Evaluating Data Collection Systems for Youth Programs

Session Number: 1212
Track: Youth Focused Evaluation
Session Type: Roundtable
Tags: Algorithm, database
First Author or Discussion Group Leader: Alexander Fink [University of Minnesota]
Second Author or Discussion Group Leader: Ross VeLure Roholt [Associate Professor - University of Minnesota]
Time: Nov 14, 2019 (11:30 AM - 12:15 PM)
Room: Hilton Marquette VI

Audience Level: All Audiences

Session Abstract (150 words): 

Nonprofit program staff are asked to collect more and more data about program participants. This trend is perhaps most pronounced in programming for young people. As one youth worker we spoke to said, “We know where kids are and what they are doing from when they wake up to when they go to sleep.” Database systems are becoming more common, and are increasingly supported/required by funders. The purpose of these systems is to utilize data to track clients, enhance interventions, and evaluate program outcomes. The need for these systems seems self-explanatory: more data means greater knowledge, leading to better interventions, and therefore greater impact! Rarely are these data systems themselves subjected to rigorous evaluation. What impact do they actually have on service provision? We hope to draw on the roundtable's collective knowledge to generate some preliminary ideas for evaluators to provide meaningful feedback to organizations and funders.