Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 38, Issue 9, pp 1172–1186 | Cite as

Street Ball, Swim Team and the Sour Cream Machine: A Cluster Analysis of Out of School Time Participation Portfolios

  • Ingrid Ann NelsonEmail author
  • Billie Gastic
Empirical Research


Adolescents spend only a fraction of their waking hours in school and what they do with the rest of their time varies dramatically. Despite this, research on out-of-school time has largely focused on structured programming. The authors analyzed data from the Educational Longitudinal Study of 2002 (ELS:2002) to examine the out-of-school time activity portfolios of 6,338 high school sophomores, accounting for time spent in school clubs and sports as well as 17 other activities. The analytical sample was balanced with respect to sex and racially and ethnically diverse: 49% female, 67% White, 10% Latino, 10% African American, and 6% Asian and Pacific Islander. Approximately 76% of the sample attended public schools, 30% were in the highest socioeconomic quartile, and 20% were in the lowest socioeconomic quartile. The authors identified five distinct out-of-school time activity portfolios based on a cluster analysis. The demographic profiles of students by portfolio type differed significantly with respect to sex, race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, school type and location. Students by portfolio type also differed significantly in terms of measures of academic success, school behavior, victimization and perceptions of school climate, controlling for covariates. These findings underscore the importance of more complex considerations of adolescents’ out-of-school time.


Out-of-school time Activity portfolios Adolescents 



The authors would like to thank the following individuals for their comments on earlier versions of this work: anonymous reviewers, Rebecca London, Jon Norman, Jack Schneider, Karen Strobel, Sam Wineburg, and Sivan Zakai.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of EducationStanford UniversityStanfordUSA
  2. 2.University of Massachusetts BostonBostonUSA

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