Program Quality Assessment Basics

pqa basicsThe Youth PQA is a research-validated and field-tested tool designed to evaluate the quality of youth programs and identify staff training needs. This hands-on workshop prepares participants to conduct program self-assessment. Since the Youth PQA is an evidence-based assessment tool,  it relies on observation and interview.  At the training, videos provide an eye into after-school programming and participants get an almost-there experience.  Notes and observations are used as evidence to score items. Participants also complete an Implementation plan that describes how they will conduct their own program self-assessment.  The Basics training is also offered online.

Who should attend?

The participants can include anyone who will lead or participate in a program self assessment, and may include program staff, funders, and other stakeholders. It is important that participants have an idea of how they will implement the instrument if the training is part of a quality improvement or accountability system.  There is some time dedicated to discussing how the instrument fits into local systems, but the bulk of the workshop is focused on learning the instrument itself.

This training is also a first step to becoming a reliable external assessor.


  1. Become familiar with the “quality construct” that the Youth PQA represents.
  2. Learn the structure of the Youth PQA and how to use & score the instrument.
  3. Develop keen observation and note-taking skills to generate rich and precise anecdotal evidence.
  4. Apply new skills to score items on a Youth PQA through a consensus meeting.

Time Commitment:

Live: usually runs from 9:00am – 4:00 pm

On-line: approximately 2-4 hours