Download PQA

The Youth Program Quality Assessment, School-Age Program Quality Assessment, Social Emotional Learning Program Quality Assessment and several extensions (STEM, Arts, Academic Skill-Building, Health and Wellness) were designed to assess the quality of learning environments and to identify staff training needs. These are the field-leading quality assessments for out-of-school time organizations, in part because you and many others have found them useful. We are pleased to share these tools as pdf downloads, subject to the following recommendations and terms.

Terms of User Agreement

You agree to the following terms when you download the PDFs for the Program Quality Assessments. You do not have permission to sell copies of the PQAs. You do not have permission to make any derivative materials using any part of the content within without explicit written permission from the Forum for Youth Investment. You are permitted to print, copy, and share the tool within your organization or program, so long as the End User License Agreement on the back page of the tool remains intact. Click here to read the full terms of the End User License Agreement.

With this in mind, you are free to use the Program Quality Assessment in your program or organization.

Youth and School-Age Program Quality Assessment (PQA)

Recommendations for Use

Measuring Quality.

When using any of the PQAs, we recommend that you consult the appropriate Program Quality Assessment Handbook and that you, or someone on your team, consider attending a one-day PQA Basics training. Evidence concerning the reliability and validity of the PQAs was produced using very specific methods and the handbooks and trainings are endorsed by the Weikart Center as an introduction to these methods. In applications of the PQAs where rater precision is required, additional External Assessor Reliability Training and supports are available and recommended.

Improving Quality.

When the PQAs are used as part of the Youth Program Quality Intervention (YPQI), the quality of staff instruction is known to improve ( For quality improvement applications of the PQAs, we recommend the YPQI sequence of four core practices – quality assessment, improvement planning, performance feedback, and staff training for specific instructional skills – be implemented by site-based teams. Training and technical assistance supporting the YPQI are available from the Weikart Center (contact:


Youth and School-Age Program Quality Assessment (PQA) - Spanish Translations

Beginning in 2010, Colegio Ypsilanti of Puebla, Mexico has been using the Youth and School-Age PQAs as part of a continuous program quality improvement process in the classroom from preschool through high school. Since its inception 30 years ago, this school has incorporated best practice from the HighScope Foundation’s early childhood research, the Weikart Center’s Youth Work Methods, and a variety of other cutting edge educational theories to create an innovative environment for active learning, student engagement and intentional social and emotional learning opportunities. In 2015, Colegio Ypsilanti worked with the Weikart Center to finalize an official version of the PQAs in Spanish. Other YPQI supports translated into Spanish are forthcoming.

Empezando en el año 2010, el Colegio Ypsilanti de Puebla, México ha estado usando el Youth y School-Age PQAs como parte de un sistema de mejoramiento de la calidad del programa desde prescolar hasta la preparatoria. Desde su inicio hace 30 años, este colegio ha incorporado las mejores prácticas basadas en las investigaciones sobre la educación infantil de la Fundación HighScope, los Youth Work Methods del Weikart Center y una variedad de teorías educativas nuevas para crear un ambiente innovador para el aprendizaje activo, la involucración de los alumnos y oportunidades intencionales para aprendizaje social y emocional. En el año 2015, el Colegio Ypsilanti colaboró con el Weikart Center para finalizar una versión oficial de los PQAs en español. Otros apoyos del sistema de YPQI se traducirán próximamente.


Social Emotional Learning Program Quality Assessment (SEL PQA)

The Social and Emotional Learning Program Quality Assessment (SEL PQA) is an efficient and reliable observational tool for assessing practices that support social and emotional learning (SEL). It builds upon the research-validated Youth PQA, over ten years of observational measure developments, research from positive youth development and the science of learning, and lessons learned through the SEL Challenge study that was funded by the Susan Crown Exchange. Originally fielded in the 2017 and 2018 program years as a 71-item beta version, the SEL PQA (2019) now has 41 items and focuses on observable practices at the point-of-service, or the place where young people interact with each other, adults and their environment.

Supplements to the PQA

The supplements provided below are not appropriate for high stakes uses. Scores on these supplements should not trigger consequences that observed staff experience in a negative way. However, these measures are suitable for purposes of performance feedback to staff in low stakes conditions. These tools can serve a positive educational purpose and support continuous improvement planning and action. Supplements to the Youth PQA are available to other practitioners, system administrators and researchers at no charge. 

School-Age PQA with Extended Observation Scales

Originally, the School-Age PQA used with the walk-through method had supplemental checklists covering Activity Structure, Homework Help, Recreation Time, Transitions, and Departure. In 2016, these scales were updated as scales scored 1-3-5, the same way as other PQA scales. Recreation Time was replaced by the Physical Activity scale. The latest revisions were made in October 2017.


Summer Learning PQA 

To download the Summer Learning PQA and learn more about the Summer Learning Program Quality Intervention, visit this page.


Academic Skill-Building PQA 

In fall of 2013, the Weikart Center partnered with the Saint Paul Public Schools Foundation and YouthPrise to engage in the development and field test of a supplement to the Youth PQA that could illuminate best practices for tutoring and other academically focused out of school settings. We used a mixed methods design engaging expert practitioners in item development, rater training and data collection for 12 tutors in four programs as well as feedback from a diverse sample of 23 afterschool providers. Our study is a critical first step in the sequence of design, iteration and validation towards the development of effective interventions and measures for academically-focused programs.

This project resulted in the Academic Skills Building PQA, consisting of 22 items and rubrics that were developed to be used as a supplement to the Youth PQA, then later made available as a supplement to the School-Age PQA. To support the use of this tool, we have developed a training and guidebook, and published findings on the reliability and validity of the tool and an empirical description of its use in tutoring programs.

Click here to read an overview of the Academic Skill-Building PQA study and findings.  The full technical was released in 2015.


Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Program Quality Assessment (STEM PQA)

During the summer of 2011, the Providence After School Alliance (PASA) sponsored The AfterZone Summer Scholars Program – a program in which nine community-based organizations partnered with Providence School District teachers and PASA to develop and deliver nine different summer courses from the fields of environmental science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (“STEM”) to 250 Providence Middle School youth. Ten student cohorts, each consisting of 25 students, spent two days per week on site at a school focusing on intense math instruction and two days per week in the field with one of the nine partner organizations. Two instructors moved with them at all times from the classroom to the field and back to make connections between the two settings. In order to understand the quality of the Summer Scholars program and build upon its already successful quality improvement system for school year after school programs, PASA contracted with the Weikart Center to develop an observation-based measure of instructional practices to support continuous improvement during STEM programming and conduct a preliminary analysis of its reliability and validity based on data collected during AfterZone Summer Scholars program.


Camp Program Quality Assessment (Camp PQA)

In 2009, the American Camp Association (ACA) engaged with the Weikart Center to develop the Camp Program Quality Assessment (Camp PQA). Like the Youth PQA, the Camp PQA is designed to support a robust assessment process that can be used under a range of conditions and for a range of purposes. The Camp PQA is flexible enough to have valid application as (1) a self-assessment by internal staff teams, (2) a monitoring and feedback tool for supervisory staff, and (3) a quality metric for external evaluation and research. 

The Camp PQA consists of 3 forms. 

  • FORM A: Program offerings. This observational form is designed for programs that youth attend for a set time with a set purpose. These may be referred to as programs, clubs, workshops, classes, etc. An example: arts & crafts 10:30 to noon on Tuesday. Data collectors will observe and score 3-5 program offerings (45-90 minutes each) in an assessment visit.
  • FORM A2: Informal climate. This observational form is designed to capture youth experiences in non-program offering times. Examples include meal times, transition times, room group time. Data collectors will score 3-5 informal time observations (10 minutes each) in an assessment visit.
  • FORM B: Camp structure and administration. This form is intended to capture how camp structure and administration support program quality. Data collectors interview the camp director (30-60 minutes) or other appropriate person. 

Click here to read more about the development of the Camp PQA. 

Click here to read the full report from the Camp PQA pilot.

Click here to download the Camp PQA short form.

Health and Wellness Program Quality Assessment (HW PQA)

The Health and Wellness supplements are complementary additions to the Youth Program Quality Assessment (YPQA) that focus explicitly on nutrition, physical activity, and mental health and resiliency. They are designed with some flexibility so that a variety of types of programs can use them. They were developed in partnership with PrimeTime Palm Beach County. Health and wellness are broad concepts that all programs for youth and children should affect positively in some way.  However, increasingly funders, providers, parents, and staff are interested in quality programs that address health and wellness in explicit ways, as well as in assuring that programs with a broad range of structures and content are contributing to the health and well-being of the children or youth who attend them. 

Arts Program Quality Assessment

In fall 2011, the Weikart Center partnered with Casita Maria Center for Arts and Education to develop a tool for use in their afterschool programs, focusing on quality practices for engaging young people in the Arts.