Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

School Name

Annsley Frazier Thornton School of Education



Major Advisor

Grant Smith, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Stephen W. Diaeschner, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Corrie Block, Ph.D.


After-school programs (ASPs) aimed at improving at-risk student achievement abound and receive considerable funding. Research provides some evidence that ASPs can improve reading and math achievement for at-risk students, although rigorous evaluation of the programs and outcomes is minimal. Specifically absent from current ASP literature is examination of dosage, in the form of hours of program attendance, and its impact on at-risk student achievement. ASP research; research on learning and time; and expertise theory indicate dosage rates that are too low and too high will not impact student achievement.

This study investigates the impact of after-school program dosage and expertise on achievement. This study took place in a mid-sized, urban school district in Kentucky. ESS monies are provided by the state for ASPs targeting at-risk student achievement. The district studied provided ESS funding to all low-performing schools to implement an ASP to improve student achievement. Data was gathered for all 10th and 11th grade students from the low-performing high schools in the district (n=1346). Dosage levels were calculated for each participant: none, low, mid, high, in English/Language Arts and Math. English, reading, and math ACT PLAN and ACT test scores were included for each participant.

An ANCOVA test was performed to investigate the impact of risk status (SES), dosage (number of hours) and expertise (PLAN) on student achievement (ACT test). Expertise was the covariate. ASP dosage did not have a significant effect on student achievement. Risk status, after controlling for expertise, did not have a significant effect on achievement. This study indicates expertise is a more powerful predictor of achievement than risk status.