Publication Date

Spring 2019

Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Dr. Sarah Ochs (Director), Dr. Carl Myers, Ms. Mallory Hart

Degree Program

Department of Psychology

Degree Type

Specialist in Education


At school, students are provided numerous opportunities to use their skills and abilities to complete tasks or solve problems. Students are considered to have academic success when they meet specific criteria on outcomes such as grade point averages (GPA), scores on standardized tests, and skill acquisition across areas like reading and math. Given the importance of academic achievement (AA) as an outcome measure, researchers have attempted to study certain variables that may relate to or predict AA. Extracurricular activities (EAs) are defined as school-sanctioned activities that students can participate in outside of the traditional school day. Participation in EAs has been associated with several benefits to students, including higher AA, noncognitive skills, and transferable skills. A comprehensive review was conducted to examine the literature on EA participation and academic performance as measured by various AA variables including the American College Test (ACT), Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), and GPA. Results of the study indicated that students participating in EAs, regardless of type, benefited academically compared to non-participants. AA declined for students who participated in more than two EAs. However, this project should not take the place of well controlled, empirical studies. Implications of these findings and future directions are discussed.


Developmental Psychology | School Psychology | Secondary Education