OST Research

PlaceholderResearchNIOST researchers are leaders in the field. We ask important questions on topics and issues that are critical to out-of-school time programming, quality for all, and investment of resources.

We partner with others to ensure that the right players are part of these valuable inquiries. And we make sure you have access to meaningful findings. The answers we uncover help partners like you to rely on quality data and thoughtful recommendations as you develop and enhance your programs.

Our out-of-school-time research addresses:

  • Quality and Outcomes

    How do you know what makes a high quality program? And what does that really mean to your youth, your staff, and your partners? NIOST has long been a leader in assessing best practices for the field overall, sharing our expertise through our publications, and through comprehensive research and evaluation of individual programs. It’s imperative that programs are of the highest quality to ensure the best outcomes for youth engagement and achievement, for staff development and retention, and for successful collaborations.

    • We are collecting data from afterschool programs in the Wyoming Afterschool Alliance which is helping their staff to build internal capacity to improve quality on issues specific to their individual sites.
  • STEM in OST

    What ways can we incorporate meaningful science learning in afterschool time? Out-of-School Time programs are great spaces for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) programming. We help partners in the field to develop quality STEM opportunities that engage girls, especially. Together, we can ensure that girls’ love of STEM continues as they grow and move through high school and beyond, along with the boys’!

  • Summer Learning & Programming

    What can we do to stop the “summer slide” that not only can halt children’s learning, it can set them back? We're experts on learning and enrichment. Our work with creative program partners has helped us to identify techniques, practices, and resources that can make summer both fun and intellectually stimulating.

    • Through program observation, interviews, and the Survey on Afterschool Youth Outcomes, we’re working in collaboration with Boston Afterschool and Beyond and three Boston Public Schools to explore components of school-community based organization partnerships for afterschool programming and their potential contributions to positive youth outcomes.
    • We’re studying the Regular AfterZone and AfterZone Summer Scholars programs in Providence, RI, measuring process, academic, and psychosocial impact outcomes among middle school youth enrolled in these programs
  • Healthy Eating & Active Living

    How can we make sure youth have the opportunities to be their healthiest selves? NIOST has led the field in studying how out-of-school time programs can help our children and youth to be just that. Our collaborative research informed the national standards for Healthy Eating and Physical Activity. Our studies and publications show how programs can invest carefully to ensure the best programming.


Research clients include:



    “Working with NIOST researchers allows us to move beyond the theoretical when it comes to the benefits of the BOKS program. Through their efforts, we have proof that we are changing the lives of the children participating in our programming and beyond that, we are able to learn more about how we are impacting the community as whole. This data is invaluable to BOKS as we work to innovate within our existing programs and scale our mission to create healthier and happier communities across the globe.”
    – Kathleen Tullie, Founder and Executive Director, BOKS, Build Our Kids’ Success & Director of Social Responsibility, Reebok International

    “NIOST has been a leader in the out-of-school time field for as long as I can remember, and I have relied on their research, tools, and advice to improve my practice throughout my career. Their staff members are good partners and good listeners, and their influence across the country is palpable.”
    – Jane Quinn, Vice President and Director of National Center for Community Schools, Children's Aid Society

    “The Alliance for a Healthier Generation and our healthy out-of-school time partners are dedicated to the vision of all 10.2 million children in afterschool having the opportunity to eat better and move more. Georgia Hall, Ellen Gannett, and the NIOST team have been instrumental in driving the healthy afterschool movement. Their dedication to quality practice, informed policy, and collective impact is instrumental in our effort to create healthier communities.”
    – Daniel W. Hatcher, Director, Community Partnerships, Alliance for a Healthier Generation

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The National Institute on Out-of-School Time

A program of the Wellesley Centers for Women at Wellesley College

Wellesley Centers for Women
Wellesley College
106 Central Street
Wellesley, MA 02481-8203 USA

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