With so many afterschool programs receiving funding from grant-providing associations, the role of the evaluator is essential to program success. Grant-giving programs want to know that the programs they support are meeting certain goals and rely on evaluators to monitor afterschool programs.
Childcare management and afterschool management software can help evaluators gather necessary data and format it into usable reports customized for various groups like the 21st CCLC (21st Century Community Learning Center) grants program.
Activities Funded by 21st CCLC Grants
21st CCLC awards grants to afterschool programs for an array of activities, including:
- Remedial education and academic enrichment
- Entrepreneurial education
- Arts and music
- Math and science education
- Education programs for those with limited English proficiency (LEP)
Grant agencies expect the afterschool programs they fund to be more than childcare facilities. Most require various reports from evaluators to ensure their grants are being used appropriately.
Evaluators observe and monitor several metrics and activities to assess an afterschool program’s effectiveness.
During the assessment, the evaluator looks at what is going well and identifies potential areas of improvement. They also identify successful strategies to continue effectiveness and build on and share them with other programs.
Evaluators typically follow the Principles of Effectiveness:
- The program must be based upon the assessment of objective data regarding the need for before and afterschool programs, including summer programs and activities in schools and communities.
- The program must be based on an established set of performance measures to ensure the availability of high-quality academic enrichment opportunities.
- IF appropriate, the program shall be based on scientific research providing evidence that the program or activity will help students meet the state and local academic achievement standards.
Evaluators also ensure the program meets the funder's evaluation requirements and document the strengths and results for other potential funders and community stakeholders.
What Data is Measured
An appropriate measurement program includes the right questions, process measures, and outcome measures.
Process measures include types and frequencies of activities, program quality assessment, and a survey of student satisfaction with the program. Outcome measures include standardized test scores, grades, and school attendance records.
Using the highest ethical standards, evaluators seek data from all relevant stakeholders, such as teachers, students, parents, program staff, and community partners. They should guarantee the confidentiality of the participants, that the research is voluntary, and that they are familiar with ethics, standards, and IRB (Institutional Review Board) review processes.
Differences in Agency Evaluation Requirements
21st CCLC is not the only grant program that requires evaluation to ensure quality. The EASE (Elementary and Secondary Education Act) has reporting requirements, as does the National Afterschool Association's Standards for Quality School-Age Care (NSACA).
1. 21st CCLC Reports and Requirements
The 21st CCLC grant program has a list of compliance requirements and quarterly performance reports.
The program must show evidence of operations, including staffing, hours, relevance, the intensity of subject areas, attendance, and retention of participants. It also requires data on the percentage of ethnic and minority populations served, the percentage of students in poverty, and the percentage of high-need students.
The program asks for the data in a quarterly performance report that includes program operations, implementation, enrollment, budget, other factors, and annual summative reports.
EZReports afterschool management software simplifies and streamlines data gathering and reporting with preformatted reports specifically for the 21st CCLC. Evaluators can easily download attendance numbers, test scores, data on ethnic and minority populations, and confirmation of various background checks and employee certifications.
2. ESEA Reports and Requirements
The ESEA requires reporting in specific academic areas such as math, English, and reading. It also needs confirmation of homework completion and observations of student and staff behavior.
ESEA requires enrichment programs to be high quality and must prove they positively affect student achievement outcomes. The evaluation should confirm operational efficiencies and correct document submission.
EZReports software includes a Report Wizard that can generate 30 to 40 ad hoc reports as well as preformatted reports that match the requirements of various agencies. Evaluators can track participant grades by class and grading period and tract test scores for multiple tests.
Evaluators can set up unlimited assessments within the software and survey all stakeholders digitally, automatically generating the FED21APR outcomes report.
3. NSACA Reports and Requirements
The National Afterschool Association requires evaluators to measure a variety of metrics showing the quality and details of human relationships between students, staff, parents, and the community. It monitors the indoor and outdoor environment, including all activities, safety measures, health, nutrition, and administration.
Evaluation takes place through observational responses provided on a scale from zero to three, where the responses range through “indicates no evidence of meeting a requirement,” “not meeting requirement,” and “fully meeting requirement.”
EZReports allows users to design and conduct online surveys to collect feedback. Surveys are the primary tool used to determine program effectiveness and efficiency. The software can generate and circulate surveys to staff, teachers, care providers, and parents via smartphone, tablet, or PC.
Afterschool funding depends on an evaluator's assessment of various measurements required by agencies that provide grants and other funding. Manual recordkeeping can be exhausting for administrative staff, and payments, reports, and surveys can easily get lost in file cabinets.
EZReports afterschool management software allows for efficient and automated data gathering, analysis, and reporting. All the reports you need can be generated with a click, so no time is wasted on compiling necessary reports.
To learn more about how EZChildTrack can help afterschool program evaluators, contact us today.