Impact and Implementation Findings from an Experimental Evaluation of Playworks: Effects on School Climate, Academic Learning, Student Social Skills and Behavior

Organized play during recess and throughout the school day
Implementing Organization: 

The Playworks program places full-time coaches in low-income schools to provide opportunities for organized play during recess and class time. The primary purpose of this evaluation was to document the implementation of Playworks and assess the impact of the program on key outcomes in five areas: school climate, conflict resolution and aggression, learning and academic performance, youth development, and student behavior The study found that the program was implemented as intended in 8 out of 17 schools, and implemented with some variation in 6 of the 17 schools. For the impact on school climate there was positive impact on  students who demonstrated as increase in the use of encouraging language, while there were improvements in the perceptions of student’s safety and engagement in inclusive behavior at recess. Additional program impact are detailed in the report. 

CNCS Program(s): 
AmeriCorps State and National
CNCS Focus Area(s): 
Healthy Futures
Age(s) Studied: 
0-5 (Early childhood)
6-12 (Childhood)
13-17 (Adolescent)
Focus Population(s)/Community(s): 
Low Income
Outcomes Category(s): 
K-12 Success
Obesity and Food
Study Type(s): 
Study Design(s): 
Experimental (RCT)
Level of Evidence: 
Mathematica Policy Research
Year Published: 
Date Posted Online: 
June 16, 2016
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