Quality Standards

About Quality Standards

Statewide afterschool networks help move programs, policymakers and systems toward developing a statewide support system for quality afterschool and expanded learning programming. Afterschool programs of high-quality produce increase student academic achievement, positive social/emotional development, regular and consistent school attendance, student engagement, positive work/study habits and stronger links between students, families and schools.

Key Information

Developing standards for quality afterschool and expanded learning programming and providing support systems to achieve those standards helps create systems that build the foundation for more programs of higher quality.

  • 33 states have established or are developing practitioner standards.
  • 18 states have identified core knowledge and competencies—what practitioners should know and be able to do to provide high-quality afterschool and expanded learning programming
  • 13 states have developed school-age professional credentials.

Characteristics of high-quality programs feature:

  • Positive relationships between students and staff.
  • Positive relationships between students.
  • A mix of academic and non-academic skill-building activities.
  • High levels of student engagement.
  • Mastery orientation.
  • Appropriate levels of structure.

Strategies to Support Quality Standards

Establish a quality afterschool team of stakeholders to envision, develop and administer a state quality system to:

  • Identify state and federal sources of funding to support quality.
  • Specify state goals and set research-based programming.
  • Measure the extent to which expanded learning initiatives meet program standards and measure results.
  • Provide incentives to support quality in programs.
  • Support a strong afterschool and expanded learning workforce by developing and training core knowledge and competencies for staff as well as credentialing processes.
  • Connect students with high-quality afterschool programs.

General Publications

An executive summary of a study evaluating the Youth Program Quality Intervention (YPQI), a data-driven continuous improvement model for afterschool systems.
This study, funded by the W.T. Grant Foundation, evaluates the Youth Program Quality Intervention (YPQI), a data-driven continuous improvement model for afterschool systems.
The purpose of this review is to gain an understanding of key elements of quality in afterschool programming.

Network Publications

Report compiles South Dakota-specific data that documents the postive impact of afterschool programs on youth, families, schools, employers and communities. 
The competency document details the skills and abilities that professionals in Oregon need to successfully implement quality summer and afterschool programs. 
The Orgeon quality standards for afterschool and summer programs provide a framework for the development of dynamic, enriching and safe learning environments. 


Toolfind is a free directory designed to help professionals in youth-serving programs find measurement tools for up to 11 youth outcome areas.
A suite of products designed to help afterschool directors, coordinators and staff create and sustain high-quality, effective afterschool programs.
A tool serving to help programs chart their progress in areas of program management, linkages and participation.