Policymakers and practitioners who believe that research evidence should inform policy and practice face several challenges. These include debates about the standards of evidence for allocating resources to programs, weak information on how to produce change at scale, and concerns that a few, well-evaluated programs will drive out others that deserve support.
During the past eight years, the after-school field has made real progress, particularly in understanding what “high-quality practice” means and how to measure it. And we at the Foundation have learned a great deal about how to do our work from our efforts in this area. This essay describes what we learned and the implications for the future. Woven throughout is an overview
of how the after-school field has evolved and the issues that remain.