APT: Assessment of Program Practices Tool

APT is one of three research-based measurement tools that make up the APAS System, a field-tested, user-friendly suite of evaluation tools built with OST in mind.

Use APT to measure the quality of your program, identify the areas where you are succeeding, and pinpoint areas to improve. APT will give you a clear picture of your program by collecting data on practices that are linked to three key youth outcomes.

  1. Learning and Skill Building
  2. Program Organization and Structure
  3. Supportive Social Environment

How does it work?

APT relies on two data-collection methods -- the observation tool (APT-O) and the program questionnaire (APT-Q). These two methods combined allow APT to look at the overall OST program, including homework time and activities.

  1. APT-O focuses on observable program practices.
    a. There are two versions of the APT tool (K-8 and Teen).
  2. APT-Q is completed by program staff and examines “behind the scenes” aspects of program quality.

APT-O Sections:

Arrival Time (K-8) Informal Program/Social Time
Transition Time (K-8) Activity Time
Homework/Academic Support Time Overall Program

Who is it for?

  • OST leaders, program directors, supervisors, curriculum and education coordinators, researchers, and 21st Century Community Learning Center staff and teachers
  • Start-up programs and those experiencing high staff turnover, facility changes, and/or major shifts in program focus

How do I get trained to use it?

The APAS tools are free to use at your program site after you complete the required prerequisite training program. Training on the APAS tools is available either in-person or online. If you are interested in APT for your program site, you can receive training for the entire APAS System, or training only for APT. Most programs find it favorable to complete our online training asynchronously through our training portal. Our online training subscription includes unlimited access to the training portal for one year.

For more information on training and fees: Please click here to get started

APT training will show you:

  • How APT is used for continuous program improvement and how it fits into the APAS System
  • How to use APT and its results to improve your program
  • How to tailor APT to fit your program needs
  • How to use the APT observation tool


Join OST professionals around the country who are using the APAS System.




    "NIOST has been an anchor for numerous school age care projects we do, including ASQ (After-School Quality) and Links to Learning. They are a nationally respected organization that Pennsylvania has partnered with for over 20 years."

    – Betsy O. Saatman, TA Specialist/SAC Initiatives, Pennsylvania Key

    "NIOST was a core partner in supporting the development of quality improvement systems across the nine cities that participated in The Wallace Foundation Next Generation Afterschool System-Building Initiative. The NIOST team worked well with other technical assistance partners in the initiative, always willing to pitch in and collaborate with others to make our professional learning community meetings a team effort. I truly hope the Foundation has an opportunity to partner with them in the future."

    – Priscilla M. Little, Initiative Manager, The Wallace Foundation


    "NIOST has been a leader in the out-of-school time field for as long as I can remember, and I have relied on their research, tools, and advice to improve my practice throughout my career. Their staff members are good partners and good listeners, and their influence across the country is palpable."

    – Jane Quinn, Vice President and Director of National Center for Community Schools, Children's Aid Society

    "Georgia Hall, Ellen Gannett, and the NIOST team have been instrumental in driving the healthy afterschool movement. Their dedication to quality practice, informed policy, and collective impact is instrumental in our effort to create healthier communities."

    – Daniel W. Hatcher, Director, Community Partnerships, Alliance for a Healthier Generation

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The National Institute on Out-of-School Time

A program of the Wellesley Centers for Women at Wellesley College

Wellesley Centers for Women
Wellesley College
106 Central Street
Wellesley, MA 02481-8203 USA

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