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To better understand the value and effectiveness of out-of-school-time (OST) programs, RAND researchers examined programs through the lenses of content, dosage (the hours of content provided), and outcomes measured, focusing on rigorous (i.e., experimental or quasi-experimental) large-scale evaluations and meta-analyses. The overall conclusion is that OST programs are generally effective at producing the primary outcomes that would be expected based on their programming. However, the primary benefits of such programs are often understudied or underreported. When making funding decisions, federal, state, and local governments and private foundations should consider all the benefits that programs provide to youth and families and emphasize program quality.

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