If you are like me, you are often asked to rate your level of satisfaction with quality -- at the doctor's office, at restaurants, at the service station, while shopping online. This practice takes extra time and resources both on the part of the provider AND on the part of the participant.
So why do so many businesses and organizations want to know our opinions about their service, product or program?
The answer is deceptively simple. High satisfaction is a key sign that program participants will continue their participation in the program.
As youth development professionals, we understand that program retention increases the chances that young people will reap the benefits - also known as program outcomes - from a high-quality program.
So, a comprehensive monitoring and evaluation approach for a youth development program has, at its foundation, a system for measuring participant satisfaction. In the case of youth programs, Caller, Betts, Carter & Marczak outlined three groups who are important to involve in determining satisfaction with programs - the youth participants themselves, their parents, and the program stakeholders in the community.
We know that parents play a big role in paving the way and making it possible for young people to participate in 4-H. For the past four years, Minnesota 4-H has asked parents and older youth to complete a satisfaction survey after their first year of involvement in 4-H.
What satisfaction or quality-related ratings does your team most need to understand, manage, and improve the programs that you lead?
-- Pamela Larson Nippolt, evaluation and research specialist
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