Resource Type:

SCRInsider: Quality Can’t Wait


If you’ve ever worked in a summer program, you know it’s over in a flash. Months of preparation and planning culminate in weeks of enriching experiences that just fly by. Because of time constraints, it’s tempting to put a formal quality assessment process on the back burner for the summer months. But if there’s anything we’ve learned in the last two decades of out-of-school time (OST) research, it’s that quality matters. So, how do you find the time to check in on quality when the days are long and the weeks are short?

Today I’m excited to share SCRI’s latest report, Quality Can’t Wait, a look at what we’ve learned about designing and implementing rapid-cycle quality improvement in the summer. The great news is, it is indeed possible to garner actionable insights to improve the program without disrupting the learning environment or burdening your staff. Explore how BellXcel approaches rapid-cycle quality improvement, from planning to professional development, data collection, coaching, and support. Learn about practical quality assessment (QA) tools designed specifically for summer.

For a broader look at QA in OST, read our latest SCRI Asks interview with Wendy McClanahan of McClanahan Associates, Inc. Wendy is a seasoned OST program evaluator with sharp insights on what it takes to conduct QA in OST, and why it’s useful. In our interview, Wendy describes the landscape of quality assessment in OST and offers practical advice for getting started.

Finally, I want to share the latest call for edited book volumes in the Current Issues in Out-of-School-Time series from Information Age Publishing. The series welcomes ideas for book topics that bring a multi-disciplinary approach, illuminate relevant issues in the field, and would appeal to a broad range of audiences both within the OST field and beyond. If you have a great idea that would benefit the field, let us know! The call is open now through December 1.


About SCRI

The Sperling Center for Research and Innovation (SCRI) is part of BellXcel, a national nonprofit with nearly 30 years’ experience innovating educational solutions rooted in evidence. Drawing on decades of firsthand implementation experience and a culture of continuous improvement, SCRI bridges the research to practice to policy gap, to help partners strengthen goals, implement high-quality practices, expand to reach more young people, and advocate for improved policies.

Learn More

Related Resources

Young student studying at home.

Strengthening the Quality of Remote Learning: Reflection Tool

As youth leaders and teachers across the country rapidly innovated to deliver remote learning, SCRI has reflected upon nearly three decades of research and evidence to consider how to measure quality in a remote learning environment. We know how important quality experiences are to a young person’s ability to learn and grow. The Remote Quality Reflection Tool is available publicly for remote learning providers to reflect on the quality of their summer programs, since for many assessing quality in a remote environment is new.

Read More
Teacher with group of students outside.

Tracking Program Metrics of Quality and Impact

SCRI works with partners to continuously assess the quality and outcomes of programs. We use the Results Dashboard to help our partners track key metrics related to program implementation, including indicators of quality and impact. Our partners use this report to identify and reflect on areas of strengths and continuous improvement.

Read More