Frequently Asked Questions about the APT

What is APT?
APT is a research-based tool to measure the quality of your program, identifying your areas of strength, and pinpointing areas for improvement. APT will give you a clear picture of your program by collecting data on practices that are linked to key youth outcomes: learning and skill building, program organization and structure, and supportive social environment. Tools are not intended for individual youth assessment, nor as a diagnostic tool or staff assessment tool.

How does it work?
APT relies on two data-collection methods -- the observation tool and the program questionnaire. The observation tool focuses on observable program practices while the program questionnaire, which is completed by you and your staff, examines “behind the scenes” aspects of program quality, like planning and school/parent connections. These two methods combined allow APT to look at the overall afterschool program, including homework time and activities.

APT is designed to be used either on its own or with either the SAYO-S&T or SAYO-Y tool, all three of which make up the APAS System.

Who should use APT?
APT has been used by evaluators, afterschool directors, supervisors, curriculum and education coordinators, and 21st Century Community Learning Center personnel. These tools work best for programs who offer a variety of experiences for youth such as enrichment and leadership activities in addition to academic support.

Is APT right for my program?
APT works best for well-established programs -- those that have been operating for one year or longer. APT is a great place to start if your program is new to assessment. For programs that have more advanced experience with assessment and/or data collection, we recommend the entire APAS System, of which APT is one of three included tools.

How much does APT cost?
The APT tool is free and provided upon completion of an in-person or online training program. Pricing for in-person training is determined on a case-by-case basis depending on your needs. Online training subscriptions for APT are available for $200 per program site for one year, renewable at a reduced cost. Following successful completion of either in-person or online training, you can continue to use the tools at no cost as long as someone working at your site is trained in proper use.

What do you mean by “program site”?
Pricing for APT is determined by the number of program sites. A program site is defined as a physical address where programming for youth occurs. For example, if your organization offers three programs at two different physical locations, you have two program sites. Those with six or more program sites may be eligible for a group discount.

How many staff members can be trained to use APT?
Training provides instruction on the proper use of the tools and customization. If you opt for an in-person training, we will work with you to determine how many staff members should be trained. If you purchase a 1-year online training subscription for your program site, you can train as many staff members who work at that site as you want.

Is APT research-based?
Yes. APT is part of the APAS System, which has been extensively piloted and scientifically tested beginning with the statewide Massachusetts Afterschool Research Study in 2004. Reliability and validity testing has continued with funding from the WT Grant Foundation and the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Who collects and analyzes the data?
Data collection and analysis for APT can be done by the program site director or administrator, a designated team, or an internal or external evaluator.


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    – Betsy O. Saatman, TA Specialist/SAC Initiatives, Pennsylvania Key

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The National Institute on Out-of-School Time

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