ERIC Number: ED491881
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2004-Jan-26
Using Evaluation Methods to Promote Continuous Improvement and Accountability in After-School Programs: A Guide
Reisner, Elizabeth R.
Policy Studies Associates, Inc.
As demand for after-school services has grown, the public has responded with support for growth in federal, state, and local funding for these services. As in other successful grassroots movements, this high level of support is evident across groups with diverse objectives. Some after-school advocates are mainly interested in increasing the supply of safe, dependable after-school environments for the children of working parents. Others care most about using after-school programming to give children and youth positive developmental experiences that extend beyond academic learning. A third group is most concerned about expanding the learning opportunities available to low-achieving students and, in some instances, in using the after-school hours for remediation that will improve students' measured levels of achievement. Although these diverse interests have joined forces around their common objective of increasing and improving after-school opportunities, they tend to hold different expectations for programming and for the results that after-school programs might achieve. The experiences of successful after-school initiatives prove that multiple interests can be successfully accommodated, however, and despite their diversity, can enrich program development and implementation. Even so, a multiplicity of stakeholder voices can present challenges to after-school program operators. One challenge arises in the evaluation of these programs. This paper describes a series of steps for designing and conducting such evaluations, based on the author's experience in evaluating after-school programs and other education and youth-development initiatives. The paper provides examples of these steps from a current evaluation of a large local after-school program, that of The After-School Corporation (TASC) in New York.
Descriptors: Evaluation Methods, After School Programs, Accountability, Program Effectiveness, High Risk Students, Program Evaluation, Youth Programs, Child Development, Adolescent Development, Data Collection, Data Analysis, Program Improvement
Policy Studies Associates, Inc. 1718 Connecticut Ave., NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20009. Tel: 202-939-9780; Fax: 202-939-5732; Web site: http://www.policystudies.com.
Publication Type: Guides - General; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Policy Studies Associates, Inc., Washington, DC.