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Program evaluation

Does your program make a difference? Are your program participants and volunteers satisfied? Are your staff members effective? How do you know? Evaluation is critical for sustaining a successful youth program.

Comments on this page? Curator: Samantha Grant, evaluation director

Reports & journal articles

Engaging Focus Group Methodology: The 4-H Middle School-Aged Youth Learning and Leading Study

Produced by Extension: Siri Scott, Samantha Grant and Pamela Nippolt
With young people, discussing complex issues such as learning and leading in a focus group can be a challenge. To help prime youth for the discussion, this focus group featured a fun, interactive activity. This article includes a description of the focus group activity, lessons learned, and suggestions for additional applications. 2015.

Citizen Science as a REAL Environment for Authentic Scientific Inquiry

Produced by Extension: Nathan Meyer, Siri Scott, Andrea Lorek Strauss, Pamela Nippolt, Karen Oberhauser, Robert Blair
Guiding principles and design strategies for the University of Minnesota Extension's Driven to Discover: Enabling Authentic Inquiry through Citizen Science project demonstrate how education and investigations grounded in real-world citizen science projects can capitalize on REAL environments to generate meaningful STEM learning. 2014.

Science of Agriculture Challenge report

Produced by Extension: Samantha Grant
The Science of Agriculture Challenge completed its pilot year of implementation in 2014-2015. Twelve teams distributed throughout the state took part in the final showcase which was a 2.5 day event on the St. Paul University of Minnesota campus. This report highlights the project and key evaluation findings. (PDF) 2015.

Youth in 4-H Participation Patterns

Produced by Extension: Siri Scott, Dale Blyth, Pam Larson Nippolt
Youth organizations, like 4-H, are dynamic systems with structures that grow and change over time. In the current study, we examine differences in participation across gender, race, ethnicity, and area of residence. (322K DOC) 2014.

Academic Achievement of Youth in the 4-H Program

Produced by Extension: K. Piescher, S. Hong, Dale Blyth, Pamela Nippolt
The purpose of this study was to examine academic outcomes of youth who participated in Minnesota's 4-H program compared to those who did not, and to understand how parent engagement and duration of 4-H participation affects youth achievement and attendance trajectories over five years. (PDF) 2014.

Minnesota 4-H Retention Study Brief

Produced by Extension: Rebecca Harrington and Trisha Sheehan
While the Minnesota 4-H Club program has been growing over the last six years, over 25% of youth do not re-enroll annually. Wanting to know how 4-H could improve its member retention rate, the Minnesota 4-H Retention Study asked 4-H members who left the program why they decided to join, stay and ultimately leave 4-H. (PDF) 2010.

Exploring the Supply and Demand for Community Learning Opportunities in Minnesota

Produced by Extension: Ann Lochner, Gina Allen, and Dale Blyth
This report, also known as the "Gap Study," documents the gap between supply and demand for youth development programs in the state. 2009.

Minnesota Commission on Out-of-School Time

Produced by Extension: Dale Blyth, Joyce Walker, Ann Lochner
At the request of University of Minnesota President Bob Bruininks, several members of our faculty examined Minnesota youth needs and produced a blueprint for ensuring Minnesota’s young people have engaging opportunities to learn and develop during the non-school hours. (PDF) 2005.

Journeys into Community Executive Summary

Journeys into Community Full Report

Listening to Young People's Perspectives on Out-of-School Time Opportunities

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