The Research & Evaluation team collaborates with every department at After School Matters to improve the accessibility, availability, and acceptability of programs in order to better serve teens. The data we collect and report fuels continuous quality improvement, enables data-driven and cost-effective decision-making, and supports advocacy for teens and youth development. We also participate in convenings of groups of youth development organizations across the city and country to share our knowledge and learn from others.
Our general research interests include:
Currently, the Research & Evaluation team is studying Latinx and male recruitment, assessment strategies for diverse learners, innovative program models, and retrospective pre/post survey methodology.
We evaluate our programs and impact on teens using various methods and sources of data. Our research activities are structured to follow the cyclical nature of our program sessions, while also allowing us to be responsive to research questions and needs that emerge from our teens, instructors, funders, and staff.
After School Matters uses a data management software, Cityspan, to document day-to-day program operations and track more than 17,000 unique participants. We regularly analyze and report administrative data related to program quality and compliance to inform organizational decision-making.
We collect teen and instructor perspectives through surveys, focus groups, interviews, and program observations. Teens and Instructors are encouraged to complete surveys at the end of each program session. Regular survey topics include program experience, instructor preparation, instructor support, teen interactions, sense of safety, program satisfaction, and 21st century skill acquisition. The Research & Evaluation team also regularly collects interview and focus group data based on emerging questions or research interests.
To evaluate the quality of our programs and identify professional development priorities, After School Matters uses the research-validated Youth Program Quality Assessment (YPQA), an evidence-based program observation tool that focuses on four key areas of positive youth development (safe environment, supportive environment, interaction, and engagement).
Consistent with After School Matters youth development model, our research and evaluation activities aim to be teen-focused, strengths-based, and culturally-responsive.
After School Matters regularly partners with teens, instructors, and other organizations to achieve our research and evaluation goals.
External Research Requests. After School Matters has a formal application and approval process for all external research requests. Before you complete the process, please note that After School Matters interacts with many research and evaluation partners, and we are unable to accommodate many requests. Primary factors in the decision to approve or reject a project include the volume of current research projects at After School Matters, the timeline of the project, and whether the project directly aligns with the organization’s mission and current research interests.
After School Matters is unable to accommodate any research requests from undergraduate students or graduate student requests that are not associated with an Institutional Review Board.
If you believe you meet the criteria above and would like to propose a research or evaluation project with After School Matters, please complete the external research request form.
Given the high number of requests After School Matters receives, please allow one month for the review process. A member of the Research & Evaluation team will follow up with you after the team has reviewed your request to discuss next steps.
In FY 2017 alone, we received over 23,000 responses to teen surveys and received feedback from 373 teens through focus groups, interviews, and feedback sessions. So, what are we learning about teens? Explore the resource below to find out!