The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) and its member state associations champion interscholastic sports and performing arts activities because they promote citizenship and sportsmanship in the 11 million students who participate nationwide. Activity programs instill a sense of pride in school and community, teach lifelong lessons and skills of teamwork and self-discipline and facilitate the physical and emotional development of the nation’s youth.

Key findings from the study include:

BETTER EDUCATIONAL OUTCOMES Students who compete in high school activity programs have better educational outcomes, including higher grades, higher achievement test scores, and higher educational expectations beyond high school.

ENHANCED SCHOOL ENGAGEMENT AND SENSE OF BELONGING Participation in high school activities is a valuable part of the overall high school experience, enhancing students’ school engagement and sense of belonging.

POSITIVE YOUTH DEVELOPMENT/LIFE SKILLS Co-curricular activity programs promote positive youth development and provide opportunities for learning a number of life skills and values not typically taught in classroom education.

HEALTHIER BEHAVIORS Students involved in educational activities often have many healthier behaviors leading to better physical and mental health.

POST HIGH SCHOOL POSITIVE RESULTS Participation in activity programs yields positive results after high school as well.

DEVELOPING BETTER CITIZENS Co-curricular activities teach lessons that lead to better citizens.

SCHOOL AND COMMUNITY BENEFITS Not only do individual students benefit from education-based activities, but schools and communities also benefit when more students are involved in co-curricular activities.

Education-based activities staff are trained to not only to teach students athletic or performing arts skills, but skills that help students do well in school and in life. Schools are centers of learning where teaching and learning are intentionally designed and implemented. If communities and societies want to be intentional about what students learn, make the most of athletic and performing arts activity participation as well as help promote academic learning in school, they need education-based co-curricular activities.

Link to the full report summary