Participate in Extra-Curricular Activities Print or save as PDF

How is it defined?

Extra-curricular activities are those that are not a part of the normal school curriculum. Extra-curricular activities in schools include offerings such as: chess club, drama club, or student council. The Learning Bar’s framework on student engagement includes measures of social, institutional, and intellectual engagement. Participation in extra-curricular activities is a component of social engagement, situated alongside participation in sports, sense of belonging and making positive friendships at school.

Why is it important?

  • Participation in constructive leisure activities is associated with positive development and pro-social behaviour (Morrissey & Werner-Wilson, 2005).
  • Participation in extra-curricular activities is linked to positive academic outcomes, such as students’ grades and educational aspirations (Fredricks & Eccles, 2006).
  • Participation in extra-curricular activities is related to improved student attendance (Reeves, 2008).
  • Extra-curricular activities are linked to educational attainment, occupation and income as adults, as well as a reduction in delinquent and risky behaviours (Eccles & Barber, 1999).
  • Participation in extra-curricular activities at school can increase students’ social support networks (Schaefer, Simpkins, Vest, & Price, 2011).

How do we measure it?

In the OurSCHOOL elementary and secondary school surveys, students are asked to indicate how often they attend extra activities at school. Students who have participated at least once per week are considered to have ‘participated in extra-curricular activities’. The results are reported as “the percentage of students engaged in extra-curricular activities”.


Eccles, J., & Barber, B. (1999). Student council, volunteering, basketball, or marching band: What kind of extracurricular involvement matters? Journal of Adolescent Research, 14, 10-43.

Fredricks, J. A., & Eccles, J. S. (2006). Is extracurricular participation associated with beneficial outcomes? Concurrent and longitudinal relations. Developmental Psychology, 42(4), 698-713.

Morrissey, K., & Werner-Wilson, R. (2005). The relationship between out-of-school activities and positive youth development: An investigation of the influences of communities and family. Adolescence, 40(157), 67-85.

Reeves, D. B. (2008). Improving student attendance. Educational Leadership, 65, 90-91.

Schaefer, D. R., Simpkins, S. D., Vest, A. E., & Price, C. D. (2011). The contribution of extracurricular activities to adolescent friendships: New insights through social network analysis. Developmental Psychology, 47(4), 1141-1152.