Document Library

Research, Evaluation, & Quality Improvement

These documents describe research, evaluation, and using this knowledge to design quality programs and improve participant outcomes.

 

Child and Youth Observation Promising Practices in Program Design
Data Management and Dissemination Quality Improvement
Outcomes Measurement Research and Evaluation Resources
Program Monitoring  

 

Child and Youth Observation

10 Questions to Evaluate Student Growth Assessments. 2014. Quality data give you a clear picture of each student's learning, proficiency, and college readiness as you transition to more rigorous state standards. If you're ready to accelerate every student's achievement, download our student growth assessment checklist. NWEA.

2014 Kids Count Data Book. July 2014. As a nation, we are obsessed with data and indicators when it comes to the economy. We should be equally, if not more, concerned about the data that tell us how our children are doing. The wellbeing of our country's children is the most important indicator of our long-term economic and social future. AECF.

2015 KIDS COUNT Data Book. (2015) Using an index of 16 indicators, the report ranks states on overall child well-being and in economic well-being, education, health and family and community. The 2015 edition focuses on America's children in the midst of the country's economic recovery. Annie E. Casey Foundation.

 

2016 KIDS COUNT Data Book. (June 2016) This year, the annual report focuses on key trends in child well-being in the post-recession years and offers recommendations for how policymakers can ensure all children are prepared for the future, based on the country's shared values of opportunity, responsibility and security. Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Afterschool Youth Outcomes Inventory. (2010). A comprehensive tool for afterschool practitioners to use in assessing and articulating their programs' impact on youth. The Inventory represents a collective effort to identify a full realm of outcomes for children and youth and present these outcomes in clear language. Programs can use the Inventory to communicate their impact to a variety of stakeholders as well as to more readily identify and measure this positive impact.

Birth Through Eight State Policy Framework: Research At A Glance - Revised. (November 2015) Research at a Glance provides an overview of the evidence base for the policy choices in the Framework, summarizing the factors that contribute to, and sustain, the healthy growth and development of young children. Child Trends.

The Case for Growth: Why Measure Student Learning? (2013). Even students who fall below proficiency levels can experience academic growth. Read this report in order to better understand how to measure learning and to learn what type of data help answer the question "are my students learning?"

The Child Indicator. ( 2011). This newsletter features an interview with Asher Ben-Arieh, co-chair of the International Society for Child Indicators (ISCI), about the upcoming conference (July 27-29, in York, England), and some of the issues facing the field of child indicators.  

The Child Indicator. (2009). This Fall 2009 edition summarizes the latest child indicator data.  It includes articles on: new data from the National Survey of Children's Health and Census Bureau; recently released reports on racial/ethnic disparities in behavioral and learning disorders, young children in the criminal justice system, and high school graduation rates; a national survey of 15-year olds; and international child indicators.

Evidence of Program Quality and Youth Outcomes in the DYCD Out-of-School Time Initiative. (2009). Report on the Initiative's First Three Years. This final report documents a far-reaching effort with support from The Wallace Foundation to improve the quality of out-of-school time learning programs in New York City and make them more available, especially to children and youth who need them most.

Indicators of Student Success. (2014). These indicators, developed through the Community Center for Education Results' Road Map Project, are important measures of student success that can be influenced by focused action and consistently tracked over time by the Project, which emphasizes the use of data to encourage strategic action, drive continuous improvement and support collective accountability.

Learning From Leadership: Investigating the Links to Improved Student Learning.(2010) The largest in-depth study of school leadership to date, this report gathers and analyzes quantitative data confirming that education leadership has a strong impact on student achievement, as measured by student test scores.

Rates of SNAP Receipt Stabilize or Drop in All Regions for First Time Since Great Recession. (July 2015) This brief uses data from the American Community Survey to document rates of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) receipt in 2013, to track changes since the onset of the recession in 2007, and to monitor receipt by region. University of New Hampshire, Carsey School of Public Policy.

 

The State of the World's Children 2016: A Fair Chance for Every Child. (2016) This report offers data demonstrating how inequity imperils millions of children and threatens the future of the world. UNICEF.

 

Status and Trends in the Education of Racial and Ethnic Groups 2016. (August 2016) This report examines the educational progress and challenges students face in the United States by race/ethnicity. US Department of Education.

 

Why Teens are not Involved in Out-of-School Time Programs: The Youth Perspective. (2009).  By using youth roundtable discussions, researchers from Child Trends were able to get a better understanding of what would motivate teenagers to stay in OST programs. Some suggested improvement strategies are teaching youth practical skills, addressing family issues, and offering a variety of activities for youth. Child Trends.

 

World Family Map 2015: Mapping Family Change and Child Well-Being Outcomes. (September 2015) The 2015 World Family Map, released last week, reveals that the proportion of U.S. children living in relative poverty is higher than that of most high-income countries. Child Trends.

 

Understanding and Addressing the Early Childhood Origins of "Mean" Behavior and Bullying: Resources for Practitioners. (August 2015) This brief first provides a summary of the developmental trajectory to bullying behavior and theories about social and environmental contributors to bullying. Child Trends.

The Youngest Americans: A Statistical Portrait of Infants and Toddlers in the United States. (2013). This report focuses on America's youngest children - 12 million infants and toddlers - the leading edge of demographic transformation in the U.S. They herald a nation more diverse with respect to race/ethnicity, country of origin, language, and family type than any time in our recent history.

Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance-United States, 2015. (June 2016) This report summarizes results for 118 health behaviors plus obesity, overweight, and asthma from the 2015 national YRBS and overall trends in health behaviors during 1991-2015. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

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Data Management and Dissemination

2015 Ready by 21 State Policy Survey: Child and Youth Policy Coordinating Bodies in the U.S. (May 2016) Conducted previously in 2011 and 2013, this comprehensive survey identifies state child and youth coordinating bodies and summarizes findings on the breadth of their partnerships and goals, how well they use data and their effectiveness in using innovative strategies to support children and youth. Forum for Youth Investment.

Building and Using Longitudinal Data Systems for Effective Reporting and to Improve Student Achievement. (2009). This issue brief describes the American Youth Policy Forum's field trip and learning exchange hosted in June 2009 in partnership with the Data Quality Campaign. The brief describes the key themes and lessons learned, including developing a data culture, effective data governance, and creating an LDS with the ability to connect across agencies and states.

Building bridges: How to share research about children and youth with policymakers. (October 2016) This brief provides an overview of the literature available to explore the conditions under which policymakers are most likely to use research, including the presentation formats that best facilitate their use. Child Trends.

 

Connecting the Dots: Data Use in Afterschool Systems. (April 2016) People and processes are as important as technology, according to early findings from a study of the use of data in afterschool systems. The Wallace Foundation.

 

Crisis and Opportunity in Delaware's Child Welfare System. (March 2016) The report documents how a data-driven reform effort called Outcomes Matter helped improve the well-being of Delaware's children and families. The Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Data Collection Instruments for Evaluating Family Involvement. (2009). This resource compiles instruments that were developed for rigorous family involvement program impact evaluations and tested for reliability.

Data Driven Decision Making in Out-of-School Time Programs. (2009). This brief from Child Trends highlights the importance of access to high-quality data and describes how decision-support data systems can be used as effective tools for evaluating and improving out-of-school time programs.

Data on Data: A Resource Guide to Engaging Families with Student Data. Data have the power to be transformative. As the articles in this resource guide suggest, when used by families, data can lead to school improvement and community enrichment. Data also provide a platform that allows parents, students, and teachers to engage in a dialogue about student learning goals, progress, and action steps to achieve these goals.

Data-Sharing: Federal Rules and Best Practices to Improve OST Programs and Student Outcomes(2012). Does the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act block schools and OST partners from sharing student data? No, says this policy brief from the Partnership for Children and Youth, Data-Sharing: Federal Rules and Best Practices. By outlining examples from the field, this paper aims to pave the way for more OST programs and their school partners to use student data to improve educational outcomes and opportunities for all students.

Linking Data Across Agencies: States That Are Making It Work. (2009). As a condition for receiving funds under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, every governor and chief state school officer has agreed to develop statewide longitudinal data systems that can follow students from early learning to postsecondary education and into the workforce. This publication, co-authored by the Data Quality Campaign and the Forum, provides an in-depth look at the collaborative, cutting-edge work of Children's Cabinets and others to share data across agencies in order to improve the planning and delivery of services.

Making Data Meaningful. (2013). This commentary explores how conversations about education data have changed, and outlines key components of effective data-sharing practices. While education data used to focus mainly on monitoring and accountability educators are now looking at student information as a form of data that can connect parents and teachers as active partners in children's success.

State Summative Assessments: 2015-16 school year. (November 2015) This report outlines where states stand in regard to summative assessments for the 2015-16 school year. Education Commission of the States.

 

Time to Act: Making Data Work for Students. (April 2016) The Four Policy Priorities to Make Data Work for Students presented in this paper provide a set of recommendations for policymakers to take advantage of the opportunities presented by ESSA to ensure that data serves their citizens and supports student learning. Data Quality Campaign.

Tips for Administrators, Teachers, and Families: How to Share Data Effectively. (2013). This set of tip sheets helps administrators, teachers, and families determine the best ways to share student data in meaningful ways. The tip sheets include examples of data-sharing practices and also illustrate how educational stakeholders can adopt a data-driven approach that supports student learning.

Turning Data into Information: The Vital Role of Research in Improving Education. (August 2016) In light of ESSA being signed into law, this brief describes how research uncovers the evidence that policymakers and practitioners need to provide the best education possible for all students. Data Quality Campaign.

 

Using Existing Large-Scale Data to Study Early Care and Education Among Hispanics: How Hispanic Parents and Children Experience ECE Settings. (March 2016) As part of a larger effort to build research capacity related to early care and education (ECE) issues for low-income Hispanic families, this brief describes data elements specific to the experiences children and families have with ECE providers and programs, including the quality of ECE settings, parental satisfaction, and parents' experiences coordinating ECE arrangements with employment demands. National Research Center on Hispanic Children & Families. 

 

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Outcomes Measurement

Afterschool Youth Outcomes Inventory. (2010). A comprehensive tool for afterschool practitioners to use in assessing and articulating their programs' impact on youth. The Inventory represents a collective effort to identify a full realm of outcomes for children and youth and present these outcomes in clear language. Programs can use the Inventory to communicate their impact to a variety of stakeholders as well as to more readily identify and measure this positive impact.

Aiming Higher Together: Strategizing Better Educational Outcomes for Boys and Young Men of Color. (May 2016) This paper argues for fostering conditions in homes, schools, peer groups, and communities that enable instead of stifle BYMOC achievement. Urban Institute.

Assessment Matters. 2014. For educators, "Are my students learning" is a fundamental question. To answer it, they use a variety of tools, including assessment that measure student achievement and growth. This report provides information on how quality assessment data can tap into students' natural curiosity and engage them as partners in learning. NWEA.  

Breakthroughs in Shared Measurement and Social Impact. (2009). This report by FSG Social Impact Advisors evaluates the efforts of 20 different communities to develop shared approaches to performance, outcomes and/or impact measurement across multiple agencies. It also highlights practices and recommendations that community leaders identified as crucial for these efforts to succeed.

Calculating the Return on Investment in Summer Learning. (2015) The NSLA spoke with researcher Linda Goetze at the University of New Mexico to understand the intersection of policy, funding, and return on summer reading investments. National Summer Learning Association.

 

A Child Welfare Leader's Desk Guide to Building a High-Performing Agency. (April 2015) The child welfare leader's desk guide is designed to help busy child welfare leaders gauge their agency's effectiveness and chart a course toward measureable improvement. The Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Complete the Picture: Evaluation Fills in the Missing Pieces that Feedback Can't Provide. (2013). Both feedback and evaluation are integral when measuring professional learning. While professional developers have traditionally used feedback, evaluation is also a necessary component, as it includes measures of both knowledge and implementation.

Crisis and Opportunity in Delaware's Child Welfare System. (March 2016) The report documents how a data-driven reform effort called Outcomes Matter helped improve the well-being of Delaware's children and families. The Annie E. Casey Foundation.

D.C. Out-of-School Time Programs Tackle Outcome Measures. (2010). Funders and nonprofit leaders are increasingly looking for information that demonstrates the achievements of community-based programs. In this results-oriented environment, the Urban Institute, The Center for What Works, and the D.C. Children and Youth Investment Trust Corporation worked together to create a pilot program that developed and tested a series of outcome measures for out-of-school time (OST) programs. This brief describes the process followed and the results achieved.

Estimating the Costs of Bad Outcomes for At-Risk Youth and the Benefits of Early Childhood Interventions. (2010). Although it appears that there is growing interest in early childhood intervention as an effort to reduce crime, resources continue to be funneled toward punishment and incarceration. Considering this and acknowledging earlier cost-based empirical research, the question still remains as to the cost incurred by a lifetime of involvement in crime and experiencing a host of adverse noncrime outcomes.

Evidence of Program Quality and Youth Outcomes in the DYCD Out-of-School Time Initiative. (2009). Report on the Initiative's First Three Years. This final report documents a far-reaching effort with support from The Wallace Foundation to improve the quality of out-of-school time learning programs in New York City and make them more available, especially to children and youth who need them most.

Evidence to Practice: 2013 Annual Report. (2013). This 2013 annual report features SEDL managers sharing their perspectives on how we help education leaders, teachers, policy makers, and others use the best available research to inform their work. Highlights include the innovative research alliances that are guiding the work of the Regional Educational Laboratories.

Examining the Impact of Afterschool STEM programs. (2014). The program evaluations and studies included in this paper point to important contributions that afterschool STEM programs can make. Even though the sample of programs described isn't representative of the afterschool field, they serve as a glimpse of the potential outcomes possible.

Framing Program Evaluation: Why We Should Tinker With Theories of Change and Logic Models. (November 2015) This article posits that No matter how rudimentary or advanced your evaluation plans might be, developing or refining your theory of change and its corresponding logic model is essential. Harvard Family Research Project.

 

From Data to Evidence to Policy: Recommendations for the Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking. (May 2016) Recommendations intended to help the Commission determine how the federal government can share and link administrative data sets without risking personal information privacy. William T. Grant Foundation.

 

Funders' Guide to Quality in Out-of-School Time. (March 2016) This guide provides recommendations to grantmakers about how they can increase quality in OST through local, regional, statewide and national grantmaking and other strategies. Grantmakers for Education.

Guide to Evaluating Collective Impact: Assessing Progress and Impact. (2014). Part two of this three-part guide which offers detailed advice on how to plan for and implement effective performance measurement and evaluation activities in the context of collective impact.

Guide to Evaluating Collective Impact: Learning and Evaluating the Collective Impact Context. (2014). Part one of this three-part guide which offers detailed advice on how to plan for and implement effective performance measurement and evaluation activities in the context of collective impact.

Guide to Evaluating Collective Impact: Sample Questions, Outcomes, and Indicators. (2014). Part three of this three-part guide whichoffers detailed advice on how to plan for and implement effective performance measurement and evaluation activities in the context of collective impact.

How Do We Define and Measure Deeper Learning? (2012). In preparing students for the world outside school, what skills are important to learn? This goes to the heart of the research addressed in the Deeper Learning Report released by the National Research Council of the National Academies of Science in Washington. To deconstruct the definition of deeper learning further, the researchers came up with what they call three domains of competence: cognitive, intrapersonal and interpersonal. Cognitive refers to reasoning and problem solving; intrapersonal refers to self-management, self-directedness, and conscientiousness; and interpersonal refers to expressing ideas and communicating and working with others.

The Life Skills Assessment Scale: Measuring Life Skills of Disadvantaged Children in the Developing World. (2014). This article published in the journal of Social Behavior and Personality discusses how adversity, including malnutrition, has had irrefutable effects on child development and mental health. Using observational data from 1,136 disadvantaged children, the research team constructed a simple 5-item impact assessment scale to measure program impact.

Two Generational Strategies to Improve Immigrant Family and Child Outcomes. (December 2015) This paper is a reflection of a remarkable two-day conversation among leading voices from the worlds of policy, advocacy, research, service delivery, and philanthropy for low-income families and immigrant communities. CLASP.

Measurement Framework: How to Measure Success in Expanded Learning Systems.(2014). Authors present clear connections between program desired outcomes and measurement tools. The Appendix features a simple checklist for measuring program goals on multiple levels. Every Hour Counts.

Measurement Tools for Evaluating Out-of-School Time Programs: An Evaluation Resource. (2011). As part of the continuing effort to help out-of-school time (OST) practitioners and evaluators choose appropriate evaluation methods, Harvard Family Research Project created this resource to describe measurement tools that can be used for on-the-ground program evaluation.

Measuring and Understanding Authentic Youth Engagement: The Youth-Adult Partnership Rubric. (2016) A new rubric helps observers assess whether afterschool activities and programs promote authentic youth-adult partnerships. Afterschool Matters.

Measuring Youth Program Quality: A Guide to Assessment Tools, 2nd Ed. (2009). This report compares the purpose, history, structure, methodology, content and technical properties of different program observation tools.

Organizational and Program Changes in youthCONNECT: What Happened and Why. (May 2016) This document summarizes Child Trends' evaluation of youthCONNECT, a collaboration of government, philanthropy, nonprofits, and evaluators aiming to improve opportunities for low-income youth (14-24) in the National Capital Region. Child Trends.

 

Pay for Success: The First Generation. (March 2016) A comparative analysis of the first 10 Pay for Success projects in the United States. Projects to date have clustered in three issue areas: criminal justice and recidivism; early childhood education; and homelessness. Nonprofit Finance Fund.

 

Ready for Fall? Near-Term Effects of Voluntary Summer Learning Programs on Low-Income Students' Learning Opportunities. (December 2014) The first set of student outcome findings from Wallace's National Summer Learning Project finds near-term improved student performance on math assessments and no near-term effect on reading assessments. The Wallace Foundation.

 

A Snapshot of OST Programs in Philadelphia in 2013-14. (May 2015) Drawing from data gathered for local reports, RFA conducted a mixed-methods evaluation to examine program quality, attendance and their relationships to student outcomes. The report aggregated findings and recommendations for program improvement. Research for Action.

 

A Stronger Nation 2016. (April 2016) Offers detailed data arrays that describe postsecondary attainment at the national, state and county levels. The report also provides postsecondary attainment data for each of the nation's 100 most populous metropolitan regions. Lumina Foundation.

 

A Summary of Three Studies Exploring the Relationship between Afterschool Program Quality and Youth Outcomes.  (April 2014).  During 2013-2014, the American Institutes for Research (AIR) conducted three studies aimed at exploring the connection between afterschool programs and positive youth outcomes.  Researchers focused on attendance rates, behavior, grade promotion, grades and standardized test scores.  Findings from these three studies are discussed and authors advocate for further research.   American Institutes for Research.

Test Score and Economic Performances. August 2014. ASCD's Latest Policy Points examines the connection between student performance and economic measures such as productivity and gross domestic product (GDP) and finds that, despite unexceptional test scores, the U.S. remains an economic leader. ASCD.

Turning Data into Information: The Vital Role of Research in Improving Education. (August 2016) In light of ESSA being signed into law, this brief describes how research uncovers the evidence that policymakers and practitioners need to provide the best education possible for all students. Data Quality Campaign.

Understanding and Measuring Attendance in Out-of-School Time Programs. August 2004. This brief reviews developmental research and out-of-school time program evaluations to examine three research-based indicators of attendance-intensity, duration, and breadth-offering different models for how attendance in out-of-school time programs can influence youth outcomes. HFRP.

User’s Guide for Evaluating Learning Outcomes from Citizen Science. (2014). While this publication is intended for those evaluating science-based programs, afterschool providers across subjects can benefit from its in-depth description of effective evaluation. Readers may benefit from a list of evaluation types, definitions related to assessment, and checklists for designing and implementing evaluations. Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Why Interim Assessment Matters. (2014). Whether a student performs at, above, or below grade level, they can improve academically - and it's one of their teacher's key responsibilities to nurture every student's growth potential. this report discusses how interim assessment supplies data that can motivate students to set, achieve, and celebrate learning goals.

Why NAA Core Competencies Matter in Achieving Youth Outcomes. (2015) Authored by Philadelphia OST Administrator Lorraine McGirt, this article details the city's adoption of the National Afterschool Association's Core Competencies. Leaders organized an OST Professional Development Workgroup which focused on selecting OST staff competencies and discussing connection to youth outcomes. Afterschool Today.

A Youth Development Approach to Evaluation. (2015) This article raises up critical participatory action research and youth participatory evaluation as possible answers to the challenge of producing "evidence-based" outcomes. Afterschool Matters.

 

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Program Monitoring

Charity Watchdog Shakes Up Ratings to Focus on Results. (2013). The nonprofit sector is the one area of the economy that is growing faster than business and government. But most nonprofits aren't very good at measuring their effectiveness. Charity Navigator, a nonprofit watchdog, is planning to change its ratings system to better capture how well nonprofits are working at achieving certain results.

The Impact of After-School Programs: Interpreting the Results of Four Recent Evaluations. (2004). The demand for after-school care by working parents and a new focus on test-based accountability have moved OST programs into the center of the national education policy debate. As a wave of evaluation results has recently become available, this report summarizes the results of four recent evaluations to highlight lessons learned and to identify unanswered questions.

Learning for All: The Value of Field Experience in Training a New Generation of Program Evaluators. (December 2015) This article summarizes what student consultants did to strengthen evaluation practices for their partner organizations as well as what the organizations did to make the experience a productive one for everyone involved. Harvard Family Research Project.

 

Measuring Youth Program Quality: A Guide to Assessment Tools, 2nd Ed. (2009). This report compares the purpose, history, structure, methodology, content and technical properties of different program observation tools.

Organizational decision making and goal setting in out-of-school-time programs. (2011). Currently, there is a large body of research examining Out-of-School Time (OST) programs, the goals of these programs, and their reported impact on the youth they serve. However, there is little evidence of research on how organizations determine which goals best fit the needs of the communities they serve. Jenny Hemmingson, University of Massachusetts-Amherst.

Reflections on Access and Equity Implications for After School Program Evaluations.  (2000).  Laurie Olsen discusses California Tomorrow’s principles defining access and equity in afterschool programs.  Continual evaluation strives to expand access and encourages dialogue in the field.  HFRP.

What We Don't Know about Evidence-Based Programs. (2013). In recent years governmental and private funders have called for greater use of evidence-based programs and practices to serve children and youth. While there are many benefits to this practice, the bad news is that it is far from clear what distinguishes effective programs from their ineffective counterparts. This article explains why it is important for us to recognize why programs work or don't.

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Promising Practices in Program Design

21st Century Community Learning Centers: Effective support for local afterschool programs. (March 2015).  Jodi Grant discusses how many studies show how 21st Century Community Learning Centers are increasing the effectiveness of afterschool programs by helping to raise student achievement. Afterschool Alliance

The Achieve, Connect, Thrive Framework. (2013). This framework is apractical approach for teen-serving organizations to focus on building skills for success in school, college and 21st century careers. It is derived from the best of the youth development field and afterschool program providers as well as research the fields of education and developmental psychology.

Afterschool and Beyond: A 15-Year History of TASC. The After-School Corporation (TASC) reflects on its work supporting New York City youth and afterschool programs. The publication presents information on goals, values, program design, accomplishments and funding. TASC.

Afterschool Quality Program Standards: A National Compilation.  (2013).  This 500+ page publication has compiled information on afterschool program standards in 18 states.  The document details information on youth development, community relationships, health/wellness education, STEM, staff development and evaluation. Oklahoma Afterschool Network.

After-School Programming with Codecademy. (2012). Codecademy has launched After-School Programming, a free kit for educators or youth in middle and high school who want to start afterschool programming clubs. The kit includes a curriculum with interactive lessons, fun projects, and access to a community of teachers around the world. During the first semester, youth build personalized websites, and during the second, they build adventure games. No background in programming or computer science is necessary. Read more about this initiative, and sign up to receive the kit.

After School Programs in the 21st Century: Their Potential and What it Takes to Achieve It. February 2008. This research brief draws on seminal research and evaluation studies to address two primary questions: a.) Does participation in afterschool programs make a difference, and, if so b.) What conditions appear to be necessary to achieve positive results? The brief concludes with a set of questions to spur conversation about the evolving role of after school in efforts to expand time and opportunities for children and youth in the 21st century. HFRP.

The Best of Both Worlds: Aligning Afterschool Programs with Youth Development Principles and Academic Standards.(2009). This guide from the Sunset Neighborhood Beacon Center (SNBC) documents SNBC’s application of California Department of Education content standards to innovative, project-based learning clubs.

Best Practices and Indicators for OST Programs. (2009). The best out-of-school time (OST) programs are intentional in design and practice. That is why the DC Children & Youth Investment Trust Corporation created this comprehensive field guide. This 15-section reference tool outlines 90 best practices and more than 650 indicators, giving tangible examples of elements that make an after-school program successful. Emphasizing both program content and organizational structure, the field guide is an essential resource to establishing and maintaining a strong OST program.

Campaign for Quality: Promising Practices from California's High School After School Programs. This document breaks down different common components of developing and maintaining selected California high school OST programs.

A Child Welfare Leader's Desk Guide to Building a High-Performing Agency. (April 2015) The child welfare leader's desk guide is designed to help busy child welfare leaders gauge their agency's effectiveness and chart a course toward measureable improvement. The Annie E. Casey Foundation.

City Spotlight: Tempe.  (2015). Tempe, Arizona is featured in this article from the National League of Cities. The city has recently adopted the Quality Standards for Out-of-School Time (OST) Programs. These standards include best practices in seven key areas: Safe and healthy environments; Positive relationships; Intentional programming and activities; Equity and inclusion; Family, school and community engagement; Program management; and Program evaluation and data. National League of Cities.

Core Standards for Philadelphia Youth Programs. (2012). Core Standards for Philadelphia's Youth Programs describe best practices for youth, first grade to young adulthood, in organized out-of-school time programs. They provide a foundation for program quality and a benchmark for professionalism in the service delivered. Also read Introduction to the Core Standards for Philadelphia Youth Programs.

Council on Accreditation 2009 Conference Summary. (2009). Read this Summary of COA's 2009 Conference, "Strategies for Sustaining Success", and Nationwide Afterschool Accreditation Standards Related to Quality Programming Survey.

Documenting and Accessing Learning in Informal and Media-Rich Environments. (March 2015). This extensive document identifies at least ten types of valued outcomes, to be assessed in terms of learning at the project, group, and individual levels. The cases described in the literature under review, which range from promoting girls’ identification with STEM practices to providing online resources for learning programming and networking, illustrate the usefulness of the assessment model they propose. Informal Science.

Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring, Fourth Edition. (September 2015) MENTOR's cornerstone publication details research-informed and practitioner-approved Standards for creating and sustaining quality youth mentoring programs. MENTOR.

 

Evidence2Success in Providence: Using Programs That Work. 2017. The Annie E. Casey Foundation.


Evidence-Based Programs in Action: Policy and Practice Insights from a Success Story. (2010). This new Child Trends brief profiles the Partnership for Results, a model of local governance designed to implement a broad spectrum of evidence-based programs for the benefit of youth at risk.  For a decade, it has operated in Cayuga County in Central New York.

Examining Youth and Program Predictors of Engagement in Out-of-School Time Programs. (2012). Prior research suggests that youths' engagement in out-of-school time programs may be a crucial factor linking program participation to positive outcomes during adolescence. Guided by the theoretical concept of flow and by stage-environment fit theory, this study explored correlates of engagement in youth programs. Engagement was conceptualized as the extent to which youth found the program activities enjoyable, interesting, and challenging. The current study examined how program content, monetary incentives, and youth demographic characteristics were linked to youth engagement among a sample of primarily low-income middle and high school youth attending 30 out-of-school programs. Journal of Youth and Adolescence.

ExpandED Schools National Demonstration: Lessons for Scale and Sustainability. (April 2016) This report presents findings from the fourth year of the ExpandED Schools initiative as schools begin to break from the outdated, 19th-century school calendar. Policy Studies Associates, Inc.

Expanding Learning, Expanding Opportunities. (2013). This guide accompanies the new video "Expanding Learning, Expanding Opportunities" and highlights three proven approaches to providing young people with richer, more varied experiences. With additional resources that can help bring expanded learning to your community, this guide includes studies that show the impact of expanded learning and links to organizations that offer guidance on establishing strong systems.

Expanding Minds and Opportunities: Leveraging the Power of Afterschool and Summer Learning for Student Success. (2013). This compendium of studies, reports and commentaries by more than 100 thought leaders including community leaders, elected officials, educators, researchers and advocates offers examples of effective practices, programs and partnerships-that demonstrate how afterschool and summer programsare yielding positive outcomes for authentic student, community and family engagement in learning.

From Project to Platform: The Evolution of KIDS COUNT. (2016) This report tells the story of how a single data book documenting child well-being measures turned into a mission-critical vehicle for AECF in building bipartisan support for proven practice solutions and policy change. The Annie E. Casey Foundation.

 

How an Afterschool Program Fought Crime.  (March 2015).  In Costa Mesa, California, the police force and an afterschool program formed a meaningful partnership.  This collaboration has contributed to lower crime rates in the neighborhood.  College attendance rates for afterschool program participants has also risen. Pacific Standard.

 

How Out-of-School Time Program Quality is Related to Adolescent Outcomes, (2010) Program Quality Matters for Adolescent Outcomes. A new Child Trends research brief finds positive outcomes for adolescents in high-quality out-of-school time programs, but no significant differences between adolescents in low-quality programs and those not in a program at all. The brief is based on data from the Every Child Every Promise survey commissioned by the America's Promise Alliance.

How to Craft an After-School Program that Doesn't Suck. (2013). This article is presented in the form of an interview with Hillary Salmons, the Executive Director of the Providence After School Alliance. In it, she addresses issues pertaining to getting students to show up and regularly attend after-school programs, as well as the role of state and local governments in supporting and facilitating after-school initiatives.

How to Scale Up Effective Programs Serving Children, Youth, and Families. (November 2015) This brief reviews the best practices for scale up of effective programs from across the literature and describes the experiences of several effective programs that are at varying levels of scale across the country and internationally. Child Trends.

 

Learning for All: The Value of Field Experience in Training a New Generation of Program Evaluators. (December 2015) This article summarizes what student consultants did to strengthen evaluation practices for their partner organizations as well as what the organizations did to make the experience a productive one for everyone involved. Harvard Family Research Project.

Meeting the High School Challenge: Making After-School Work for Older Students. (2007). Teens are one of the hardest populations to reach through after-school programming. This report provides three different models that aim to engage teens through comprehensive, targeted, and stand-alone programs.

Oklahoma Afterschool Quality Standards.  (2015). This comprehensive list of afterschool program standards helps to ensure consistency across the state and promotes accountability. If meeting the presenting standards, programs receive a “High Quality” stamp. Oklahoma Expanded Learning Network.

Organizational decision making and goal setting in out-of-school-time programs. (2011). Currently, there is a large body of research examining Out-of-School Time (OST) programs, the goals of these programs, and their reported impact on the youth they serve. However, there is little evidence of research on how organizations determine which goals best fit the needs of the communities they serve.

Outcomes and Research in Out-of-School Time Program Design. (2002). Promising practices in OST program design can be linked to priority youth outcomes, such as academic achievement, decreased risk behaviors, workforce preparation, and personal skill development.

Practices to Avoid in Out-of-School Time Programs. (2010). To improve outcomes for youth in out-of-school time programs, this new Child Trends briefs highlights 10 practices to avoid.

Practices to Foster in Out-of-School Time Programs. (2010). To improve outcomes for youth in out-of-school time programs, this new Child Trends briefs highlights 10 practices to foster.

Putting It All Together: Guiding Principles for Quality After-School Programs Serving Preteens. (2008). This online Resource Guide provides recent research and tools to help service providers strengthen their after-school programs, particularly those serving preteens.

A Resource Guide for Planning and Operating Afterschool Programs. (2009). This third edition of A Resource Guide for Planning and Operating Afterschool Programs provides a description of resources to support 21st Century Community Learning Center afterschool programs. Many of the entries will also apply to before-school, summer, and community learning center programs.

School District Seeks More Relevance in Classroom. (2013). This article discusses the importance of presenting school work and assignments within the context of a realistic real-world situation that students are familiar with. As Dr. King Laurence, the associate superintendent for instruction explains in the article, "What we need to be teaching and assessing is how knowledge can be applied to the real world."

Starting with the End in Mind. (2013). Starting with the end in mind has become a mantra for lesson planning. Sometimes called "Backward Planning" or "Lesson Design" this technique is being exposed to teachers in professional development sessions for years and has moved from a behind-the-scenes process to something that is openly shared and encouraged.

Strategies for Incorporating Youth Voice into Program Design: The Importance of Youth Leadership, Responsibility, Choice, and Autonomy. (March 2016) This brief presents findings from research to understand the experiences of Boston youth in out-of-school time programming in the areas of youth leadership and responsibility, and choice and autonomy. Practical strategies to engage youth in these areas are included. Boston After School & Beyond.

Sustaining School-Based Services: Insights From New Mexico's Integrated School-Based Services. (2010). This new Child Trends brief outlines the benefits, challenges and strategies for sustaining integrated health, extended learning, and other social services in schools.

Taking a Deeper Dive into Afterschool: Positive Outcomes and Promising Practices. (2014). This in-depth look at high quality evaluations of the afterschool field examines both outcomes associated with participation in an afterschool program and practices associated with a quality program.

The science of spring: how a change of seasons can boost classroom learning.  (April 2015).  Warmer weather and extended daylight has been found to often better students’ moods and increase energy levels.  This article offers suggestions on how to leverage these benefits to support learning. The Guardian. 

Time Well Spent: Eight Powerful Practices of Successful, Expanded-Time Schools. (2011). NCTL's report,Time Well Spent: Eight Powerful Practices of Successful, Expanded-Time Schools, reshapes the field for expanded-time schools by outlining specific practices that can lead to dramatic increases in student achievement and preparation for success in college and the workforce.

 

Two-Generation Approaches. (May 2016) The purpose of this document is to provide local communities and practitioners with an overview of the research, best practices, and many resources available to stakeholders interested in two-generation approaches (serving children and adults). US Department of Education.

 

The US Education Innovation Index: Prototype and Report. (September 2016) This analytical article describes USEII, which is a city-level composite indicator tailor-made for the education sector that measures innovation conditions and activities to help education and civic leaders encourage smart innovation. Bellwether Education Partners.

Vancouver, WA: Basic Quality Standards for Quality Out-of-School Time Programs. (2009). These quality standards for out-of-school time from the Vancouver Coalition for Out-of-School Time have been developed to assist in the design and implementation of high quality after school and youth development programs. These standards are grounded in a youth development framework that encourages a comprehensive asset-based approach to program planning and implementation.

Why NAA Core Competencies Matter in Achieving Youth Outcomes.  (2015).  Authored by Philadelphia OST Administrator Lorraine McGirt, this article details the city’s adoption of the National Afterschool Association’s Core Competencies.  Leaders organized an OST Professional Development Workgroup which focused on selecting OST staff competencies and discussing connection to youth outcomes.  Afterschool Today.

 

Words are Your Roots.  (2015). Community Arts and Literacy Organizations are featured in this Philadelphia-specific publication.  A series of authors present thought-provoking articles promoting powerful programs in the city.  Spying on Hope Productions.

Youth Preference Survey. (December 2014). This three-page survey helps to assess student interests and needs. The survey can be modified based your program’s needs and goals. Beyond the Bell.

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Quality Improvement

 

After-school Programs for Delinquency Prevention: A systematic review and meta-analysis. (2015). This meta-analysis of several studies showed that current after-school programs do neither hurt nor aid in delinquency prevention. These results suggest that while after-school programs should not be discontinued, they may need to be redesigned for the specific needs of delinquent youth to best aid in their progress. Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice.

 

Beyond the Numbers: Data Use for Continuous Improvement of Programs Serving Disconnected Youth. (2012). This report investigates three programs with a proven record of success with the disconnected youth population and catalogues their elements of success in data collection and use to effectively engage this population. The report distills the key lessons learned both for practitioners and policymakers aiming to improve outcomes for the disconnected youth population and raises important policy questions concerning financing, data sharing, and the standardization of outcomes.

 

Building Citywide Systems for Quality: A Guide and Case Studies for Afterschool Leaders. (October 2012) The guide describes the efforts and approaches in six communities to build quality improvement systems: Atlanta, GA; Austin, TX; Chicago, IL; New York, NY; Palm Beach County, FL and Hampden County, MA. Forum for Youth Investment.

Charity Watchdog Shakes Up Ratings to Focus on Results. (2013). The nonprofit sector is the one area of the economy that is growing faster than business and government. But most nonprofits aren't very good at measuring their effectiveness. Charity Navigator, a nonprofit watchdog, is planning to change its ratings system to better capture how well nonprofits are working at achieving certain results.

A Child Welfare Leader's Desk Guide to Building a High-Performing Agency. (April 2015) The child welfare leader's desk guide is designed to help busy child welfare leaders gauge their agency's effectiveness and chart a course toward measureable improvement. The Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Comprehensive Professional Learning System: A Workbook for States and Districts. (2013). This workbook guides a team of thoughtfully selected representatives in reviewing, revising, or replacing an existing professional learning system. The process outlined and the tools included support the team in conducting all aspects of its work. A comprehensive professional learning system has essential components, but how those components operate in each context will vary.

Continued Progress: Promising Evidence on Personalized Learning. (November 2015) This report examines achievement in 62 public charter and district schools that are pursuing a variety of personalized learning practices, and examines implementation details in 32 of those schools. RAND Corporation.

Continuous Quality Improvement in Afterschool Settings. (2012). Afterschool programs get better the more they assess themselves and make changes based on those assessments, says the recently released report on the Youth Program Quality Intervention study by the Weikart Center. At a time when quality improvement is a priority for the afterschool field, the report says that a cycle of assessing staff practices, planning based on the assessment and targeted training improves the quality of services delivered to young people. Researchers found that the Youth Program Quality Intervention - a scalable, evidence-based continuous improvement model - increases quality among a wide range of afterschool systems, is sustainable and cost-effective, and might boost staff retention.

Crisis and Opportunity in Delaware's Child Welfare System. (March 2016) The report documents how a data-driven reform effort called Outcomes Matter helped improve the well-being of Delaware's children and families. The Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Driving Program Eligibility Toward Higher Quality. August 2014. As Pennsylvania works to expand access to high-quality pre-kindergarten programs, it must be mindful not to compromise quality. This briefing paper examines how the quality of programs and their providers can be maintained and strengthened as we expand to ensure public investments in pre-k remain smart investments. Pre-K for PA.

Engaging Parents, Developing Leaders: A Self-Assessment and Planning Tool for Nonprofits and Schools. (August 2016) This publication introduces an assessment and planning tool to help nonprofits evaluate their parent engagement efforts and chart a path toward deeper partnerships with parents and caregivers. The Annie E. Casey Foundation.

 

Evidence2Success in Providence: Using Programs That Work. 2017. The Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Expanding Minds and Opportunities: Leveraging the Power of Afterschool and Summer Learning for Student Success. This compendium of studies, reports and commentaries by more than 100 thought leaders including community leaders, elected officials, educators, researchers and advocates offers examples of effective practices, programs and partnerships-that demonstrate how afterschool and summer programsare yielding positive outcomes for authentic student, community and family engagement in learning.

Funders' Guide to Quality in Out-of-School Time. (March 2016) This guide provides recommendations to grantmakers about how they can increase quality in OST through local, regional, statewide and national grantmaking and other strategies. Grantmakers for Education.

Improving the Quality of Expanded Learning Opportunities (ELOs) Serving Older Youth. (2009). This forum brief highlights research that examines the effects of the Youth Program Quality Assessment, a research-validated tool designed to evaluate and improve the quality of ELOs serving adolescents, and how the assessment tool is being used at state and local levels to improve the quality of ELOs. 

Increasing Capacity and Quality in Afterschool Programs: Lessons learned from New York City's Beacons. (2010). This forum discussed the results of the Beacons Young Adolescent Initiative's recently released third year evaluation report, examined the Youth Development Institute's capacity building strategies and their impact, and provided policy recommendations.

Investing in High-Quality Early Childhood Education. (2015) This state report shows a large unmet need for high-quality early education in Pennsylvania. PA Office of Child Development and Earning Learning.

 

Making Afterschool Programs Better. (2011).The number of students attending afterschool programs has skyrocketed in recent years, currently serving an estimated 8.4 million children (Afterschool Alliance, 2009). Consequently, the demand for high quality afterschool programs, and to learn from successful ones, has never been greater.

A New Day for Youth: Creating Sustainable Quality in Out of School Time. (2009). These authors asserts that the ability of OST providers to offer high-quality OST programming rests on strong  leadership, staffing and their activities for children. Noam therefore advocates more leadership and management training for OST executive leaders; training for OST staffers in establishing strong relationships with young people; and assistance in establishing clear learning goals for students.

Promising Practices in AfterSchool. (2009). The AED Center for Youth Development highlighted these promising practices for afterschool programs.

Promoting Quality Through Professional Development(2004). This article links OST professional development to program quality, youth achievement, and evaluation strategies.

Putting program evaluation into practice: Enhancing the Girls Just Wanna Have Fun program. (April 2015).  Authors attempted to evaluate the effectiveness of a physical activity and life-skills program serving female participants.  The study helps to support the ongoing need for evaluation and programmatic improvements based on findings and feedback.   Evaluation and Program Planning.

Quality Afterschool: Helping Programs Achieve It and Strengthening Policies to Support It. ( 2011). For years, policy makers, program directors and parents have attested to the widespread benefits of afterschool programs. Fortunately, a wide variety of research ranging from quantitative studies and polls to qualitative reports and field observations has corroborated the need for afterschool enrichment.

The Quality Imperative: A State Guide to Achieving the Promise of Extended Learning Opportunities. (2009). This report from the Council of Chief State School Officers and the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices provides recommendations on how state leaders can establish a state Extended Learning Opportunity (ELO) quality system to improve the effectiveness of afterschool and summer programs.

Quick Facts on School–Age Care: Trends in Quality Improvement. (2009). This is a summary of resources for programs interested in quality improvement. It Includes professional development offerings, evaluation systems, and information about licensing regulations.

Raising the Bar: Quality Improvement Systems for Youth Programs. (2009). This August 2009 policy commentary from the Forum for Youth Investment features lessons learned about building quality improvement systems for OST programs.

Raising Standards After 3pm. (2011). The Bloomberg administration launched the citywide Out-of-School Time initiative in 2005. Since then the city has served as many as 85,000 students a year through after-school programs operated by community organizations with deep neighborhood roots. Now New York's Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) is preparing to support a new round of daily after-school programs.

Researcher and Practitioner Dialogue: Advancing Program Quality and Research. (Spring 2016) This third issue of JELO features research articles on program quality, STEM learning, social emotional development, and more. Journal of Expanded Learning Opportunities.

Study: Preschool Rating Systems Disconnected from Child Outcomes. (2013). Preschools that are highly ranked by state evaluation systems produce outcomes for children that are not significantly better than lower-ranked programs because those systems may be including too many indicators. This study analyzed the connection of student learning to Quality Rating and Improvement Systems, which have been created as a way to evaluate preschools and share those rankings with the public.

Supporting Success: Why and How to Improve Quality in After-School Programs. (2008). What is OST program quality, how is it measured, why does it matter, and how can it be ensured?

Turning Data into Information: The Vital Role of Research in Improving Education. (August 2016) In light of ESSA being signed into law, this brief describes how research uncovers the evidence that policymakers and practitioners need to provide the best education possible for all students. Data Quality Campaign.

Understanding Quality in Context. (2010).  This research report, by the Urban Institute, recommends that policy-makers focus on directors' leadership skills and belief systems in order to shape efforts that support quality.

Understanding the "How" of Quality Improvement. (2012). When it comes to improving the quality of afterschool programs, managers hold the key. That's one lesson from a new study about how par­ticipation in a continuous quality improvement initiative produced higher-quality practices in Rhode Island's afterschool programs. The study found that quality improvement begins with program managers, who then lead the process of change. Afterschool Matters.

The US Education Innovation Index: Prototype and Report. (September 2016) This analytical article describes USEII, which is a city-level composite indicator tailor-made for the education sector that measures innovation conditions and activities to help education and civic leaders encourage smart innovation. Bellwether Education Partners.

 

Using Action Research to Engage Youth in Improving OST Programming. (2015) To build a culture of participation, out-of-school time (OST) providers, educators, planners, and advocacy groups need to partner with youth, engaging them in projects that are meaningful to them, to the adults who support them, and to their communities. Afterschool Matters.

Using the Child Care and Development Fund to Support a System of Quality Improvement for School-Age Programs. (2009). This strategy brief provides ideas and considerations for state leaders looking to build a coordinated system of quality improvement for school-age programs.  Based on a review of the literature and interviews with state decision makers, this brief describes promising approaches for investing the Child Care and Development Fund and other resources in six system components.

A Year of Lessons from Expanded Learning Time. (2009). In this May 2009 essay published in New York Nonprofit Press, The After School Corporation (TASC) President Lucy N. Friedman describes how a pilot initiative to expand learning time by 30 percent in 10 New York City schools is showing the way toward a seamless learning day that increases academic time, but also brings rigor and structure to enrichments such as arts and hands-on science.

A Youth Development Approach to Evaluation. (2015) This article raises up critical participatory action research and youth participatory evaluation as possible answers to the challenge of producing "evidence-based" outcomes. Afterschool Matters.

The Youth Program Quality Intervention. (2010). The Youth Program Quality Intervention (YPQI) was found effective in a randomized trial study, and is the basis for numerous improvement projects across the country. This article describes the Assess-Plan-Improve sequence that programs have used to improve their quality.

Validity and Reliability of a Simple, Low-Cost Measure to Quantify Children’s Dietary Intake in Afterschool Settings.  (November 2014).  Afterschool providers often monitor and strive to improve snack and meal offerings. Authors explore and propose that a visual observation of food, with instruction, allows providers to accurately and consistently measure nutrition intake.   Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 

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Research and Evaluation Resources

Billy Beane and Outcomes: What Can Baseball Tell the Nonprofit World About Measures and Measurement? (2010). While the notion of outcomes seems to be here to stay (and the jargon of outcomes is certainly everywhere), what is oddly missing in our sector is much evidence of the practice of outcomes. In the August Philadelphia Social Interventions Journal, writers Ken Berger and Robert M. Penna explore outcomes and measurement issues.

Child Care: Research-Based Policy Recommendations for Executive and Legislative Officials in 2017. January 2017. Child Trends.

 

Engaging Parents, Developing Leaders: A Self-Assessment and Planning Tool for Nonprofits and Schools. (August 2016) This publication introduces an assessment and planning tool to help nonprofits evaluate their parent engagement efforts and chart a path toward deeper partnerships with parents and caregivers. The Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Evaluations Backgrounder: A Summary of Formal Evaluations of Afterschool Programs Impact on Academics, Behavior, Safety and Family Life. (2011). Afterschool programs have been operating for decades in communities across the country, and the federal investment in afterschool has increased dramatically since the mid-1990s. However, even more investment in the field of afterschool, which includes before school, afterschool and summer learning programs, is needed to keep up with the growing demand. Parents and voters overwhelmingly support afterschool and want to see more afterschool opportunities for children and increased afterschool funding for programs.

Evaluation of The Beacon Community Centers Middle School Initiative: Report on the First Year. (2009). This report from Policy Studies Associates examines the first-year implementation of the Beacon Community Centers Middle School Initiative, launched in September 2007 by the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD).

An Evaluation of the Chess Challenge Program of the After School Activities Partnership (ASAP). (2010). The present study is intended as a preliminary evaluation of the Chess Challenge Program which is the signature program of the ASAP/After School Activities Partnerships. The data indicate that the Chess Challenge Program improved the achievement and behavior of participants.

Evidence-Based Programs in Action: Policy and Practice Insights from a Success Story. (2010). This document evaluates the use and success of the “Partnership for Results” model of evidence-based programming.  It looks at the model and its impact on communities, student achievement, and at-risk behaviors.

Expanding Minds and Opportunities: Leveraging the Power of Afterschool and Summer Learning for Student Success. This compendium of studies, reports and commentaries by more than 100 thought leaders including community leaders, elected officials, educators, researchers and advocates offers examples of effective practices, programs and partnerships-that demonstrate how afterschool and summer programsare yielding positive outcomes for authentic student, community and family engagement in learning.

Facilitating the IRB Process: Limiting Risk to Research Participants and Obtaining Implied Consent. (2013). The first part of this post contains suggestions for designing research projects that are more likely to be exempt by minimizing risk to participants. The second part describes a method for obtaining consent in situations where there is minimal risk to participants - but not so little that consent can be avoided altogether.

Framing Program Evaluation: Why We Should Tinker With Theories of Change and Logic Models. (November 2015) This article posits that No matter how rudimentary or advanced your evaluation plans might be, developing or refining your theory of change and its corresponding logic model is essential. Harvard Family Research Project.

Game-Changers and the Assessment Predicament in Afterschool Science. (2013). This report explores "assessment predicament" by positing and exploring four educational game-changers that we believe make the afterschool science field a hotbed of innovation. These game-changers also inform and guide how the afterschool field thinks about and creates evidence that captures the rich, diverse, and unique opportunities and contexts of out-of-school science learning.

Getting Started with Market Research for Out-of-School Time Planning: A Resource Guide for Communities. This workbook outlines the market research process specifically for OST programs, including steps such as forming a task force, developing stakeholder relationships, and using and implementing the results into practice.

The Harvard Family Research Project Out-of-School Time Program. Visit the OST Bibliography to access descriptions, citations, and links to research studies and evaluations for over 500 OST programs, including new and updated entries.

The Impact Factor: Why We Can't Neglect Professional Learning Evaluation. (2013). Demonstrating the impact of professional learning has never been more important. But without indications that professional learning has an impact, why would school systems continue to invest in it? This article describes the impact factor of professional learning, and the role that evaluation plays.

Knowledge in Brief. (2010). is a quick primer on how out-of-school time efforts can collect and analyze data. This new article from the Wallace Foundation offers a short, reader-friendly look at the recent RAND report, Hours of Opportunity:

Learning for All: The Value of Field Experience in Training a New Generation of Program Evaluators. (December 2015) This article summarizes what student consultants did to strengthen evaluation practices for their partner organizations as well as what the organizations did to make the experience a productive one for everyone involved. Harvard Family Research Project.

Making the Case: A 2009 Fact Sheet on Children and Youth in Out-of-School Time Programs. (2009). This fact sheet from the National Institute on Out-of-School Time provides an overview of recent research in the OST field.

New Reports Examine Access to Out-Of-School Time Programs. (2011). Sustained participation in out-of-school time (OST) activities, research suggests, can improve a young person's academic achievement and success in life. Many municipal leaders also recognize that promoting participation in high-quality OST programs can advance other city priorities - including decreasing dropout rates, lowering juvenile crime rates and strengthening workforce development.

New Wallace Foundation Study on Benefits of Afterschool for Teens. (2011). After-School Programs for High School Students - An Evaluation of After School Matters is a rigorous evaluation comparing results of teens in Chicago's After School Matters apprentice-like program to results of similar students. The evaluation finds statistically significant benefits for After School Matters students on some measures of youth development and reduced problem behaviors, but no differences in job skills or school performance.

Non-Participation of Children and Adolescents in Out-of-School Time Programs: Child, Family, and Neighborhood Factors.(2009). This July 2009 brief from Child Trends examines the individual and background factors that influence non-participation in out-of-school time programs.

NYSAN Guide to Afterschool Professional Development in New York State. (2010). This guide from the NY state Afterschool Network offers detailed information about learning, development, and training opportunities for afterschool professionals. 

Online Resources for Identifying Evidence-Based, Out-of-School Time Programs: A User's Guide. (2009). This July 2009 guide from Child Trends is designed to help funders, administrators, and practitioners find evidence-based programs that may be appropriate for their target populations and communities.

Out-of-School Time Bibliography Update. (2009). Harvard Family Research Project has added 25 new entries and updated 5 others in their bibliography of out-of-school time (OST) program evaluations and research studies.

Performance Management and Evaluation: What's the Difference? (2011). The federal government's recent emphasis on evidence-based programs is likely to benefit those programs that use varied types of data to monitor and improve their performance. This new Child Trends brief provides information on performance management and describes its relationship to evaluation.

Researcher and Practitioner Dialogue: Advancing Program Quality and Research. (Spring 2016) This third issue of JELO features research articles on program quality, STEM learning, social emotional development, and more. Journal of Expanded Learning Opportunities.

Research Opportunities Concerning the Causes and Consequences of Child Food Insecurity and Hunger. (2014). This thorough report covers various topics including: defining and measuring food security; determinants of hunger; contextual factors linked to food insecurity; and community responses.

Research-Based Practices in Afterschool Programs for High School Youth. (2015). Researchers gathered data on 19 21st CCLC afterschool programs which served high school aged youth.  Observed measures included program activities, recruitment and retention, and student voice.  Providers most frequently relied on research-based practices for program activities.   Afterschool Matters. 

 

Study: Prettier Charts Can Be Harder for Students to Read. (2013). Graphics are often intended to engage children in learning otherwise dry material, such as data on a chart. Yet new research from Ohio State University suggests that increasing charts' artistic appeal can actually interfere with students' ability to comprehend the information they represent.

Teacher Effectiveness: An Update on Pennsylvania's Teacher Evaluation System. (2013). Although teacher evaluations in Pennsylvania's public schools were previously based solely on observations by administrators, several new components are being developed under Act 82. This issue brief discusses some of the difficulties and challenges, as well as what lessons to learn moving forward.

Teacher Professional Development Evaluation Guide. (2010). This evaluation guide from the national Staff Development Council urges evaluation planners to use the guide to inform evaluation design and to make choices among design options and data collection strategies that will add rigor while, at the same time, recognizing limits in capacity and resources.

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