6 Tips to Promote Youth Engagement in Learning

August 2, 2021

Engaging youth in learning is critical. Research has found important links between levels of youth engagement and student achievement and persistence in school. Increasing youth engagement is also an effective way to approach behavior management/classroom management.

How do out-of-school time programs know whether they are successfully engaging youth? Data is a powerful tool to use for measurement and improvement. Starting in spring 2022, 21st Century Community Learning Center programs may need to report on student engagement in learning as part of revised GPRA measures required by the U.S. Department of Education.

The APAS System is a comprehensive, field-tested suite of assessment tools (quality observation tool and youth outcomes tools) to measure and link program quality and youth outcomes, including youth engagement in learning. The APAS tools were co-developed by NIOST and the Massachusetts 21st Century Community Learning Center Program. APAS can assist you in aligning quality improvement efforts with desired youth outcomes, creating an improvement plan, and using data to inform both.

Below are a few tips to boost youth engagement in your program. Contact us to learn more about how NIOST can help you measure and improve youth engagement and other desired youth outcomes.

Infographic with tips to boost youth engagement in learning

View infographic as a PDF.


    "NIOST has been an anchor for numerous school age care projects we do, including ASQ (After-School Quality) and Links to Learning. They are a nationally respected organization that Pennsylvania has partnered with for over 20 years."

    – Betsy O. Saatman, TA Specialist/SAC Initiatives, Pennsylvania Key

    "NIOST was a core partner in supporting the development of quality improvement systems across the nine cities that participated in The Wallace Foundation Next Generation Afterschool System-Building Initiative. The NIOST team worked well with other technical assistance partners in the initiative, always willing to pitch in and collaborate with others to make our professional learning community meetings a team effort. I truly hope the Foundation has an opportunity to partner with them in the future."

    – Priscilla M. Little, Initiative Manager, The Wallace Foundation


    "NIOST has been a leader in the out-of-school time field for as long as I can remember, and I have relied on their research, tools, and advice to improve my practice throughout my career. Their staff members are good partners and good listeners, and their influence across the country is palpable."

    – Jane Quinn, Vice President and Director of National Center for Community Schools, Children's Aid Society

    "Georgia Hall, Ellen Gannett, and the NIOST team have been instrumental in driving the healthy afterschool movement. Their dedication to quality practice, informed policy, and collective impact is instrumental in our effort to create healthier communities."

    – Daniel W. Hatcher, Director, Community Partnerships, Alliance for a Healthier Generation

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The National Institute on Out-of-School Time

A program of the Wellesley Centers for Women at Wellesley College

Wellesley Centers for Women
Wellesley College
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Wellesley, MA 02481-8203 USA

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