This study was designed to assess the influence of athletics and other extracurricular activities on the academic orientation of female high school students. Senior girls were categorized into groups—labeled athlete-only (comprising students who participated only in athletics as an extracurricular activity), service-only (students who participated in service activities only), athlete-service (students participating in both) and neither (students whose extracurricular activities included neither athletics nor service activities). Categorizations were based on listings from their high school yearbooks. Those taking the ACT college entrance exam (N = 487) were compared on composite and English scores to the other groups, and to national and state averages. Analyses of covariance, controlling for SES and extent of activity involvement revealed that the athlete-only group recorded the lowest average scores, but these could not be attributed to the participation category to which they belonged. Rather, socioeconomic level and extent of activity involvement were factors contributing to most of the differences between groups in which higher SES levels and higher levels of involvement were predictive of higher ACT scores. Moreover, none of the groups’ scores were significantly different from national or slate averages. These results refute the notion that involvement only in athletics is detrimental to educational achievements for females, and lead to certain recommendations for longitudinal, multi-measure investigations of academic orientations.
- Academic orientation
- Achievement scores
- Extracurricular participation