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 their 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 the 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 data collection or data sharing. Before you complete our process, please note that we interact with many research and evaluation partners, and we are unable to accommodate many requests. Primary factors in our 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 aligns with our mission or current research needs.
Please note we are not currently accepting undergraduate research requests.
If you would like to propose a research or evaluation project with After School Matters, please complete our external research request form.
We review external research requests on a rolling basis.
Please note, these requirements are subject to change without notice at the discretion of After School Matters.
Each year we receive thousands of responses from our teen surveys as well as feedback from teen focus groups, interviews, and feedback sessions. So what are we learning about teens? Explore the resources below to find out!
Importance of Belonging for Youth Hope and Wellbeing
Adjusting to a New Normal: Lessons Learned From After School Matters Summer 2021 Programs
Summer Learning From Screen to Screen: Lessons Learned From After School Matters Summer 2020 Programs