Report: YouthQuest Exceeds State Averages in Academic Content, More

For the second year in a row, YouthQuest has exceeded state averages in seven quality indicators for afterschool programs, according to an evaluation by the David P. Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality.

The report – which will be released in full by March – found that YouthQuest exceeded statewide benchmarks for the following quality measures:

  • Academic Content
  • Enrichment Content
  • Family Communication
  • Site Management
  • Professional Development
  • Continuous Improvement
  • Grantee Management

Multiple factors are considered for each of these indicators. Take academic content, for instance. YouthQuest ranked above the state average after ranking especially high for measures like the following:

  • 94 percent of surveyed YouthQuest site personnel report they intentionally tie their content and activities to specific learning goals. The statewide average is 85 percent.
  • 91 percent of surveyed YouthQuest site personnel report they are designing lesson plans that address specific areas of child development, including cognitive and emotional growth. The statewide average is 68 percent.
  • 92 percent of surveyed YouthQuest site personnel report they base their program content on student input. The statewide average is 75 percent.

The report also found that YouthQuest sites performed well in engaging students, said Anna Gersh, Research Specialist at the Weikart Center.

For instance, 97 percent of surveyed YouthQuest site personnel report they arrange for students to help or mentor other youth, and 88 percent provide opportunities for students to present in front of large groups. In comparison, the statewide averages for these measures are 89 and 69 percent, respectively.

“This sort of engagement is a very important aspect of the program,” Gersh said. “This is not only building leadership, but it creates a sense of belonging. It shows students that their contributions are important and valued by the group.”

Perhaps not surprisingly, the same report found that 72 percent of surveyed students said they attended YouthQuest because they chose to, rather than because they were told to attend.

A more detailed report on the evaluation is expected to be released this spring.