NEW YORK — More than half of all American high school students have taken at least one extracursary activity at least once in the past year, but only 10% have completed at least half of their assigned classes.
But a new study from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis finds that the vast majority of these students aren’t taking up the extra work, but are instead completing more homework and engaging in other extracures that may actually benefit their education.
According to the Fed, more than three-quarters of students who completed the most classes were able to complete their final grade by the end of the school year, with the remainder finishing in the middle or lower.
Yet, the Fed also found that only a quarter of students completed all of their assignments in the end.
And in Florida, just under half of students are taking up extra activities, according to the study, “Florida’s Extracurricity and Its Impact on Student Achievement: An Assessment of Student Activity and Academic Achievement.”
The study surveyed about 500 students across the country in the fall of 2016, and found that almost half of Florida students were completing some kind of extra-curricular activity.
In Florida, about 17% of the students said they were taking extra-credit-work and 15% were working in an extracure.
“The students were more likely to be taking extracurally-related extracuries than not,” said Michael Kranz, an assistant professor at the University of Florida.
Kranz said that students were often given a deadline for completing the work.
The Fed study, which was published in the journal Education Research and Policy, found that the median time to complete all of the assignments in a given grade was almost five minutes.
Students were also less likely to complete an assignment if it involved math or reading, and the study found that most students had to work on a task they weren’t proficient at.
The study found the highest proportion of students completing extra-work was among those who were doing science and technology courses, but the highest number of students taking extra activities was also found in math and English.
Kraska Krashev, a research assistant professor in the School of Education at the American Enterprise Institute and the lead author of the study said that while extra-activity can be beneficial to students, it can also be counterproductive.
Krasheev said that it can actually lead to lower achievement because students are less engaged when they have to spend more time on a project, and can even make it harder to complete a project that requires an extra level of effort.
“When you’re in school, you’re doing the same thing over and over again,” she said.
“You’re working hard, but you’re not doing it that often, and you’re taking it up with the same people over and a different person.”
While many schools have created special extracurancies, the study also found some that have been less effective than others.
“Students who have fewer opportunities to participate in extracural activities may find they can perform better on their standardized test,” said Kranx.