than their studies. This is probably because that is where they have an opportunity to exploit their talents as well as enjoy their hobbies. It is also in the field where the students can make friends and develop their social skills. These kinds of skills boost their morale and confidence even in tackling and answering questions in the classroom.

There are a myriad of extra -curricular activities which students can be involved in and they can have academic benefits. Owing to the pressure of advanced courses present in their curriculum, high school students may not have the time to be involved in clubs and activities outside their schools. However, extracurricular activities which are significant in high school are crucial for their academic performance. This is especially true for students who intend to proceed on to college. There are various ways in which students can be involved in these extracurricular activities.

Several high schools provide many clubs for students to make a choice from. Students who have the interest in participating in community service with different students may have the desire of considering clubs which have their favorite sport activity. On the other hand, other students may want to be involved in school community activities and may thus join groups which will take them to their surrounding community. Clubs which are focused on learning a foreign language may also be joined by students having an interest in new languages or those that teach new computer games. Whenever a school lacks a given activity which may be of interest to students, teachers could aid in the creation of such clubs so that the academic performance of students may be improved.

The kind of sports which are available for students to be involved in depends on the school. Many schools have football, basketball, soccer teams, and baseball. If the school lacks the sport the students are interested in or if they are incapacitated to make a team, they may consider joining a league which is sponsored by the community. More often than not, community centers provide various sports for students in different ages. The reason for doing this is to cover the educational and sport needs for all students so that they can develop both physically and academically.

According to research, high school sophomores rated by their tutors as possessing good work habits and social skills and who took part in extracurricular activities in high school made higher amounts of money and finished high levels of education compared to their classmates who did not (Perks, 2007). Their test scores were also higher as compared to those who participated in few extracurricular activities. Soft skills, for instance, sociability, getting along well with students, and punctuality are good predictors of high educational attainment.      

Purpose of the Study

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The purpose of this dissertation is to determine the impact of extracurricular activities in educational achievement of high school students.

In order to achieve this purpose, the study will focus on different kinds of extracurricular activities such as various sports, music bands, and participation in student council. The impact of these extracurricular activities graduation rates, state standardized testing (ISTEP+) and End of Course Assessment Scores will also be analyzed.

Overview of Outline

The presentation of information of this dissertation will follow a systematic manner in order to ensure that all elements are tackled in an effective way. The study began with chapter one where the background of the study has been presented in order to get an overview of the subject. This will be followed by chapter two, which is literature review. An analysis and evaluation of previous studies will be presented in this section. Additionally, this will form the backbone of the dissertation since it provides work from existing research which both contradicts and concurs with the study.

This section will also serve as evidence on conclusion made at the end of the study. The third section will be chapter three which will be methodology of the study. This part will describe how the study was conducted and the methods used in data collection. The fourth chapter will give the discussion and analysis of results obtained from the data collected. Finally, chapter five will present conclusion and recommendation of the study.   

Literature Review

Research shows that students who are involved in extra -curricular activities have a high academic performance than other classmates who do not take part in the same activities. Therefore, the purpose of this literature review is to find out previous studies that relate academic performance of students in high school with extra-curricular activities.

There are a myriad of benefits of extra- curricular activities to high school students. These include developing communication and social skills, making friends easily, and improving employment as well as academic prospects. The main reason as to why students participate in an activity is as a result of their personal interest. Another immediate benefit of pursuing interests via extracurricular is that one is able to meet other people who share similar benefits.

The opportunity to develop friendships also offers a chance in the development of social skills. For some high school students, social interaction that is found in extra-curricular activities is their first opportunity in working with others in order to achieve a common goal. Additionally, teamwork is a skill which is vital and many instructors have a favorable view of it. Teamwork normally evolves into leadership to be utilized in the extracurricular environment since each organization or clubs have leadership posts. Researchers have found that self-motivation is a factor implying that attaining success in an activity that is of interest to them needs them to have effective time management skills which can then be carried over to school work. Additionally, eligibility in participation normally needs students to maintain a good grade.

High School Sports Participation and Educational Achievement: Recognizing, Assessing, and Using the Relationship.

The relation between taking part in athletics in high school and achievement in education is among the most discussed, researched and debated topics in sport scholarship, especially when one views at the social scientific research that focuses on society and sport interactions as well as their consequences. Scholars have discovered the forces as well as factors that aid in the production and explanation of the basic relation or the link between academics and athletics are more complex than idealists of sports have often assumed. The relationship between academic success and athletic involvement is not a direct one.

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In fact, it can vary depending on the type of activity, participation level, the student’s background, the characteristics of the school, as well as the relationship between the athletic program and the curriculum. For some particular groups under given conditions, participation in sports can be detrimental, and can function as a risk factor for the performance in academics or substance abuse. This variability has resulted in a scholarly effort to carry out an isolation and evaluation that explain the relationship between participation in sport and the academic achievement as well as its limitations.

Recognizing the Basic Relationship between Extracurricular Activities and Academic Achievement

The current knowledge concerning the relationship between academic performance and sports comes from and is based on the long-term, multi-faceted body of writing and research. Students who take part in high school sports have the tendency of performing better academically as compared to their peers who do not participate in sports. The explanations for this link are complicated, and the majority of this research has been dedicated on analyzing it, and identifying the causes of this correlation while also exploring its limitations and variability. In terms of causal factors, for instance, there is a continuous debate concerning the extent to which such a relationship is due to being linked with high school athletes as opposed to being the product of social factors such as social factors like education and parental income (Miller et al, 2005). In terms of variations, several researchers have examined the manner in which the relationship may have an impact by several types or levels of taking part in sports and how it may operate in a different way for several social groups.

However, the important point for a given audience is that updates and reviews have led to evidence leading to conclusion that there is an important baseline link between high school sports and high ratings of academic achievement as well as individual students. This stable relationship seems to be true for various educational outcomes that range from good grades as well as good test scores to high rates of graduation, college aspirations, and avoiding negative trajectories; for instance, drop outs or delinquency (McHale et al, 2005).

When it is about educational achievement, interscholastic athletics have a comparison with other intellectual extra -curricular activities such as debate, band, arts, and music which facilitate achievement and learning (McAloon, 2006). It is worth noting that educational achievement is considered to be not far from attitude or the outcome which is associated with participation in high school sports. For instance, developmental theorists have talked about the building of character as well as the impacts of sport on socializing. This has been based on the connection between habits and skills needed for success in the sport arena, classroom, as well as daily life (Lipscomb, 2006). The recent social and psychological research seems to make a confirmation of the relationship between participation in sport and self esteem and mental health. Moreover, economists have stated that sport participation is linked to high income and wages after school.

Additionally, all the empirical evidence demonstrating a strong relationship between participation in sports as well as educational achievement does not imply that sport automatically has a contribution to academic attainment at the school level. This correlation does not imply causation. In essence, scholars state that the relationship between academic achievement and sport participation is complicated than it seems and it is also multifaceted and less direct. The understanding of these complexities as well as variations of educational impact on sport is important if sport policy and programming can take the advantage of educational potential of sport.

Therefore, it is crucial to note the complexity and nature of the relation between academic achievement and athletic involvement, identification of the underlying sources and causes of this kind of relationship and carry out an exploration of its limitations and variations. For educators, scholars, practitioners, and sport policy makers, determining the link between high school sport and achievement in education is not the end of the search but is only the beginning.

Assessing the Relationship and its Complexities

The challenge associated with analyzing and evaluating the complexities in the positive relation between interscholastic participation in sport and educational outcomes has made many scholars take a variety of approaches. For some scholars, the main objective involves estimating or determining the magnitude of the impact of sport on academic achievement. For instance, a recent econometric analysis stated that high school participation in sport led to two per cent increase in standardized science and math test scores on a national survey sample and this was net of other social variables and background factors (Lipscomb, 2006). Additionally, it was found that student athletes were 5 per cent more likely to have the aspiration of college attendance than their peers who did not take part in sport.

Moreover, this number increased to 10 per cent is participation in sport was linked with other forms of extra- curricular participation. According to other scholars, the approach is comparative hence relating the academic impact of sport with other school activities as well as pursuits.  These kinds of analyses have led to results which are encouraging for advocates of sport as well as practitioners who have the eagerness to publicize the educational potential of sport. Nevertheless, a closer look at these studies will reveal that they are less precise as well as definitive in their conclusions and claims.

These assessments of significance and magnitude make the assumption of a direct link between educational attainment and sport participation. Getting involved in athletics is believed to have a direct effect in producing academic success that can be measured as well as assessed. Nevertheless, there are several experts who are not willing to accept this kind of assumption with no qualification.

One of the reasons for this skepticism is the assertion that all participation in sports has similar effects for all groups even under dissimilar conditions. Researchers have often questioned such generalization. Miller and his colleagues (2005) summarized by stating that the protective effects of sports in line with academic outcomes is not universal and causal in nature.     

The other issue is related to mechanisms. Making the assumption that participation in athletics has an effect on academic achievement raises the question of what it is that results in a positive and significant effect. The answer to such a question is important for scholarly, practical, as well as theoretical reasons. If sustain programs are created and policies that use sport to increase academic attainment, program designers, policy makers, and practitioners will be required to comprehend what sport participation entails that is beneficial and positive. Owing to these reasons, a big part of research as well as writing has been concentrating in carrying out analysis and explaining the actual mechanisms behind education and evaluating the limitations, variations, and constraints on this positive pattern.  

Competing Theories

One of the premier steps in empirical analysis of causation is specifying as well as articulating the many causes that could theoretically account for these processes, patterns, and differences. Several different reasons have been given to explain for the significant and strong statistical relation between education achievement and athletic involvement. The most frequent is about the looking at sport as an activity that aids in instilling virtue, discipline, and character in young people.

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 Parents, coaches, educators and several scholars claim that participation in sport offers kids the attention and skills required in engaging in social behavior as well as the physical activity to retain a healthy lifestyle. While not opposing such explanations, sociologists emphasize more institutional and social mechanisms. For instance, Miller et al (2005) state that there are several possibilities such as increased interest in school, maintaining good grades in order to retain eligibility, improved attention from adults such as coaches and teachers, interaction and membership with peers who are educationally oriented, and aspirations to be engaged in sport participation in college.

In other words, psychologists highlight and emphasize on the level of the individual, their accounts, and their personal explanations. On the other hand, sociologically and socially oriented studies are focused on more institutional and social level variables, accounts, and factors.

Another set of theoretical considerations that makes a complication of causal testing is the chance that sport may not have a causal impact on educational achievement or that participants in athletics may have a negative impact. The notion that sport may not have a causal impact on achievement cannot be dismissed. Some scholars suggest that sport may be an energy and time drain for students, or spending too much time on sport may distract students from their academics. In this perspective, it is crucial to note that several sport scholars are not skeptical of educational and social impact of sport potential but are critical of what they perceive as the role of sport in reinforcing and producing social inequities relating to class, race, as well as gender in contemporary society of America (Harvey et al, 2007).

Such causal theories as well as explanations have been difficult to evaluate and adjudicate conclusively. This is because of the disciplinary differences in orientation and method and that all types and levels of analysis have met disadvantages with selection and sampling that result in difficulty in causal analysis to sustain and undertake.     

Sampling and Self-Selection

The biggest challenge in researching about the causal links between sport and academic achievement relates to data limitations in sampling and selection. Sampling can be seen to be the most basic issue and the most easily understood.

Basically, the students who present the most outstanding models and lead to the strongest causal claims may be based on samples of student athletes and students who are smaller for statistical analysis. It is also common to see studies which make causal claims which are based on student athletes and student samples collected from only a handful of schools or one school, or from non-representative locations.

The lack of reliable and rich data on sport participation is as a result of establishing causal relationships as well as mechanisms since young people involves in sport are generally from more educated, and privileged families (Hartmann & Massoglia, 2007). These are backgrounds which are related to success in schools and sport participation. In such a case, the success of students who participate in sports may not be linked to the fact that they are involved in sport but because students who participate have the tendency to be better students. This is what is referred to as ‘self selection bias’ or ‘selection problem’ (Harvey, 2007). Hence, it can be stated that the relation between family background, academic achievement, and sport participation are multifaceted.

Contextual and Social Variations

If researchers and empirical research are made to confirm the straightforward link between academic achievement and athletic participation, they become successful stating differences in social backgrounds as well as sporting experience. These seem to have an impact on the direction and strength of statistical association between participation in athletics and achievement in education. The most significant and powerful of these are intensity and type of sport participation, variables of social background such as gender and race, institutional factors such as the type of school, academic curriculum, and the sport program...

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