Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Teacher Education

Major Professor

C. Glennon Rowell

Committee Members

Thomas George, Mary J. Connelly, Terry Stratta


The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of participation in extracurricular activities (band, drama, student council and vocational clubs) on the mean grade point average (GPA) of students at one rural high school located in the South. Male and female students (n=3,274) who were enrolled in the academic program from 1997-2002 were categorized into one of the following four groups: interscholastic athletics only, co-curricular activities only, both co-curricular activities and interscholastic athletics, and no extracurricular activities.

Differences in mean GPAs of the various extracurricular activity groups by gender were tested with a One-way Analysis of Variance, followed by the Scheffé multiple comparison procedure. An alpha level of .05 was selected to determine significance for all statistical tests. The results of the One-way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) demonstrated a highly statistically significant effect of participation in mean GPA of male students (F3,1619=86.85, p<.001), and of female students (F3,1647=96.02, p<.001).

Given these results, the null hypotheses for male and female students were both rejected. More specifically, students who participated in any extracurricular activity had statistically significantly higher mean cumulative GPAs than those who participated in no extracurricular activities. Scheffé’s multiple comparison procedure revealed that statistically significant differences in mean GPA were found between participating students by groups of activities. For both males and females, participating in both co-curricular activities and interscholastic athletics, along with their academic programs, resulted in mean GPAs that were statistically higher than participating in either co-curricular activities or interscholastic athletics only. The mean GPA of male students who participated in academics and co-curricular activities only was statistically significantly higher than the mean GPA of male students who participated in interscholastic athletics only. Though the mean GPA of female students who participated in co-curricular activities only was higher than the mean GPA of female students who participated in interscholastic athletics only, the difference was not statistically significant.

The results of this study lead to the conclusion that student participation in some form of extracurricular activity, whether interscholastic athletics or co-curricular activities, is associated with higher academic performance, as measured by mean GPA, than does non-participation in any extracurricular activities.

As school districts cope with budgetary constraints, high school administrators should consider the potential advantages and disadvantages that result from reducing or eliminating school-sponsored activities, including interscholastic athletics. The researcher recommends that administrators consider the educational value of each program by examining the following: 1) its effect on the educational development of high school students, in spite of their individual differences (e.g., gender, level of intelligence, economic background), and 2) its potential to influence a large percentage of high school students. Administrators are thereby demonstrating support for diminishing the social and economic disparities that may affect student opportunities for success following graduation, particularly for those students who will not attend college.

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