The way students choose to spend their free time can affect their academic performance; it is not simply traditional in-class instruction that impacts academic achievement. “A study by the U. S. Department of Education revealed that students who participate in co-curricular activities are three times more likely to have a grade point average of 3. 0 or better” than students who do not participate in co-curricular activities (Stephens & Schaben, 2002, para. ). In addition to co-curricular or extracurricular activities, “analyses revealed that regardless of students’ background and prior achievement, various parenting, volunteering, and home learning activities positively influenced student grades” (Simon, 2001, para. 1). Numerous studies have examined the factors influencing students’ academic achievement, and many activities were found to have a significant influence.
According to BUGS (Bringing Up Girls in Science), a program for young girls and their parents at the University of North Texas, “the home environment is among the most important influences on academic performance” (Bringing Up Girls in Science, 2003, para. 2). A correlation appears to exist between the activities that students choose outside of the classroom and their academic performance. One of the main controversies is the effect that television viewing of students has on their academic achievement. “The relationship between cognitive development and television viewing has been the one most widely studied.
Investigators disagree about the effects of this relationship” (Shin, 2004, para. 2). The amount and quality of television viewing and family involvement are not the only influences of academic performance. The effects of music and sports are also controversial in their relation to academic performance. University Deans are interested in the relationship between academic achievement and participation in interscholastic sports at university level these days implying that sports do have some sort of influence on how students perform academically.
All of these activities appear to have some sort of effect on students’ academic performance; however, the issue of whether they benefit or hinder is unknown. The research would be described as a descriptive study because it observes behaviors “as they occur naturally, describes behavior, explores a phenomenon, and tests hypotheses about behavior” (Brown, Cozby, Kee, & Worden, 1999, p. 75). Therefore, the purpose of this study is to determine whether or not the club activities that students of North South University (where I study currently) take part in have an effect on their academic performance.
I believe that extracurricular activities (club activities) have a positive effect on a student’s academic performance at NSU. | | | | Literature Review The History of Extracurricular Activities The development of extracurricular activities was slow in the beginning, with many seeing it simply as a fad that would pass and quickly fade out of style (Millard, 1930, p. 11). One of the early philosophies behind extracurricular activities was that they should, wherever at all possible, “grow out of curricular activities and return to curricular activities to enrich them” (Millard, 1930, p. 2). Eventually people, including educators, began to see the benefits of extracurricular activities, but it took a while to inure themselves to them. In fact, before 1900, educators were skeptical of participation in extracurricular activities, believing that “school should focus solely on narrowly defined academic outcomes. Non-academic activities were viewed as being primarily recreational and therefore were detrimental to academic achievement, and consequently were discouraged” (Marsh & Kleitman, 2002, para. 5).
Deam and Bear, early experts on extracurricular activities, said, “Extracurricular activities supplement and extend those contacts and experiences found in the more formal part of the program of the school day” (Millard, 1930, p. 16). It was not until recently that “educational practitioners and researchers have taken a more positive perspective, arguing that extracurricular activities may have positive effects on life skills and may also benefit academic accomplishments” (Marsh & Kleitman, 2002, para. 5). It is obvious that extracurricular activities have an impact on academic performance and education ever since their inception.
The question is, how are extracurricular activities affecting academic performance today? Extracurricular Activities and Academic Performance Numerous studies have been conducted concerning the relationship between extracurricular activities and academic performance. Total extracurricular activity participation (TEAP), or participation in extracurricular activities in general, is associated with an improved grade point average, higher educational aspirations, increased college attendance, and reduced absenteeism” (Broh, 2002, para. 8).
Guest and Schneider (2003), in looking at the previous research on this subject said, “Researchers have found positive associations between extracurricular participation and academic achievement” (para. 2). Although researchers agree that extracurricular activities do, in fact, influence academic performance, the specific effect that various activities produce is debated. One study, conducted by the National Educational Longitudinal Study, found that “participation in some activities improves achievement, while participation in others diminishes achievement” (Broh, 2002, para. ). Many extracurricular activities have proven to be beneficial in building and strengthening academic achievement, even if the activities are not obviously related to academic subjects (Marsh & Kleitman, 2002, para. 9). “A number of studies revealed that students participating in extracurricular activities did better academically than students who did not participate” (Marsh & Kleitman, 2002, para. 7). Researchers have particularly studied the relationship between extracurricular activities and academic performance in adolescents.
One study found that “adolescents who participated in extracurricular activities reported higher grades, more positive attitudes toward school, and higher academic aspirations” (Darling, Caldwell, & Smith, 2005, para. 1). Darling, Caldwell, and Smith (2005) conducted a longitudinal study concerning extracurricular activities and their effect on various aspects of development, including academic performance. A survey containing a list of twenty different extracurricular activities was distributed to students; they were asked to check which extracurricular activities they participated in that year.
Demographic questions, such as their favorite activity, gender, and ethnicity were asked in order to take the social factors and influences into account when calculating the results. The students were also asked what their academic goals were and their grade point average. The results showed that the students who participated in school-based extracurricular activities had higher grades, higher academic aspirations, and better academic attitudes than those who were not involved in extracurricular activities at all (Para. 3-35). Social Influences of Extracurricular Activities and Academic Performance Numerous studies indicate that extracurricular activities do, in fact, promote academic performance in students. However, are the extracurricular activities themselves, regardless of outside or social influences, responsible for this impact on academic performance? Guest and Schneider (2003) conducted research on what influence various social factors had on the relationship between extracurricular activities and academic performance.
They found that most of the studies previously conducted on the relationship between these two factors had not taken into account the meaning that participation in extracurricular activities “[held] for individual participants within distinct social contexts” (Para. 3). They believed that every school and community assigned certain values to the various activities, putting more importance on some over others. The value that is placed on each activity affects the relationship between that specific activity and academic performance (Guest & Schneider, 2003, para. ). Guest and Schneider (2003) concluded that there are three factors which influence this relationship. These factors are the “what,” the “where,” and the “when” (Para. 7). The “what” suggests that “the type of participation or activity undertaken influences developmental outcomes” (Guest & Schneider, 2003, para. 8). The “where” suggests “that the school and community context in which extracurricular activity takes place matters” (Guest & Schneider, 2003, para. 9).
Finally, the “when” suggests “that the developmental and historical context in which extracurricular participation takes place influences both how it is valued and its effects on subsequent development” (Guest & Schneider, 2003, para. 10). All three of these factors work together to influence the relationship between participation in extracurricular activities and academic performance, because each one places a different value both on activities and academics. Formal Versus Informal Extracurricular Activities Some researchers have divided extracurricular activities into informal and formal activities.
The formal activities include activities which are relatively structured, such as participating in athletics or learning to play a musical instrument. Informal activities, on the other hand, also known as leisure activities, include less structured activities, such as watching television. Some literature on leisure studies has “suggested that formal and informal activity settings have different influences on motivation and feelings of competence,” two factors which influence academic performance (Guest & Schneider, 2003, para. 8).
One study found “that more time in leisure activities was related to poorer academic grades, poorer work habits, and poorer emotional adjustments,” while more time in “structured groups and less time watching TV were associated with higher test scores and school grades” (Marsh & Kleitman, 2002, para. 15). Guest and Schneider (2003), in their study, found that “the type of participation or activity undertaken influences developmental outcomes (Para. 8). This involves the “what” factor and is the concern of this research project.
There have been many studies conducted on the influence that extracurricular activities have on academic performance. Their effects have “differed substantially for different activities. There were a total of seventy-six statistically significant effects, fifty-eight positive and eighteen negative” (Marsh & Kleitman, 2002, para. 11). The Relationship Between Volunteer Work and Academic Performance A dearth of literature on the relationship between volunteering and academic achievement exists; nevertheless, it is becoming more popular in academic settings as a way of improving academics, as well as society.
Many schools now require their students to complete a mandatory number of hours of volunteer work per year or semester. Schools have implemented “service learning,” which incorporates community service and volunteer work into the curriculum, because it has been proven to have a positive effect on academic performance (Hinck & Brandell, 1999). Service learning “can and does have a positive impact on the psychological, social, and intellectual development of adolescents who participate” (Hinck & Brandell, 1999, para. 11).
Usually the services performed are related, in some way, to some academic subject, but most forms of volunteer work and community service can be tied to academics in one way or another. As a result, “more and more studies are finding that increased academic growth is the result when service is combined with intellectual content” (Hinck & Brandell, 1999, para. 17). One study, conducted on over 2,000 students enrolled in kindergarten through twelfth grade, found that student performance improved as a result of service learning (Hinck & Brandell, 1999, para. 17).
The Texas Council of Chief State School Officers reported that “involvement in service learning affects students’ higher level thinking skills, motivation to learn, application of learning, insight, and basic academic skills” (Hinck & Brandell, 1999, para. 18). One study performed to determine the relationship between academic performance and community partnerships found that “regardless of students’ background and prior achievement, volunteering activities positively influenced student grades, course credits completed, attendance, behavior, and school preparedness” (Simon, 2001, para. 1).
All of the literature concerning the relationship between academic performance and volunteering presented a positive relationship. (Citied in Fujita, 2005) Survey Findings Figure 1 Figure 2 Figure 3 Figure 4 Figure 5 Figure 6 Figure 7 Figure 8 Figure 9 Figure 10 Figure 11 Analysis of Data When asked whether their CGPA improves when they are actively involved with club activities and events, eighty percent members of North South University Social Services Club, sixty percent members of North South University Sports Club and eighty percent members of North South University Shangskritik Shanghatan responded with ‘no’.
They also answered ‘negative’ when asked what kind of effect their chosen extracurricular activity has on their academic performance in the same percentages. This clearly shows that the majority of the members of these three clubs feel that they perform poor in their academics when they are involved with club works. The activities of the club, although it may provide satisfaction to the active members, it does not help them with their studies. The courses they take at NSU have no relation with the activities of the club.
Therefore, they get exhausted after doing the activities of the club and do not get time to concentrate on their studies. And also, since the activities of these three clubs have no relation with the courses offered at NSU, it does not help them with their academics in any way. However, a totally different picture can be seen when the responses of the active members of Young Economists’ Forum (YEF) and North South University English Club are analyzed. Here, it should be mentioned that all the members who filled up the questionnaires from these two clubs were from the Economics and English departments respectively.
Although it is not mandatory for the members of YEF to be from the economics department and for the members of English club to be from the English department, my sample included all YEF members from the Economics department and all English Club members from the English department. So, this is one of the major reasons for eighty percent of YEF members and sixty percent of English Club members to respond with ‘yes’ when asked whether their CGPA improves when they are actively involved with club activities.
Respectively, they also answered ‘positive’ with the same percentage when asked what kind of influence their chosen ECA has on their academic performance. This shows that since the extracurricular activities chosen by the members of YEF and English Club from the selected sample are related to their field of study at NSU, they feel their CGPA improves and that the activities have a positive effect on their academic performance. Finally, when the CGPA of the total sample is analyzed, it can be seen that sixty percent of the total sample have a bad CGPA between 1. 05 and 3. 00.
The rest forty percent have a very good CGPA between 3. 01 and 3. 97. The students with good CGPA belong to clubs which organize activities related to the student’s academics. This further strengthens the argument that students who are involved in club activities which complements their studies perform well in their studies than those students whose club activities are unrelated to their academics. Conclusion From the conducted survey, it can be concluded that my hypothesis is partially proved correct. Extracurricular activities in the form of club activities do have a positive effect on a student’s academic performance at NSU.
However, the club activity must be related to the courses taken by the students or their field of study. It helps the students perform better in their academics and score better grades if the club activities they are involved in helps broaden the students’ knowledge about his chosen field of study at NSU. If students’ choose to become a member of a club whose activities have no relation with their academics, although they may become very skilled at those activities but this will hamper their study, and their academic performance will go down in the form of a low CGPA.
All being said and done, students should not base their decision of getting involved in club activities or participating in any other extracurricular activity from the findings of this study. This research is only a small attempt to find out the relationship between extracurricular activities and academic performance at NSU. Students should set their priorities themselves and choose their extracurricular activity accordingly or choose them according to their interests. They have the liberty to do so as they are mature adults.
However, it would be wise if students chose their extracurricular activities carefully. At the end of the day, academic performance matters the most. NSU’s reputation depends on the quality of the students who study here. If NSU is filled with active ‘clubbers’ who are very good at their club activities but poor in studies then NSU’s reputation will go down in the eyes of all who see NSU as a place of quality higher education. References Bringing Up Girls in Science. (2003). Bugs—parents (University of North Texas). Retrieved February 26, 2005, from http://www. oe. unt. edu/bugs/parents. index. html Broh, B. A. (2002, January). Linking extracurricular programming to academic achievement: Who benefits and why? [Electronic version]. Sociology of Education, 75, 69-96. Brown, K. W. , Cozby, P. C. , Kee, D. W. , & Worden, P. E. (1999). Research methods in human development. Mountain View, CA: Mayfield Publications. Darling, N. , Caldwell, L. L. , & Smith, R. (2005). Participation in school-based extracurricular activities and adolescent adjustment [Electronic version].
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