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K-State Today

December 17, 2015



OEIE conducting national evaluation of Air Force teen programs

By Patrice Scott

The Office of Educational Innovation and Evaluation, or OEIE, is conducting an evaluation of the U.S. Air Force Youth Programs, or YP, to provide empirical, actionable information about the overall impact of YP teen programs for developers and managers, as well as other stakeholders.

This work is part of a grant awarded to Marlene Verbrugge, research assistant professor in the School of Family Studies and Human Services. She received the grant from the Air Force 4-H Military Partnership and Outreach and Support Project awarded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture, or USDA-NIFA, in 2014.

Air Force YP offers teens and younger children a wide range of programs, instructional classes and events, focused on character and leadership development; education and career development; informal sports, recreation, and fitness; health and life skills; arts; and recognition of youth. Air Force YP has affiliations with Boys and Girls Club of America and 4-H Clubs, and is located on more than 70 installations across the United States and throughout the world.

The evaluation applies systematic research methods to assess the experiences and outcomes of teens who participate in YP, and provides evidence to support the mission of the U.S. Air Force through program improvement. Specifically, K-State's Office of Educational Innovation and Evaluation is exploring what YP teen programs are doing well, areas for improvement, and the benefits of participation to support the overall goal of enhancing YP opportunities for current and future teen participants. 

Components of the evaluation include:

  • Collaborating with Air Force YP headquarters staff to develop and administer a national online survey of YP staff who work with teens, as well as follow-up telephone interviews with staff.
  • Conducting visits to Air Force bases with especially successful YP teen programs to learn more about teen activities and best practices. The evaluation team recently visited six Air Force bases to tour YP teen facilities and meet with teens, their parents and YP staff to learn about their experiences with YP. Bases included in these visits were:
    • Edwards Air Force Base in California
    • Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada
    • Lackland Air Force Base in Texas
    • Randolph Air Force Base in Texas
    • Royal Air Force Base Lakenheath in England
    • Royal Air Force Base Mildenhall in England
  • Developing a YP teen programs logic model, to align activities with outcomes and impacts.

The evaluation effort is being led by OEIE evaluators Valerie York and Allison Teeter, with support from team members Katie Allen, LeAnn Brosius, Robert McCowen, and OEIE acting director Cindy Shuman.

OEIE is a full-service evaluation center, established in 2000 and affiliated with the College of Education, conducting program evaluations for a broad range of clientele in educational institutions, governmental agencies, and other organizations. Principal evaluators within the office have extensive expertise in program evaluation design, curriculum development, instrument development, and program assessment and evaluation. For more information about OEIE, including a searchable database of OEIE evaluation projects and contact information, please visit www.oeie.ksu.edu.