The mission of the David Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality is to position point of service quality as a powerful public idea that drives the out-of-school time field toward higher levels of understanding, expectation, and action about the quality of experiences available to children and youth.
The Weikart Center’s research and development team executes large-scale field trials, provides custom Quality Improvement System evaluation services, and leverages research findings to create products and services that (a) advance knowledge about youth settings and outcomes; (b) help out-of-school time organizations improve management practices, workforce skills and youth outcomes; and (c) influence national, state, and local youth policies.
The Youth Program Quality Intervention (YPQI) study
The Weikart Center is currently completing a report of technical findings from its YPQI study, a multi-state research project funded by the W.T. Grant Foundation designed to raise the consistency of quality in youth-serving programs. The study, a randomized control trial sited in 100 programs in five states, examines the effects of a targeted intervention focused on managers and direct staff in out-of-school time (OST) organizations serving adolescents.
Our findings indicate that the YPQI has a significant, positive impact on the management practices of site supervisors and direct staff, defined as their 1) participation in program observation and self assessment, 2) participation in program planning; and 3) attendance at trainings focused on youth worker methods. The findings also show that the intervention has a significant, positive impact on the quality of instructional performances of staff, as they interact with youth in afterschool program offerings.
The High Scope Youth Program Quality Intervention (YPQI) is a three-year study designed to explore how setting quality can be improved in youth programs. The study is sited in 100 out-of-school time settings across five networks of providers in four states (with random assignment within each network). Elements of YPQI include: (1) quality assessment systems based on the High/Scope Youth Program Quality Assessment; (2) the High/Scope Youth Work Methods training modules; and (3) a set of organizational policies that bring youth and staff into quality-related decision-making processes. This study represents the first opportunity to test the elements of YPQI as part of a single comprehensive intervention that integrates system-level needs for quality accountability and opportunities for staff to be intentional about quality improvement. YPQI targets quality improvement within the professional learning community (Year 1) and at the point of service (Year 2), with an emphasis on sustainability (Year 3).
Our research team provides several routine and custom services for clients, including:
- Standards development
- Customized assessment tool formation
- Data planning and collection
- Network program quality reports
- Process surveys
- Other services
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