The Quality Standards for Expanded Learning
What are the Quality Standards for Expanded Learning?
Just as there are standards for regular day classroom expectations, the Expanded Learning community realized that having those North Star goals about what high quality programming looked like from both a point of service and programmatic perspective were important to communicate how expanded learning programs contribute to children and youth’s overall intellectual growth and development. The Expanded Learning Quality Standards were identified to create a framework of clear expectations, and a shared vision of quality among multiple stakeholders.
The 12 Quality Standards and descriptions of what each Standard should look like in action (Standards in Action) were identified in two distinct phases (Phase 1 and Phase II) through a partnership between CDE, After School Division and the California AfterSchool Network Quality Committee. The Standards in Action are described at the programmatic, staff and participant levels so the entire field understands how they should engage with the framework.
How are the Standards used?
The Standards in Action are intended to provide more detailed information about what the Standards should look like at the programmatic, staff, and student levels. The Quality Standards are a central component of the cycle of quality improvement. They are not assessment or compliance tools, but can be utilized in conjunction with a variety of assessment tools (as outlined in the Crosswalk) to plan and assess the quality of expanded learning programs. The Crosswalk provides more guidance about the cycle of quality improvement.
The purpose of the Quality Standards is to describe high levels of “Quality” of a program at the programmatic, staff, and participant levels. The quality standards are not intended to serve as a compliance tool, but as the following:
- A framework of clear expectations for all stakeholders.
- A guide to inform the After School Division’s decision-making, e.g., technical assistance decisions, language in requests for application, and policy development.
- A guide for program providers to assess their own programs in order to help determine what they are doing well and what needs improvement.
- A guide for parents and youth to identify quality programming.
- A guide for school principals and district superintendents to reinforce and advance key priorities.
- A complement to other standards in the State of California focused on quality improvement, e.g., Learning in After School and Summer, Quality Self-Assessment Tool, Quality Self-Assessment Rubric, Center for Youth Program Quality, etc.