Standardized Test Scores

Standardized tests or assessments are administered and constructed by specialists and experts based on standardized norms and principle and scored in a predetermined, consistent standardized manner. Proficiency refers to the achievement test score determined by a national, state, or local assessment system. In a more general sense, proficiency occurs when the youth or student “produces work that meets the standard; frequently produces work of high quality; applies skills/concepts correctly” at a grade or age appropriate level. Research shows that children and youth who participate in after school programs show improved achievement test scores and scholastic proficiency (Little, Wimer and Weiss 2008).

This indicator should be used by programs that seek through their core activities to improve academic performance in one or more subject areas, particularly those programs focused on the Intellectual Ability outcome area. Programs focused on the Mastery and Future outcome area, with an explicit focus on improving academic proficiency might also be interested in this indicator.

Where possible, programs should attempt to collect both a baseline (or pre-test) measure and the post-test measure to enable a determination of improvement or increased performance over the course of the youth’s participation in the program. At the program level, the number and percent of youth who perform at or above the proficient level as defined by the assessment tool used should be reported. 

By Urban Institute


Sources Cited

Little, P M. D., Wimer, C. and Weiss, H. 2008. Evaluating Local Out-of-School Time Programs. "Afterschool Programs in the 21st Century: Their Potential and What it Takes to Achieve It." Harvard Family Research Project, February 2008.