on indicators of developmental quality because of their essential and unique importance for youth development programs.

Although many community programs for youth recognize the value of data on developmental quality, most lack the staffing, knowledge, and other capacity to measure it. Even if programs had wanted to do so, until recently they would have searched in vain for good measurement tools applicable to youth development programs. The development of such tools has been a major challenge to the field. As a more common understanding of how community programs for youth need to be structured to promote positive development has emerged, there have been notable advances in meeting this challenge.

The work of Public/Private Ventures (P/PV), in conjunction with other partners in the youth development community, exemplifies recent progress in developing indicators of developmental quality for any youth activity, regardless of its specific goals. Building on Gambone and Arbreton (1997), P/PV has developed a sophisticated set of forms and scales to assess seven dimensions of developmental quality, each with subcategories. They are adult-youth relations, peer support, quality of staff presentation, behavior management, opportunities for decision making and leadership, youth engagement in the activity, and the quality of the space or location. These seven dimensions encompass the eight factors that facilitate youth development identified in this report.

Observers use the instrument first to record information on an activity, focusing on observations of positive and negative behaviors for each subcategory. They then use the observations to evaluate each dimension of the activity’s quality. The instrument seeks both quantitative and qualitative observations and judgments. After using it to record three independent observations and assessments of the activity, observers prepare an overall assessment and recommendations for improvement. To foster uniform implementation of the evaluation instrument, observers receive a manual that provides detailed instructions on how to observe and assess activities and fill out the forms. The instrument does not produce a summary measure of an activity’s overall developmental quality. Rather, it yields a rich picture of the degree of success a program is achieving along multiple dimensions that contribute to developmental quality.

Independent observers have used the instrument to evaluate activities in the San Francisco Beacons Program and will use it to evaluate Extended Service Schools, supported by the DeWitt Wallace Reader’s Digest Fund. In the future, executive directors and other supervisors



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