APT: Assessment of Program Practices Tool

APT is one of three research-based measurement tools that make up the APAS System, a field-tested, user-friendly suite of evaluation tools built with OST in mind.

Use APT to measure the quality of your program, identify the areas where you are succeeding, and pinpoint areas to improve. 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
  • Supportive Social Environment

How it works:

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. For an overview of how APT fits into the APAS System, watch our Intro to APAS video.

APT Training

The entire APAS System, including APT is free to use at your program site after you complete the required pre-requisite training program for each tool. For a small fee, we will train you and your staff, either in-person or online, to record detailed data using the APAS System and to use that data to create an action plan. Together, we will help you build an OST program that works.

If you are interested in APT for your program site, you can receive training for the entire APAS System, or training only for APT. Training options for APT include:

  • One-day onsite training
  • Online training subscription - includes unlimited access to online training portal for 1 year
  • Onsite training as part of the 2-day APAS training

Whichever option you choose, APT training will show you:

  • How APT is used for continual program improvement and how it fits into the APAS System
  • How to use APT and its results to improve your program
  • How to tailor APT to fit your program needs
  • How to use the APT observational tool

Who is it for?

  • APT on its own or within the APAS System has been used by evaluators, afterschool directors, supervisors, curriculum and education coordinators, and 21st Century Community Learning Center personnel


The APAS System tools (APT, SAYO-S&T, SAYO-Y) are free to use at a program site after completion of required training. A program site is defined as a physical address where programming for youth occurs.

Join OST professionals around the country who are using the APAS System.



    "NIOST has been an anchor for numerous school age care projects we do, including ASQ (After-School Quality) and Links to Learning. They are a nationally respected organization that Pennsylvania has partnered with for over 20 years."

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

    "NIOST was a core partner in supporting the development of quality improvement systems across the nine cities that participated in The Wallace Foundation Next Generation Afterschool System-Building Initiative. The NIOST team worked well with other technical assistance partners in the initiative, always willing to pitch in and collaborate with others to make our professional learning community meetings a team effort. I truly hope the Foundation has an opportunity to partner with them in the future."

    – Priscilla M. Little, Initiative Manager, The Wallace Foundation


    "NIOST has been a leader in the out-of-school time field for as long as I can remember, and I have relied on their research, tools, and advice to improve my practice throughout my career. Their staff members are good partners and good listeners, and their influence across the country is palpable."

    – Jane Quinn, Vice President and Director of National Center for Community Schools, Children's Aid Society

    "Georgia Hall, Ellen Gannett, and the NIOST team have been instrumental in driving the healthy afterschool movement. Their dedication to quality practice, informed policy, and collective impact is instrumental in our effort to create healthier communities."

    – Daniel W. Hatcher, Director, Community Partnerships, Alliance for a Healthier Generation

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The National Institute on Out-of-School Time

A program of the Wellesley Centers for Women at Wellesley College

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Wellesley, MA 02481-8203 USA

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