Going Beyond the YPQA


Originally published 2/1/2017

How are programs thinking about quality through a cultural lens? The Youth Program Quality Assessment (YPQA) evaluates the quality of youth experiences as youth attend programs, activities, complete group projects, and participate in regular program activities. For staff, the YPQA self-assessment process is a great way to reflect on what is happening in programs and identify areas for improvement or development. That said, we know in St. Paul we have a diverse community and want to ensure we are thinking about quality through a cultural lens.

What quality measures are important for diverse populations that aren’t captured by the YPQA?  How can we think about the YPQA not only as a measure of quality, but as a human rights-based approach to planning and evaluation? 

This month, equity and the YPQA was the discussion topic at Sprockets' Neighborhood Network Team meetings. We looked at resources developed in Washington and Oregon to add equity measures to the YPQA Form B. However, important work on this topic is also happening at home - explore practitioner research from colleagues in our network on this important topic! 

Alneida Madrigal and Betsy Olson of Urban 4-H engaged young people in youth participatory evaluation as part of their Youth as Assessors project evaluating the cultural responsiveness of the YPQA tool in their 4-H programs. Read their article, "Evaluation of Cultural Responsiveness of the YPQA Tool", to learn about their findings and recommendations they have for their programs.

Julie Richards explores the intersectionality of the YPQA and social justice work in her North Star paper, "A Call to Action for a Human Rights-Based Approach to Youth Work." She examines where we can challenge ourselves to go further than scoring a 5, not not only in the opportunities we create for youth, but how we work with youth to ensure that those experiences extend and support young people outside our programs as well. See video and interact with her project here!

Want to dive more deeply into this topic? Join us for an open discussion on March 27th from 10-12 at the  YWCA St. Paul!  Registration coming soon.