Arizona Quality Standards Assessment Tool for Out-of-School Time Programs

Arizona Quality Standards Assessment Tool

Developed in Partnership by
Arizona Center for Afterschool Excellence,
Valley of the Sun United Way,
and a Committee of Out-of-School Time
Leaders and Stakeholders

What is the Arizona Quality Standards Assessment Tool (AzQSAT)?

The Arizona Quality Standards Assessment Tool (AzQSAT) is a comprehensive self-assessment tool designed specifically for out-of-school time (OST) programs in Arizona. The AzQSAT allows programs to assess quality and measure progress internally without the pressure of an external evaluation.

Developed by a committee of Arizona community leaders and out-of-school time stakeholders, the AzQSAT supports OST programs in an ongoing strategy to increase quality programming for better youth outcomes.

The AzQSAT is the second step of a three-step continuous quality improvement process:

Step 1: Arizona Quality Standards for Out-of-School Time Programs

This compilation of OST standards is aimed at providing an answer to the pressing question: What is Quality in Out-of-School Time?

Step 2: Arizona Quality Standards Assessment Tool

The AzQSAT builds upon Step 1 by helping programs self-identify and refine their strengths and next steps needed to continuously improve program quality.

Step 3: Arizona OST Professional Development System

The third and final step in the continuous quality improvement process involves the development of a comprehensive statewide professional development system for OST program staff.

Why do we need the AzQSAT?

Comprehensive standards, quality assessment, and professional development are the foundations of high quality youth development programming.

Out-of-School time programs are in the unique position to rapidly respond to the demands of youth and quickly adapt to implement innovative practices that best support their learning styles and areas of interest. But the key is Quality.

Quality programs come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and the AzQSAT identifies the overlapping practices among them. Quality is not an end-point; rather, it is a work in progress. The AzQSAT invites programs to constantly and strategically grow and adapt to meet the ever changing needs of youth.

Who should use the AzQSAT?

The AzQSAT is for Arizona out-of-school time programs - programs serving youth before school, after school, during summer and on school breaks - who are committed to examining their management, communication, planning, and implementation practices to identify and build upon program strengths and address areas where growth is needed for increased engagement and positive youth outcomes.

How do I get started using the AzQSAT?

The AzQSAT serves as a self-assessment rubric for the Arizona Quality Standards for Out-of-School Time Programs and it is most effective to use them in tandem.

The continuous quality improvement process empowers programs to Assess - Design - Do:

  • Assess the quality of programs
  • Design strategies and activities that increase quality as well as respond to youth needs and interests
  • Do - implement these strategies and activities, understanding they may not at first be perfect, but the process of Assess - Design - Do can begin again.

The steps to cycle through the Assess - Design - Do process:

  1. Identify the Arizona Quality Standards for Out-of-School Time Programs to assess and review the key principles outlined
  2. Use AzQSAT to assess current level of performance
  3. Discuss areas of strength and design strategies to build upon them
  4. Discuss areas for growth and design strategies to improve upon them
  5. Set goals for your program and staff
  6. Provide training where needed
  7. Take action, implement new strategies
  8. Reassess and evaluate progress over time
  9. Repeat this process on an ongoing basis
Quality Standards can be found at
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