AfterWords March 2007
The learning that begins after the bell!
The National Partnership for Quality Afterschool Learning
featured resource

This free online database of math curricula reviews is an initiative of the Program in Education, Afterschool and Resiliency (PEAR) at Harvard University and the National Partnership for Quality Afterschool Learning at SEDL.


Collecting "Good" Data for Your Evaluation

An afterschool leader’s job involves compiling attendance records, parent surveys, behavior reports, report cards, and standardized test scores. Although it might seem that you are simply amassing paperwork with these records, you are actually engaged in the important task of collecting data. “An evaluation is only as good as the data it contains,” explains Zena Rudo, a project director with SEDL who has performed evaluations on afterschool programs for the National Partnership for Quality Afterschool Learning.

What can you do to make sure you’re collecting “good,” or meaningful, data? As the current school year comes to a close and you begin to think about fall programming, it helps to remember that the same adage that applies to planning an evaluation goes for collecting the data: start early and get all of the players involved. “If you’re supposed to collect data on parent contact and involvement, you’re not going to be able to remember what happened at the beginning of the semester or the school year. So, ask your staff to make notes on parent attendance at afterschool events as well as their own efforts to contact parents as they happen. Your numbers will be much more accurate if you do it as it happens,” says Rudo. She also recommends that program directors hold training sessions so staff can make sure data collection instruments like attendance forms, parent comment forms, and other records are completed correctly.

Learn more >>

What is the National Partnership of Quality Afterschool Learning?

Cooperative for Afterschool Enrichment (CASE)
houston, tx

Steven Villano used to hate data. As special events coordinator with the Cooperative for Afterschool Enrichment (CASE) for the Harris County Department of Education in Texas, he helps compile and use data from the monthly reports his program collects from its 21st Century Community Learning Center afterschool sites.

Villano began to have a change of heart about that four-lettered word, data, when his colleague, Tori Greig, developed a monthly report that presented the data in a way that told a story. Essentially a spreadsheet, the monthly report is created from data collected from Harris County’s afterschool sites and shows at a glance the extent to which afterschool sites are meeting their goals. For example, if there are 90 students enrolled but the goal is 100, afterschool leaders may want to consider increasing enrollment. If, out of the 90 enrolled students, there is an average daily attendance of 65, they will probably want to think about increasing student participation.

Villano says that although he still may not love data, “I now see it as relevant and valuable to the bottom line—which is providing more students and their parents with quality afterschool programs. Data is now my friend!”

In Your Words

Vote by clicking on your choice below, and then view the survey results.

Some afterschool programs don’t operate through the last day of school. How late in the school year do you think an afterschool program should continue?

An afterschool program only needs to operate until spring testing is finished.
Programs should continue until the last day of school. Students enjoy it, and many need the safe haven.
Afterschool programs should continue through summer in addition to being offered after the regular school day.
Afterschool programs should be offered during school holidays as well.
Data Collection Tip

Including Students in Your Data Collection

Afterschool is supposed to be all about the students, but students are not always involved in data collection and evaluation as much as they can be. Students are great sources of information. Ask them for feedback on the afterschool program, why they come or don’t come, and what types of activities they prefer. Their opinions can really improve your program.

Do you have a training tip you
would like to share? E-mail us at with “Training tip” in the subject line.

Events Calendar
May 2–3

Success in Afterschool: Increase Your Odds
Las Vegas, NV

May 8–9

The After-School Institute's Eastern Regional Conference on After-School 2007
Baltimore, MD


Registration for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers 2007 Summer Institute is now open. The Summer Institute will take place in Miami, Florida, July 17-19. Register today.

Questions or comments should be directed to:

Laura Shankland
211 E. 7th St., Suite 200
Austin, TX 78701-3253
Phone: 800-476-6861 ext. 237
Fax: 512-476-2286

Copyright © 2007 by SEDL . This newsletter was produced in whole or in part with funds from the U.S. Department of Education under contract number ED-01-CO-0057/0001.

You are welcome to reproduce issues of AfterWords and distribute copies at no cost to recipients. Please credit SEDL as publisher. Link to PDF versions of AfterWords is available here. For additional uses, please fill out and submit a copyright request form.

National Partnership For Quality Afterschool Learning at SEDL