Publications & Resources

Identification of Key Indicators of Quality in Afterschool Programs

Dec 2008

Denise Huang, Deborah La Torre, Aletha Harven, Lindsay Perez Huber, Lu Jiang, Seth Leon and Christine Oh

Researchers and policymakers are increasingly interested in the issue of school accountability. Despite this, program standards for afterschool programs are not as fully developed as they are in other fields. This study bridges that gap and presents the results from a study that identifies benchmarks and indicators for high quality afterschool programs. This research employed a multi-method approach, including a synthesis of literature on afterschool programs, observations, and a survey data collection of 15 high quality afterschool program sites. Results of the study suggest that most of the issues emphasized in the afterschool literature can be considered core components of a quality afterschool program. This finding was consistent across the three broad categories of program organization, program environment, and instructional features. This study also revealed that some issues emphasized in the afterschool literature should be considered extra components that can increase quality, but that are not necessary. As a result, this study argues for a checklist strategy in assessing programs in order to meet quality-based standards. With further testing, refinement, and validation from larger study samples, this checklist tool can help evaluate afterschool programs in order to not only obtain basic core standards, but also to assist in identifying and tackling weak and problematic areas.

Huang, D., La Torre, D., Harven, A., Perez Huber, L., Jiang, L., Leon, S., & Oh, C. (2008). Identification of key indicators of quality in afterschool programs (CRESST Report 748). Los Angeles: University of California, Los Angeles, National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST).