– Out-of-school time (OST) has a positive effect on student interest in STEM. Furthermore, the variation in these effects is moderated by program focus, grade level, and the quality of the research design.
– OST programs have a small to medium positive effect on student interest in STEM based on common effect size benchmarks.
– The timeframe of the programs was not a significant moderator of the program effects.
– The results suggest that OST programs with an academic and social focus, compared to just an academic focus, had a larger effect on student interest in STEM, based on effect size magnitude.
– Despite substantial research to support race and gender as possible moderators of the effects of OST programs on STEM interest, the results of this study suggest that the variation in effect sizes was not statistically significantly influenced by either factor.
– Grade level effect sizes were not statistically significantly different from zero for K-5 studies, but were statistically different from zero for the other grade spans, which is consistent with research that suggests the adolescent years are crucial for STEM interest development and maintenance.
– Well-designed studies are more effective means of promoting STEM interest through OST programs.