Quality does matter and directly affects the development of youth. Our center is a leader in youth program quality assessment and improvement.
Comments on this page? Curator: Karen Beranek, Extension educator
Youth Development Insight
Our faculty blog about research, issues and trends in the field. Join the conversation!
- 6/16 Margo Bowerman
- 5/16 Karen Beranek
I had the good fortune to grow up in an environment with a wide variety of things to do and plenty of free time. I loved competitive team sports, and as a student I played competitively through college and beyond. Today, though, many young people's time is monopolized by sports and for some, even the very young, it's only a single sport - even though the research says that's not good for them.
I’m flabbergasted by the monopoly that sports have on our young people’s time.
Recently families have been questioning the value of youth activities, as seen on the parent blogs and social media sites starting with "Why I don't pay for" and ending with: gymnastics, volleyball, band, basketball. Blogger Shad Martin has a good example with "Why I Don't Pay for Dance Anymore!"
Martin lists many good reasons why parents should involve their children in these learning experiences.
See all program quality blog posts
Reports & journal articles
This report focuses on the four elements that the most current evidence and experience suggest are essential to a successful system: strong leadership from major players, coordination that fits the local context, effective use of data and a comprehensive approach to quality. 2015.
This guide reviews ten youth outcome measurement tools that are appropriate for use in after-school and other settings. For each tool, it provides sample items and crucial information about usability, cost, and evidence of reliability and validity. The guide can help providers select conceptually grounded, psychometrically sound measures appropriate for programs that serve upper-elementary- through high school-aged youth. 2014.
Continuous Quality Improvement in Afterschool Settings: Impact findings from the Youth Program Quality Intervention Study
This study, funded by the W.T. Grant Foundation, evaluates the Youth Program Quality Intervention (YPQI), a data-driven continuous improvement model for afterschool systems. Using a rigorous, experimental design, the research finds that the YPQI produces a cascade of positive effects, resulting in improved program quality at the point of service. 2012.
Lessons for Youth Program Quality Improvement Initiatives: A Summary of the YMCA of Greater Seattle’s Initiative
This case study follows one agency, the YMCA of Greater Seattle, as they began the process of expanding program quality assessment and improvement across their organization. 2012.
This is the third book in a collection of tools for building reflection into learning settings. This “sequel” offers 28 new activities that will help users intentionally plan for enhancing program quality through reflection, participatory evaluation, engagement and leadership skill building. Research on youth program quality, brain-based learning, and social-emotional learning all point to the importance of reflection as essential to the learning process. This resource book will help you build skills for facilitating reflection with youth and adult groups through an experiential learning model. It offers a brief overview of experiential learning and youth program quality research, along with facilitator tips and additional resources. (PDF) 2014.
Even More! Building Your Programs 20 Minutes at a Time: Leadership & Reflection Activities You Can Use - Book 2
This “sequel” offers 22 additional activities to use with groups. Research on youth program quality and brain-based learning give us scientific proof that time for reflection and the use of a variety of reflective techniques facilitate learning. This resource booklet will help you build skills for facilitating reflection with youth or adult groups. It offers a brief overview of experiential learning and youth program quality research, facilitator tips, and 22 short reflection tools to help create quality experiential learning. (PDF) 2011.
Research on youth program quality and brain-based learning give us scientific proof that time for reflection and the use of a variety of reflective techniques facilitate learning. This resource booklet will help you build skills for facilitating reflection and building leadership skills with youth or adult groups. It offers a brief overview of experiential learning and youth program quality research, facilitator tips, and 27 short activities to help create quality experiential learning. (PDF) 2010.
A white paper on how quality matters in multiple dimensions of nonformal learning in the nonschool hours. (PDF) 2009.
Exploring Quality Standards for Middle School After School Programs: What we Know and What we Need to Know SummitVarious reports and articles about a quality summit. 2005.
What we're reading
From journals and the popular media. Selected by Karen Beranek, Extension educator.
- The Relationship between Youth Program Quality and Social & Emotional Learning / Herman & Blyth
- Tangible Improvement: Assessing for Youth Program Quality | Margo Herman | Youth Today
- Youth Program Quality Survey: Youth Assessment of Program Quality | Silliman, Schumm | Marriage & Family Review
- Understanding the "how" of quality improvement: Lessons from the Rhode Island Program Quality Intervention | Devaney, Smith, Wong | Afterschool Matters
- Ten steps to making evaluation matter | Sridharan, Nakaima | Evaluation and Program Planning
- Raising Expectations for Out-of-School Time | Grant | Harvard Family Research Project
- Using incentives: Encouraging and recognizing participation in youth research | Seymour | Youth Studies Australia
- Youth as Partners, Participants or Passive Recipients: A review of children and adolescents in community-based participatory research (CBPR) | Jaquez, Vaughn, Wagner | American Journal of Community Psychology
- The importance of program quality in youth achievement: Program quality indicators as predictors of outcome achievement among NOLS participants | Collins, Sibthorp, Gookin | University of Utah and National Outdoor Leadership School
Our past presentations
This webinar explores how youth in programs could be the very resource needed to improve program quality! Presenters draw from an ongoing pilot project aimed at including youth in program evaluation and 4-H program improvement planning, and highlight current research regarding the impacts of participatory evaluation practices with young people.
The webinar outlines best practices, investigates the important elements of youth-adult partnerships to engage youth in evaluation and assessment projects, and will leave you with some strategies that can help build participatory evaluation practices into any youth program. 2016.
The Minnesota 4-H Retention Study was commissioned to gather data to better understand how 4-H could improve its member retention rate. The study asked youth who left the program why they decided to join, stay, and ultimately leave 4-H. Learn about study results and be challenged to think about the implications for your youth organization. 2013.
March 14, 2013
Fact sheets with information on high quality programming taking an expert touch, including aligning disparate resources, including program organization. 2007.