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.

Building citywide systems for quality: Guide and case studies for afterschool leaders

How-to guide for cities drawing on experience from implementation of QIS in 40+ cities and states.
Citation: Yohalem, N., Devaney, E., Smith, C., & Wilson-Ahlstrom, A. (2012). Building Citywide Systems for Quality: A Guide and Case Studies for Afterschool Leaders.

Continuous quality improvement in afterschool settings: Impact findings from the Youth Program Quality Intervention study

Multi-site randomized controlled trial that identifies a substantively large and statistically significant cross-level cascade of QIS effects from network to organization to point-of-service instruction.

Citation: Akiva, T., Sugar, S.A., Smith, C., Pearson, L.M., Peck, S.C., Denault, A., & Blazevski, J. (2012). Continuous Quality Improvement in Afterschool Settings: Impact findings from the Youth Program Quality Intervention Study.

Understanding the “how” of effective quality improvement: Lessons from the Rhode Island Program Quality Intervention

Case study of scaled QIS implementation in Rhode Island with focus on manager skills and implementation at the organization level.

Citation: Devaney, E., Smith, C., & Wong, K.K. (2012). Understanding the “How” of Quality Improvement: Lessons from the Rhode Island Program Quality Intervention. Afterschool Matters.

Final report on the Palm Beach quality improvement system pilot: Model implementation and program quality improvement in 38 after-school programs

Mixed methods study of QIS implementation and effects in afterschool programs in Palm Beach County, Fl.
Citation: Smith, C., Akiva, T., Blazevski, J., & Pelle, L. (2008). Final report on the Palm Beach Quality Improvement System pilot: Model implementation and program quality improvement in 38 after-school programs. Forum for Youth Investment, David P, Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality.

Quality accountability: Improving fidelity of broad developmentally focused interventions

Design theory and formative evidence to define (1) the system/network-level within which organization and point-of-service settings are materially nested and (2) the lower-stakes QIS design that networks and organizations should implement for improved performance.

Citation: Smith, C.M., & Akiva, T. (2008). Quality Accountability: Improving Fidelity of Broad Developmentally Focused Interventions.