The National YPQI study released this month finds that using a professional development approach of assessment, planning and coaching significantly increases youth program quality. This comes at a time when the afterschool field has made quality a top priority and are challenged with how to give staff and programs the support they need in a way that is cost efficient and scalable.
The research intervention was tested in Minnesota and included a parallel study cohort with the Youth Work Institute's Quality Matters project. The positive research findings highlight the importance of the Extension's model of bringing research, teaching and public value together to create highly effective and valued learning support on one of the most critical issues in youth development today. The issue matters to every young person because program quality is necessary in order to gain a positive effect on their learning and development. This and other research work is a part of the full range of support provided through Extension's Youth Work Institute which has been a state leader in aligning the support needed to improve program quality.
Our thanks go out to many Minnesota programs, funders and other stakeholders that were a critical part of the study completion and should be congratulated for making this national study possible. Study findings are now available in a variety of formats at: National study findings. Both a full report and executive summary are available for download.
Key Study Findings Include:
* Using the YPQI intervention increases quality
* Staff retention increased at programs using the intervention
* The intervention works across a variety of settings present in youth work
* The intervention is a cost effective, lower stakes model for improving quality
The new evidence also highlights the importance of supporting youth program staff through on-going professional development cycles. It elevates to the general public the complexity and importance that staff play inside youth programs and makes the case for investments in their learning. For additional information, including other research work on partnering with youth to assess and improve program quality, go to the Extension web page at: http://www1.extension.umn.edu/youth/docs/Minnesota-4-H-Quality-Improvement-Study.pdf
If you would like to learn more about what the Youth Work Institute is doing to improve quality, you can also contact Deborah Moore, firstname.lastname@example.org.