Natalie FischerDésirée Theis

Quality of extracurricular activities – Considering developmental changes in the impact on school attachment and achievement


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According to the stage-environment fit approach, the development of motivation is influenced by the fit between learning context and basic needs (i.e., the needs for autonomy, competence, and social relatedness). It is supposed that school-based extracurricular activities are especially suitable for fostering motivation and, thus, achievement by providing developmentally appropriate learning contexts. Until now, the influence of need fulfillment in extracurricular activities on school attachment and achievement has not been investigated. The aim of this study is to examine these relationships in German all-day schools and to explore the specific impact of each need across age. The longitudinal research sample consists of more than 3,000 students in Grades 5, 7 and 9. The students’ perceptions of autonomy, competence (challenge) and social relatedness (student-staff-relationship) are analyzed as predictors of school attachment and achievement (i.e., grades). A conditional growth curve model reveals that the three quality features influence school attachment across age, but barely relate to achievement. Student-staff-relationship proves to be the most influential predictor in all age groups. However, the development of school attachment significantly influences achievement. Thus, promoting school attachment by means of high quality extracurricular activities should lead to the positive development of academic achievement.

Stage-environment fit; Extracurricular activities; Basic needs; School attachment