Part-time work and non-school activities while in high school: Is there a threshold effect on achievement?

  • Kirsty Weir
  • Luanna H. Meyer
  • John McClure
  • Damian O'Neill


Student involvement in extracurricular activities including sport and part-time work is considered to have an influence on achievement, yet there are conflicting views on whether the effect is negative or positive. Data were collected from 2,257 secondary students to investigate the relationship of different participation patterns with grade averages. Results reveal higher grades for students reporting 5-20 hours of total extracurricular activities including part-time work. In contrast, fewer than 5 and more than 20 hours weekly spent in combined extracurricular activities were associated with lower
achievement. Implications for educators and parents are discussed.


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Author Biographies

Kirsty Weir
Dr Kirsty Weir is the Research Manager at Ako Aotearoa, The National Centre for Tertiary Teaching Excellence. Her PhD explored the predictors of negative affect in non-clinical adolescents. Kirsty has a broad range of research interests including research methods and statistics, strengths-based education, motivation, and evaluation of research impact.
Luanna H. Meyer
Luanna H. Meyer is Emerita Professor of Education at Victoria University. Her research is focused on validating practical, evidence-based approaches for inclusive schools. Currently, she is Editor-in-Chief for Oxford University Press’s OBO Education and is a member of the Technical Review Committee on Behavior for the National Center for Students with Disabilities who Require Intensive Interventions in the U.S.A. She has been invited to speak in eight countries and 30 US states about her work, and she has published more than 120 journal articles and book chapters. Her 12 books include The School Leader’s Guide to Restorative School Discipline; The Teacher’s Guide to Restorative Classroom Discipline; Making Friends: The Influences of Culture and Development; and Critical Issues in the Lives of People with Severe Disabilities.
John McClure
John McClure is Professor of Psychology at Victoria University of Wellington. He completed his DPhil at the University of Oxford and has been a By Fellow at Churchill College, Cambridge. He has numerous publications dealing with causal attributions and risk judgment in relation to enhancing educational motivation, preparedness for natural hazards, misunderstandings of the actions of persons with brain injury, and lay people’s theories of intentional actions and free will.
Damian O'Neill
Damian O’Neill received his PhD in Psychology from Massey University in 1997. Currently he is a senior labour research and evaluation advisor within the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. In this capacity Damian has worked on a number of projects concerning school children and young people in
employment, including assisting with the development of the online My First Job information resource. More recently he has worked in the Secretariat supporting the review by the Independent Taskforce on Workplace Health and Safety.
How to Cite
WEIR, Kirsty et al. Part-time work and non-school activities while in high school: Is there a threshold effect on achievement?. The New Zealand Annual Review of Education, [S.l.], v. 21, july 2012. ISSN 1178-3311. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 21 oct. 2020. doi: