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
Youth Development Insight
Our faculty blog about research, issues and trends in the field. Join the conversation!
- 6/17 Betsy Olson
Thinking about this week's national holiday, it occurs to me how important it is for youth to develop a sense of independence and agency. An article that explores how youth develop agency says, "The challenging issue for practitioners...is how to support a developmental process in which youth are the central protagonists and agents of change." How can we build structures within youth programming that better support youth authoring their own lives? Read more about how to foster youth independence..
Collecting opinions from the youth in your program can be as easy as asking the right question. But in surveys, asking the right question can be tricky. The questions can be too complex, the responses can be mismatched or the vocabulary can be confusing. Don't go through all the hard work of collecting survey data from a group of young people without ensuring the responses measure what you intend to measure. Read more on writing youth surveys..
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Reports & journal articles
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Minnesota Commission on Out-of-School Time
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.