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Evidence for Program Improvement: Core Components of Effective Youth Programs


  • ASPE wanted to identify core components of effective youth programs to inform practice.
  • Abt conducted a comprehensive meta-analysis of hundreds of programs.
  • Abt is using the findings to produce guidelines for practitioners.
The Challenge

Evidence for Program Improvement was established by The Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) to develop evidence-based practice guidelines for youth programs (e.g., community, mental health, public health, child welfare settings, schools) using a core components approach. The project’s goal is to better understand the core components of effective programs and share guidelines that can make programs more effective with those who design, support, and implement them.

The Approach

In keeping with the core components approach, Abt conducted a comprehensive meta-analysis of hundreds of rigorous, controlled studies of youth programs. Our analyses are being used to identify profiles of program, participant, and implementation features that are empirically related to positive outcomes across the diverse program implementations represented in the research.