Levels of performance
YouthBuild programs are complex. High standards are reached step by step, and usually not in every area at once. But experience has shown that whatever the director and the staff decide to achieve is usually what they do achieve. Where they put their
attention, things happen. To a certain extent it is true that the higher the standards, the higher the performance.
On each performance measure, the standards shown here have been arrived at through experi-ence. They will change with additional experience. In some areas we do not yet have objective mea-sures that are being consistently reported, so standards have
not yet been set. Accurate reporting will come first.
"Excellent" represents the range that the strongest programs have been able to produce on an ongoing, steady basis.
"Very Good" represents the average range that strong programs have been able to produce.
"Satisfactory" represents the level that has been widely achieved by sound programs and has been set as a standard for accreditation. This level has risen over time, as more programs have demonstrated good outcomes.
"Needing Attention" represents the achievement levels that programs have suffered when they were having difficulties but were still in good faith attempting to fulfill the mission of YouthBuild and had reasonable hope of doing so.
Corrective action plans are required at this level.
"Unacceptable" levels are those levels that are clearly indicative of failure in this component, and that have been associated with eventual failure of past programs.
It is understood that performance levels are affected by the demographics of the students in the program. Research on YouthBuild programs by Professor Ron Ferguson of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government has shown direct correspondence between
outcomes and two unrelated sets of factors: program quality and characteristics of the students accepted. Programs serving a distinctly different population can expect to achieve somewhat different ranges of outcomes. However, we have often enough seen
outstanding staff effort achieve high outcomes with seemingly less-likely-to-succeed students that we think program quality is more impactful than demographics in determining outcomes.
While it is important to have clear performance standards, it is even more important to not allow the existence of these standards to distort the program by pressuring people to exclude youth who are not excelling academically, to avoid
experimentation, or to avoid honest reporting. The Youth-Build USA Affiliated Network encourages programs to select students who are most likely to make good use of the expensive opportunities presented and who have the potential to become community
leaders; but it does not discourage programs from trying to reach youth who have failed or been turned off in other systems.