Documentation and Evaluation

Documentation and evaluation are critical to YOUmedia's success. Student feedback and usage trends for example, can help programs adapt to the changing needs and evolving interests of young people. This information can also help mentors understand how youth are using the space, how effective that use is, the quality of the work being done, and how they can provide more relevant and responsive programming. Documentation keeps the programs on target and attuned to demand.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q Are there any evaluations of YOUmedia?

The University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research has conducted an evaluation of YOUmedia Chicago’s first year of operation. (A second year evaluation is forthcoming.)

Q Is there a process to evaluate progress?

YOUmedia takes progress seriously. After all, how else will you know where your strengths lie if you don’t track progress from Day 1? Data is good. Data helps you figure out how to adjust programs, where mentors’ strengths lie, and how the kids are responding to programs.

Mentors can use data to:

  • Monitor how programs are affecting youth
  • Track attendance and participation
  • Oversee online use of the social network
  • Evaluate work produced online and in the space
  • Monitor use of the technology tools
  • Record student growth over time

Youth can use the data to:

  • Track their own progress and become invested in their own participation. Making data available to youth on how often they show up or log in can create incentives to show up or log in, which can lead to other, more invested activities.

Digital Youth Network and YOUmedia leaders discuss the importance of evaluation and how to go about it.

 

Q When does evaluation begin?

To be accurate, data collection must start right when you open the doors. It should also be shared.

Q How do we collect data for evaluations?

Many libraries and museums have existing tools to capture general attendance, workshop registration, and circulation of materials and equipment. YOUmedia Chicago uses “Cityspan” to track attendance, workshop participation, mentor interactions with youth. It can also be a tool to help evaluate outcomes. Teens swipe in to the Cityspan system using their library cards. Data collected through the Cityspan system was essential in helping support a first-year snapshot of YOUmedia. The report is a good read—it’ll give you ideas about what to track and evaluate.

Chicago YOUmedia's Amy Eshleman talks specifics:

Q How do we know YOUmedia is a success?

Digital Youth Network and YOUmedia leaders discuss how they know that YOUmedia is making a real difference.

 

 

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