From Theory to Practice: A Critical Review of Positive Youth Development Program Frameworks
Keywords:positive youth development (PYD), PYD frameworks, youth program outcomes
Many positive youth development (PYD) programs are based on a particular PYD framework as a method for describing the program’s intention and expected outcomes. This paper presents a critical review of eight select program frameworks that are commonly used to describe PYD programs. The review reveals considerable variation in the science supporting these frameworks, with corresponding variability in their programmatic application. To account for this variation, the frameworks were grouped into three categories based on the science and context in which they were developed. After a review of the historical and organizational context for the need and use of program frameworks, we present brief reviews of the frameworks, then close by discussing implications for practice, research, and policy.
Arnold, M. E. (2006). Developing evaluation capacity in Extension 4-H field faculty: A framework for success. American Journal of Evaluation, 27(2), 257-269.
Arnold, M. E. (2014). The Oregon 4-H Program Model. Corvallis, OR: Oregon State University 4-H Youth Development Program.
Arnold, M. E. (2015). Connecting the dots: Improving Extension program planning with program umbrella models. Journal of Human Sciences and Extension, 3(2), 48-67.
Arnold, M. E., Braverman, M. T., & Cater, M. (2016). Rethinking evaluation capacity in youth development programs: A new approach for engaging youth workers in program evaluation. In B. Kirshner and K. Pozzoboni (Eds.). The Changing Landscape of Youth Workers (pp. 193-210). Scottsdale, AZ: Information Age Press.
Arnold, M. E., & Cater, M. (2011). From then to now: Emerging directions for youth program evaluation. Journal of Youth Development, 6(3), 82-94.
Arnold, M. E., & Cater, M. (2016). Program theory and quality matter: Changing the course of Extension program evaluation. Journal of Extension, 54(1). Retrieved from: http://www.joe.org/joe/2016february/a1.php
Arnold, M. E., Silliman, B., Bledsoe, L., Diaz, L., Johnson, J., Lauxman, L., … White, D. J. (2016). 4-H program quality and accountability taskforce PYD frameworks committee final report. Unpublished manuscript.
Brendtro, L. Brokenleg, M., Van Bockern, S. (1990). Reclaiming Youth at Risk: Our Hope for the Future. Bloomington, IN: National Education Service.
Benson, P. (1997). All kids are our kids: What communities must do to raise caring and responsible children and adolescents. San Francisco, CA: Jossey Bass.
Benson, P. L., Scales, P. C., & Syvertsen, A. K. (2011). The contribution of the developmental assets framework to positive youth development theory and practice. Advances in Child Development and Behavior, 41, 197-230.
Blyth, D. (2011). The future of youth development: Multiple wisdoms, alternate pathways, and aligned accountability. Journal of Youth Development, 6(3), 165-180.
Chen, H. (2004). Practical program evaluation: Assessing and improving planning, implementation, and effectiveness. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Connell, J., Gambone, M., & Smith, Y. (1998). Youth development in community settings: Challenges to our field and approach. Philadelphia, PA: Institute for Reform in Education.
Eccles, J. & Gootman, J. A. (2002). Community programs to promote youth development. Washington, DC: National Research Council.
Funnell, S. C., & Rogers, P. J. (2011). Purposeful program theory: Effective use of theories of change and logic models. San Francisco, CA: Jossey Bass.
Deci, E. L. & Ryan, R. M. (2008). Self-determination theory: A macrotheory of human motivation, development and health. Canadian Psychology, 49(3), 182-185.
Dogan, S., Miner, G., Worker, S., Bottoms, M., Hill, R., & Mautte, S. (n.d.). UC4-H Youth Development Program Framework. Davis, CA: University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources.
Durlak, J. (1997). Success prevention programs for children and adolescents. New York, NY: Plenum Press.
Gambone, M. A., Klem, A. M., & Connell, J. P. (2002). Finding out what matters for youth: Testing key links in a community action framework for youth development. Philadelphia, PA: Youth Development Strategies Inc.
Heck, K. E., & Subramaniam, A. (2009). Youth development frameworks (University of California 4-H Center for Youth Development Monograph). Davis: University of California.
Hendricks, P.A. (1998). Developing youth curriculum using the targeting life skills model: Incorporating developmentally appropriate learning opportunities to assess impact of life skill development. Ames: Iowa State University.
Josephson Institute of Ethics. (2007). Character Counts! Works And here is the data to prove it. Retrieved from https://charactercounts.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Evidance_that_CC_Works.pdf
Kress, C. (2005). Essential Elements of positive youth development. In Strengthening Positive Youth Development Environments (pp. 20-23). Madison: University of Wisconsin Extension 4-H Program.
Lerner, R. M., Dowling, E. M., & Anderson, P. M. (2003). Positive youth development: Thriving as a basis of personhood and civil society. Applied Developmental Science, 7, 172-180.
Lerner, R. M., & Lerner, J. V. (2013). The positive development of youth: Comprehensive findings from the 4-H study of positive youth development. Washington, DC: National 4 H Council.
Peterson, B., Gerhard, G., Hunter, L., Marek, L., Phillips, C., & Titcomb, A. (2001). Prepared and engaged youth serving American communities: The National 4-H Impact Assessment Project. Washington, DC: National 4-H Headquarters.
Pittman, K. & Irby, M. (1996). Preventing problems or promoting development: Competing priorities or inseparable goals? Baltimore, MD: International Youth Foundation.
Pittman, K. & Zeldin, S. (1995). Premises, principles, & practices: Defining the why, what and how of promoting youth development through organizational practice. Washington, DC: Academy for Educational Development, Center for Youth Development and Policy Research.
Rennekamp, R. A., & Arnold, M. E. (2009). What progress, program evaluation? Reflections on a quarter-century of Extension evaluation practice. Journal of Extension [Online], 47(3). Retrieved from: http://www.joe.org/joe/2009june/comm1.php
Roth, J., Brooks-Gunn, J., Murray, L., & Foster, W. (1998). Promoting healthy adolescents: Synthesis of youth development program evaluations. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 8(4), 423-459.
Roth, J. L., & Brooks-Gunn, J. (2016). Evaluating youth development programs: Progress and promise. Applied Developmental Science, 20(3), 188-202.
Small, S. & Memmo, M. (2004). Contemporary models of youth development and problem prevention: Toward an integration of terms, concepts, and models. Family Relations, 53(1), 3-11.
Search Institute (2014). The Search Institute model of youth thriving orientation: Overview of its evolution through recent funding from the Thrive Foundation for Youth. Unpublished manuscript.
Silliman, B., & Guin, A. (2012). Tracking evaluation capacity-building for youth professionals. Journal of Youth Development, 7(1), 24-34.
Stone, B. B., & Beiber, S. (1997). Competencies: A new language for our work. Journal of Extension, 35(1). Retrieved from: http://www.joe.org/joe/1997february/comm1.html
Taylor-Powell, E. & Boyd, H.H. (2008). Evaluation capacity in complex organizations. In M. T. Braverman, M. Engle, M. E. Arnold, & R. A. Rennekamp (Eds.), Program evaluation in a complex organizational system: Lessons from Cooperative Extension. New Directions for Evaluation, 120, 55-69.
Walker, J. (2006). Intentional youth programs: Taking theory to practice. New Directions in Youth Development, 112, 75-92.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- The Author retains copyright in the Work, where the term “Work” shall include all digital objects that may result in subsequent electronic publication or distribution.
- Upon acceptance of the Work, the author shall grant to the Publisher the right of first publication of the Work.
- The Author shall grant to the Publisher and its agents the nonexclusive perpetual right and license to publish, archive, and make accessible the Work in whole or in part in all forms of media now or hereafter known under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License or its equivalent, which, for the avoidance of doubt, allows others to copy, distribute, and transmit the Work under the following conditions:
- Attribution—other users must attribute the Work in the manner specified by the author as indicated on the journal Web site;
- The Author is able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the nonexclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the Work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), as long as there is provided in the document an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post online a prepublication manuscript (but not the Publisher’s final formatted PDF version of the Work) in institutional repositories or on their Websites prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work. Any such posting made before acceptance and publication of the Work shall be updated upon publication to include a reference to the Publisher-assigned DOI (Digital Object Identifier) and a link to the online abstract for the final published Work in the Journal.
- Upon Publisher’s request, the Author agrees to furnish promptly to Publisher, at the Author’s own expense, written evidence of the permissions, licenses, and consents for use of third-party material included within the Work, except as determined by Publisher to be covered by the principles of Fair Use.
- The Author represents and warrants that:
- the Work is the Author’s original work;
- the Author has not transferred, and will not transfer, exclusive rights in the Work to any third party;
- the Work is not pending review or under consideration by another publisher;
- the Work has not previously been published;
- the Work contains no misrepresentation or infringement of the Work or property of other authors or third parties; and
- the Work contains no libel, invasion of privacy, or other unlawful matter.
- The Author agrees to indemnify and hold Publisher harmless from Author’s breach of the representations and warranties contained in Paragraph 6 above, as well as any claim or proceeding relating to Publisher’s use and publication of any content contained in the Work, including third-party content.
Revised 7/16/2018. Revision Description: Removed outdated link.