The Future of Youth Development: Multiple Wisdoms, Alternate Pathways and Aligned Accountability

Dale A. Blyth


Based on trends and events observed or experienced by the author over the last 30 years in research, evaluation and practice, this article examines three challenges facing and shaping the future of the youth programs as contexts for development. The first challenge surrounds how the field comes to understand, value and integrate different forms of knowing -- particularly quantitative data. The second challenge represents how the field shifts from proving it makes a difference to improving the ways it makes a difference by expanding the pathways to impact. The third challenge regards how the field responds to and shapes accountability pressures in ways that better align accountability rather than succumb to it. Implications of each challenge for effectively bridging research and practice are noted.

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