Moving the needle on moving the needle: Next stage technical guidance for performance based accountability systems in the expanded learning field with a focus on performance levels for the quality of instructional services

This paper introduces the nomenclature of performance-based accountability systems (PBAS) to the expanded learning field, provides a policy case study for a countywide system in southern Florida and uses data from that system to explore the issue of quality thresholds. We present an expanded design standard to guide development and improvement of PBAS policies and further develop a theory of lower-stakes accountability to guide effective use of incentives of various types. Findings suggest that (1) the PBAS framework defines critical concepts and improves our ability to describe existing quality improvement systems, (2) the Youth Program Quality Assessment (Youth PQA) can be used to produce a program rating of sufficient reliability for use in a PBAS, and (3) that the Palm Beach County PBAS design is an exemplar for expanded learning policies.

Citation: Smith, C., Akiva, T., McGovern, G. and Peck, S.C. (2014), Afterschool quality. New Directions for Youth Development, 2014: 31-44.

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