Assessment for At-Risk Youth: A New Model of the Assessment Instruments for the Detroit Youth Opportunity Program

Degree Name

MS in Management

First Advisor

Ralph Meima


Assessment of at-risk youth involves the use of effective formal and informal assessment instruments that diagnose at-risk youth skills, deficits, needs and conditional variables, and effective individual service strategies that develop competencies, provide a roadmap for program services, document achievements and develop exit criteria for completion of program services. The Detroit Youth Opportunity Program, a federally funded training and employment initiative for at-risk youth, is examined in this particular case for the purpose of developing new models of assessment instruments because its assessment system lacks informal assessment instruments and an adequate individual service strategy. Three surveys were used to poll staff regarding the program’s assessment system. The first survey, the Decision Maker’s Assessment Hindrance Matrix, measures the levels of hindrance in the program’s assessment system. The Assessment Background survey sets the context for the assessment system by defining the characteristics of the target population, the function of assessment and the outcomes of the program. The Individual Service Strategy Survey focuses on redeveloping the Individual Service Strategy by aligning program outcomes with the structure of the instrument. New models of the individual service strategy and informal assessment instruments were developed to gather more useful information about the target population, to draw clear lines between youth needs and program services, to be accountable to youth, to develop competencies, to gather information for program planning and building service alliances and to meet compliance standards and reporting requirements. Since many programs erroneously base assessment on compliance standards, it will be necessary for programs and donors to work together to build comprehensive assessment systems that meet youth needs.


Other Sociology | Urban Studies and Planning

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