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ERIC Number: EJ1068480
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
How Is the Afterschool Field Defining Program Quality? A Review of Effective Program Practices and Definitions of Program Quality
Palmer, Kristi L.; Anderson, Stephen A.; Sabatelli, Ronald M.
Afterschool Matters, n9 p1-12 Fall 2009
While research on program effectiveness offers ample evidence that afterschool programs can benefit young people in a variety of ways, this same body of research demonstrates that not all programs are equally effective (Granger, 2008). Some programs show positive results in many or all major outcome categories. Other programs are associated with positive results for some but not all outcomes; still others show no positive outcomes at all. This variability in effectiveness highlights the need for a better understanding of "how" successful afterschool programs actually work, while keeping in mind the ever-present question of how to define success. This review article examines formulations of afterschool program quality emerging from outcome research, expert and professional consensus, and "process" research on how successful afterschool programs operate. After briefly summarizing current literature on the effectiveness of afterschool programs, the authors review empirical evidence regarding the characteristics of effective programs, that is, what effective afterschool programs do to produce positive outcomes. Next, they provide an overview of how program quality has been conceptualized by afterschool researchers. We conclude by discussing the field's emerging consensus regarding quality afterschool programming, highlighting key considerations as the afterschool field undertakes efforts to achieve both program quality and positive outcomes for youth.
Descriptors: After School Programs, Program Effectiveness, Educational Quality, Youth Programs, Literature Reviews, Program Evaluation, Research Methodology, Program Content, Teacher Characteristics, Community Involvement, Adolescent Development, Academic Achievement, Quality Control, Program Improvement, Student Participation, Program Development
National Institute on Out-of-School Time. Wellesley Centers for Women, 106 Central Street, Wellesley, MA 02481. Tel: 781-283-2547; Fax: 781-283-3657; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site: http://www.niost.org
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative; Information Analyses
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