Measuring and implementing high-quality practices in out-of-school programming is challenging. Smith and his team have previously received support from the William T. Grant Foundation to develop and hone the Youth Program Quality Assessment and the Youth Program Quality Intervention. These validated and reliable tools allow youth programs to measure and ultimately improve program quality, but lack a component that specifically assesses academic supports. The newly requested funds will allow the team to complete the final phase of their work by expanding and field testing the Academic Skill-Building Program Quality Assessment Supplement. This new observational module is intended to allow out-of-school time programs to focus specifically on the quality of academic instruction to improve math and reading outcomes. In developing the tool, the team will identify effective instructional practices; determine how these practices can be observed; and take steps to maximize the validity and reliability of the tool. Partnering with the St. Paul Public Schools Foundation, the team will field test the tool in 30 programs and incorporate the feedback and results into the supplement. The final product will allow programs to measure and improve academic interventions intended to close achievement gaps among low-income students and students of color.
How can out-of-school time programs more reliably measure and improve the quality of their academic interventions?