Preparing for the YPAT

Who should participate in the assessment?

We recommend that the Assessment Form be completed in a participatory manner by an Assessment Committee comprising 5-8 members. The participatory assessment approach is aimed at combining multiple perspectives. The committee members should represent the program’s: leadership, management staff, program staff involved in program delivery, and at least two participants from the Youth Reflection Groups (described below). We consider program staff as anyone who is involved in program design, planning, delivery, or facilitation. Program staff may refer to trainers, facilitators, supervisors, teachers, coaches, mentors, volunteers, or others. Participant youth include youth who are currently participating in or recently finished a youth program.

Each organization should identify a facilitator to lead the assessment process. Where possible, the organization should try to identify an external facilitator since an external facilitator may provide a more neutral lens to the assessment process. External facilitators may be volunteers, consultants, or trainers. If an organization is unable to secure an external facilitator, it should select an internal facilitator who is NOT directly involved in the program offering(s) under assessment.

How should we engage youth in the assessment process?

The YPAT uses a two-stage process for youth engagement to ensure youth feel prepared and empowered to share their opinions: 1) completion of Youth Feedback Form in Youth Reflection Groups, followed by 2) participation of selected youth representatives in the Assessment Committee. In the first stage, one or more groups of youth will convene to fill out a separate assessment tool, Youth Feedback Form, which captures youth experiences and perceptions of key standards. The questions are directly related to many of the standards in the full Assessment Form but have been re-worded to better gather youth perceptions. We advise that program staff do not observe or attend this meeting to reduce any pressure youth may feel to answer questions a certain way. Two to three youth are selected from this group to represent the opinions of the youth beneficiaries As the Assessment Committee should only be 5-8 members, this process provides input from a larger pool of youth beneficiaries on how they view the programming, as well as provides time for the youth beneficiaries to consider each question and brainstorm examples of how they see the benchmarks happening in practice.