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Defining and Measuring Quality in Youth Programs and Classrooms: New Directions for Youth Development, Number 121

Nicole Yohalem (Editor), Robert C. Granger (Editor), Karen J. Pittman (Editor)
ISBN: 978-0-470-48751-8
152 pages
May 2009, Jossey-Bass
Defining and Measuring Quality in Youth Programs and Classrooms: New Directions for Youth Development, Number 121 (0470487518) cover image
Improving youth development and well-being requires improving the everyday settings where development occurs. In this volume, scholars who study three different settings -- classrooms, youth prohrams, and mentoring dyads -- reflect on what constitutes quality in their setting and how to think about measuring it. The authors focus specifically on quality "at the point of service," meaning the specific practices, processes, and interactions that occur among adults and youth in the setting. Topics include:
  1. Using instructional logs to identify quality in educational settings
  2. Classroom processes and positive youth development
  3. Assessing the quality of youth mentoring relationships
  4. Creating quality within the daily tumble of events in youth settings
  5. Assessing after-school settings
  6. Quality and accountability in the out-of-school-time
  7. Recent developments and future directions for the out-of-school-time field

The articles also offer practical advice about effective and manageable ways that practitioners can incorporate assessment into their work in order to improve quality. Together these articles represent a wealth of knowledge about what is important to measure in youth-serving settings and the pros and cons of different approaches to measurement. This information can help practitioners and policymakers grapple with how to use scarce evaluation resources wisely, establish productive accountability systems, and link data and program improvement strategies in ways that make services more effective.

This is the 121st volume of New Directions for Youth Development, the Jossey-Bass quarterly report series dedicated to bringing together everyone concerned with helping young people, including scholars, practitioners, and people from different disciplines and professions. The result is a unique resource presenting thoughtful, multi-faceted approaches to helping our youth develop into responsible, stable, well-rounded citizens.

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Issue Editors' Notes 1
Nicole Yohalem, Robert C. Granger, Karen J. Pittman

Executive Summary 5

1. Using instructional logs to identify quality in educational settings 13
Brian Rowan, Robin Jacob, Richard Correnti
This chapter focuses on specific classroom processes and practices that influence student achievement and explores two common approaches to studying them: direct classroom observation and annual surveys of teachers.

2. Classroom processes and positive youth development: Conceptualizing, measuring, and improving the capacity of interactions between teachers and students 33
Robert C. Pianta, Bridget K. Hamre
The Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) framework and observation tool, a theoretically driven and empirically supported system for conceptualizing, organizing, and measuring classroom interactions, is used as a basis to discuss improving teacher-student interactions.

3. Capturing the magic: Assessing the quality of youth mentoring relationships 47
Nancy L. Deutsch, Renée Spencer
This article discusses what it means, for research and practice, to consider mentoring relationships as settings embedded within the larger settings of mentoring programs.

4. Practitioner expertise: Creating quality within the daily tumble of events in youth settings 71
Reed W. Larson, Aimee N. Rickman, Colleen M. Gibbons, Kathrin C. Walker
This article argues that practitioner expertise—how youth workers respond to and shape the myriad events, situations, and episodes they face on a daily basis—is critical to understanding and measuring setting quality.

5. Assessing after-school settings 89
Jean Baldwin Grossman, Julie Goldsmith, Jessica Sheldon, Amy J. A. Arbreton
This article explores three features of after-school quality—youth engagement, well-conceived and delivered content, and a conducive learning environment—and opportunities and limitations associated with different approaches to measuring them.

6. Quality and accountability in the out-of-school-time sector 109
Charles Smith, Thomas J. Devaney, Tom Akiva, Samantha A. Sugar
This article defines point-of-service quality in out-of-school time, describes an observational assessment tool and associated supports designed to assess and improve practice, and explores how quality metrics can be used to drive innovative approaches to accountability.

7. The quest for quality: Recent developments and future directions for the out-of-school-time field 129
Nicole Yohalem, Robert C. Granger, Karen J. Pittman
Quality has become a priority for the out-of-school-time field. This article features several promising opportunities for progress that are emerging across research, policy, and practice.

Index 141

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