New Assessment Tool Provides Fresh Perspective on Afterschool Program Quality

Oct 18, 2010, 09:14 ET from nFocus Software

AUSTIN, Texas, Oct. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- The National Institute on Out-of-School Time (NIOST) at Wellesley Centers for Women at Wellesley College recently made available an innovative, evidence-based youth survey tool that breaks new ground in the assessment of the effectiveness of afterschool programs. The Survey of Afterschool Youth Outcomes (SAYO-Y) provides a vital but often unsought perspective on the quality of these programs – from the youth participants themselves.



The addition of SAYO-Y to the Afterschool Program Assessment System (APAS) gives youth members in grades 4 through 12 the opportunity to provide afterschool program staff and administrators with crucial feedback while maintaining their anonymity. The SAYO-Y allows the youth to evaluate their experiences within the afterschool program, their sense of competence, and their plans and expectations for the future. These surveys, taken near the start of a program and again at the end, help programs target areas in need of improvement, better meet the needs of youth, and track progress with quality and youth outcomes over time.

In 2007, NIOST approached nFocus Software, the leading provider of performance management, training and outcome measurement software, about a partnership. Their joint effort resulted in a data management solution that integrated with NIOST's existing APAS tools, providing afterschool programs with an automated means for capturing and presenting data. This system integration has made it much simpler for afterschool programs to manage and quickly locate information within their databases making processes like grant writing and creating funder reports streamlined and easily generated.

"We've had great feedback from APAS users that are also using TraxSolutions. They really enjoy the benefit of a paperless, integrated system," said Ellen Gannett, Director of NIOST. "We're looking forward to continuing our partnership and collaboration with nFocus Software."

With SAYO-Y, the APAS tools come full circle. APT, SAYO-S and SAYO-T, which survey staff and teachers respectively, have been utilized by afterschool programs in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Georgia, Pennsylvania and North Carolina and by many individual service providers with successful results. The addition of SAYO-Y to this assessment system gives youth a voice and a forum in which to be heard.

About nFocus Software

nFocus Software is the leading provider of performance management, training and outcome measurement software to the public sector. For more than 16 years, nFocus Software has successfully implemented solutions for customers of all sizes. The company's youth and education solutions track and measure outcomes for more than 3.8 million children in all 50 states and Canada. nFocus Software's customers include non-profit organizations, Fortune 500 companies, and city, state and the federal government. nFocus Software's solutions capably serve organizations ranging from local sites with fewer than 100 individuals, to state-wide deployments serving thousands of individuals, to the United States Army where their solutions are used to track the training and mission readiness of all 1.4 million soldiers.

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SOURCE nFocus Software