Camp Program Quality Assessment (C-PQA)

The Camp Program Quality Assessment (C-PQA) is an observational tool that helps camps assess the types of interactions and experiences available in the camp setting that contribute to positive youth development. The resulting quantitative scores are documented with specific evidence gathered during the observation period. The C-PQA is based on the High/Scope Youth Program Quality Assessment (Youth PQA), which was scientifically validated in 2004 and continues to be improved through its use in youth program networks across the United States.

Like the Youth PQA, the C-PQA is designed to support a robust assessment process that can be used under a range of conditions and for a variety of purposes:

  • The C-PQA can be used in a wide variety of day and residential camp settings serving children 10 years old or older
  • The C-PQA has valid application as:
    (1) a self-assessment by internal staff teams,
    (2) a monitoring and feedback tool for supervisory staff, and
    (3) a quality metric for external evaluation and research
  • The C-PQA can be used easily by administrative staff after a brief training
  • Support services and trainings are being developed to help camp professionals incorporate this tool into their improvement and evaluation plans.

The C-PQA consists of 3 forms:

  • FORM A: Program offerings. This observational form is designed for structured programs that youth attend for a set time with a set purpose while at camp. These offerings may be referred to as programs, clubs, workshops, classes, etc.
  • FORM B: Informal climate. This observational form is designed to capture youth experiences
    in non-program offering times. Form B also includes an optional segment that focuses on the camp's attempts to develop an affinity for nature component in their programs for campers. Examples include meal times, transition times, group time, etc.
  • FORM C: Camp structure and administration. This form is intended to capture how the camp's structure and administration support program quality. This form is completed through an interview with the camp director or other appropriate person.

If interested in learning more about the C-PQA and how to use it in a program improvement process, please check out the ACA Program Quality Toolbox. This online toolbox provides background information on program quality considerations, how to use the observation tool, and tips for staff training!