Continuous Quality Improvement in Afterschool Settings: Impact findings from the Youth Program Quality Intervention Study

Executive Summary 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.

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Download Implications for Policy and Practice, a four page brief  summarizing the findings of the YPQI Study and discussing implications for policymakers and practitioners.

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Additional Documents

  • Staff Instructional Practices, Youth Engagement, and Belonging in Out-of-school Time Programs. (2011) By Tom Akiva, Samantha Sugar, Charles Smith, and Quentin Brummet.  This study uses the YPQI data and several other samples to investigate relationships between staff practices and youth involvement experiences. Composite YPQA scores are consistently positively associated with youth engagement and belonging. 

  • Managing for Positive Youth Development: Linking Management Practices to Instructional Performances in Out-of-school Time Organizations. (2009) By Charles Smith, Lee M. Pearson, Stephen C. Peck, Anne-Sophie Denault, and Samantha Sugar. This study uses pattern-centered techniques to examine relationships between continuous improvement practices of managers and instructional practices at the point of service.

  • Reliability of Quality Assessments of Afterschool Programs: Evidence from the Youth Program Quality Assessment (PQA) Field Trial. By Kai S. Cortina and Charles Smith. The Youth PQA Field Trial was conducted in parallel to the YPQI Study, and used a partially crossed data collection design (G-study) in order to estimate effects associated with raters and consistency over time. Findings suggest that increasing the number of observations increases reliability moreso than increasing the number of raters.

  • Quality at the point of service: Profiles of practice in after-school settings. (2010) By Charles Smith, Stephen C. Peck, Anne-Sophie Denault, Juliane Blazevski, and Tom Akiva. In American Journal of Community Psychology. This study used pattern-centered techniques to identify profiles of program practice. The study employed a large dataset of observational ratings with the Youth Program Quality Assessment.

  • Involving youth in running youth programs: How common and what does it do for youth? (2012) By Tom Akiva. Paper accepted for the biennial meeting of the Society for Research on Adolescence, Vancouver, BC. This study investigates the practice of involving youth in organizational leadership, finding multilevel correlations with several youth outcomes: regard for program, empathy, and communication skills; with age as a moderator.