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Calibrating Your Team: Understanding Performance Levels
Whether you’re a program participant, site director or staff, principal, parent, or another interested stakeholder, you are a crucial part of your afterschool program’s self-assessment. You bring a unique perspective about your experience with program activities and operations. That’s why your self-assessment team will discuss the results together – to give each stakeholder an opportunity to share how and why they rated the program on each indicator based on performance levels 1 – 4.
While everyone should rate the program based on their own experience, it is important for the self-assessment team to share similar ideas about the meanings of the performance levels and indicators. The following information should be reviewed by the self-assessment team prior to beginning the process.
The QSA Tool’s performance level rating system is as follows:
Is prepared to help and work with others in this area.
Needs help to prepare staff to work with others in this area.
||Some Progress Made/Approaching Standard
Could use additional focused assistance in this area.
||Must Address and Improve/Standard Not Met
Needs significant support in this area.
Organizations are expected to strive for a satisfactory performance level (3) on all of the quality indicators within each of the ten elements of program quality. Over time, programs should continue to strive for an excellent performance level (4). At this level of performance, organizations consistently show evidence of promising practices throughout all program elements, serve as a model for other afterschool programs, and develop and support staff such that they could serve as coaches and mentors for other practitioners.
Zooming In on Quality Indicators
There is no exact science to rating an afterschool program on the performance level scale. In fact, programs can be very different from one another yet both provide a high-quality, safe, and enriching experience for the youth they serve. As previously mentioned, each person involved in the self-assessment brings a perspective based on their own experience, which means that everyone may not agree on performance level ratings for every indicator.
While it is important to realize the value of everyone’s unique perspective, it is also important to calibrate your self-assessment team. Though the difference between a 3 and 4 may be subtle, it is important for everyone to start with the same understanding of what each quality indicator might look like at performance levels 1 – 4.
To view all of the quality indicator definitions, see Zooming In on Quality Indicators (PDF 204 KB) .
To view the indicator definitions for a specific element of program quality, click the links below: