National Institute on Out-of-School Time (NIOST) began a partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (MADESE) in 2001 to develop assessment tools and a menu of technical assistance activities to support the MA 21st CCLC programs. The result of a two-year effort was the creation of the Survey of Academic and Youth Outcomes for Staff and Teachers (SAYO-S&T). These are brief pre/post outcome instruments that allow programs to systematically collect valid and reliable data about youth from afterschool program staff and classroom teachers in nine outcome areas. (Pre/Post means the surveys are taken near the beginning of the program and near the end of the program.) The SAYO was the first of three tools of “A Program Assessment System” (APAS), which now includes a youth survey (SAYO-Y) and a quality assessment tool (APT).
With the development of the SAYO tool, NIOST began a long-standing partnership with MADESE to build its assessment capacity as an agency, and also to build the capacity of their statewide 21st CCLC grantees to understand program evaluation and assessment tools, to learn how to administer surveys and conduct program quality assessments appropriately, to learn techniques for analyzing, interpreting and using quality and outcome data, and to work with staff to engage in continuous quality improvement. Over the years, NIOST has developed and delivered many statewide training workshops, web-based training, and extensive training materials and guides. NIOST continues to be the technical assistance provider to MADESE to support 21st CCLC programs in over 40 school districts and related programs in continuous quality improvement and documentation of youth outcomes.