A Program Assessment System (APAS)
APAS is a comprehensive evaluation system aimed at improving program quality and youth outcomes in afterschool programs. It is targeted towards programs serving the K-8 population that youth attend regularly, are well-established, and offer a range of enriching experiences. APAS includes two measurement tools—the Survey of Academic and Youth Outcomes (SAYO), and the Assessing Program Practices Tool (APT). These tools can be used together or separately depending on the specific needs of the program.
The SAYO measures outcomes in nine areas that research suggests are linked to long-term positive development, as well as academic and life success. The SAYO uses brief pre- and post-participation surveys to collect data from day school teachers and afterschool staff regarding youth participation and experiences in afterschool programs. Through a “menu” approach, programs collect data only on outcomes that are aligned with their goals and practices. The APT is designed to complement SAYO by helping programs evaluate and strengthen quality practices that research suggests are linked with SAYO outcomes. The observation tool component guides observations of program practices in order to provide a “snap shot” of what programs look like in action. The questionnaire component helps programs reflect upon the aspects of quality that are not easily observed (parent/school connections, planning and programming, etc.) The APT aims to stimulate discussion about areas of strength and areas in need of improvement in a specific program. Together, these user-friendly and affordable tools are designed to help afterschool programs improve program quality and focus on appropriate and realistic outcomes for youth. These tools were developed to help address the accountability challenge that faces afterschool programs.
With primary funding by the AT&T Family Care Development Fund, NIOST piloted their afterschool program assessment system in Atlanta, Georgia, and New Jersey. With additional funding from United Way Massachusetts Bay, and Partners in Out-of-School Time, NIOST was also able to include Boston, MA and Charlotte, NC sites. The pilot succeeded in its objectives of completing the training modules, integrating the tools into a database (KidTrax by nFocus Software), and writing an online tutorial for parts of the system.
Click here to access the APAS Brochure online.
Click here for APAS training information.
Click here to read our first brief on the results of the APAS Pilot by Sasha Stavsky and Julie Dennehy. It reflects on the benefits of coaching.