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Using Data to Strengthen Out-of-School Time Programs

Evaluation can play a valuable role in out-of-school time programs – enhancing quality, engaging staff, and benefiting kids. But it can be hard to know where to begin, and even seemingly advanced evaluation efforts can struggle to support meaningful learning and quality improvement.

A new book, Measure, Use, Improve! Data Use in Out-of-School Time, offers guidance. The volume shares the experience and wisdom of a broad cross-section of out-of-school time professionals, ranging from internal evaluators to funders, researchers, and policy advocates. Chapters touch on a variety of topics, including how to grow support for learning and evaluation within out-of-school time programs, create and sustain continuous quality improvement efforts, authentically engage young people in evaluation, and secure funder support for learning and evaluation.

Measure, Use, Improve! makes the case for investing in building systems of evaluation and continuous quality improvement to deepen the impact of out-of-school time programs. The book’s authors share conceptual frameworks that have helped inform their thinking, walk through practical examples of how data in out-of-school time has strengthened their organizations, and offer advice to colleagues.

S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation staff – Rebecca Goldberg, Ashleigh Halverstadt, and Alex Hooker – contributed a chapter to the book, weaving their own reflections with those of more than a dozen other education funders. The chapter challenges some common assumptions about funder evaluation priorities (hint: it’s not all about fancy study designs!), shares case studies illustrating the Foundation’s approach to evaluation capacity building through its National Character Initiative, and offers tips for organizations that are embarking on data journeys with limited capacity.

The Foundation is humbled to have staff perspectives included in the volume and hopeful that it will support funders, nonprofits, and evaluators in their efforts to advance high-quality, equitable programming for all young people.

Learn more about the contents of the book and how to order a copy.