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Youth Program Quality Tools

Youth Program Quality Improvement

The Youth PQA is a validated instrument designed to evaluate the quality of youth programs and identify staff training needs. Based on the Elements of Effective Practice determined by the National Academy of Sciences, it has been used in community organizations, schools, camps, and other places where youth have fun, work, and learn with adults. The Youth PQA evaluates four key dimensions of the quality of youth experiences (see graphic) as youth attend workshops and classes, complete group projects, and participate in meetings and regular program activities. The Instrument Validation Study was funded by the W.T. Grant Foundation.

What does the Youth PQA assess?

The Youth PQA represents widely shared ideas about how programs can best promote youth development and learning. It measures the access youth have to key developmental experiences in seven domains:

Each domain contains items that focus on specific elements of best practice. Additional Youth Work Methods trainings are offered that correspond with the domains highlighted above. These trainings focus on providing specific skills to youth workers to enhance the quality of their program. See how the Youth Work Methods workshops address the domains listed above.

Register for a free online introductory course to the YPQA. This introductory course will cover the similar materials as presented in a YPQA Crash Course presentation by the ICYD.

For more information on High/Scope, visit For more information on Iowa's use of the YPQI and the Youth Program Quality Assessment Tool, contact us at