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Smith College Studies in Social Work

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Youth are increasingly seen as competent in participating in research and program evaluation, two activities previously reserved for adults. This paper is a report of the findings from an evaluation audit of Stand Up! Help Out!, a participatory action after-school youth leadership development program for disadvantaged urban youth that utilized youth evaluations to develop a best practices service model. The youths’ feedback assisted providers in improving services so that youth engagement in the program was 99% (by comparison with national highs of 79%). Here, we describe an important aspect of the process of youth-led program evaluation leading to such high youth engagement: How youth interviewed each other so as to optimize the authenticity of their program evaluations and contributions to program design. Drawing from over five years of program evaluation data collected by youth, the authors report on the youths’ experiences as informants and co-researchers, consider strategies used to help youth best describe their experiences in the program, and describe implications for other settings looking to incorporate youth-led program evaluation. Youth-led program evaluation has considerable promise for helping service providers make programs more meaningful for disadvantaged youth.


Author Posting. © Routledge, 2013. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of Routledge for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version will be published in Smith College Studies in Social Work.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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