Camp Program Quality Assessment (CPQA) (short form)

For camps interested in taking a "baby step" toward assessing the quality of their programs and their contribution to youth development, the CPQA short form may be a great option. The Camp PQA Short Form is a free downloadable PDF designed for your staff team to use to examine, discuss, and plan to improve the quality of your camp program. The Short Form provides an introduction to the best practices of positive youth development contained in the full Camp PQA assessment tool. If you  would like more information on how you might use the CPQA short form, staff training tips, or even how to develop observational skills, you might want to consider using ACA's online Program Improvement Toolbox. To make the short form even more easy to use with staff training, CIT program, etc., consider using the CPQA short form Staff Checklist. This concise checklist of staff "Best Practices" is an easy reference when doing observations of programs and staff in a "management by walking around" approach!

Camp Program Quality Assessment (CPQA) (full form)

The Camp Program Quality Assessment (CPQA) 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 CPQA 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 CPQA is designed to support a robust assessment process that can be used under a range of conditions and for a variety of purposes:

  • The CPQA can be used in a wide variety of day and residential camp settings serving children 10 years old or older
  • The CPQA 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 CPQA 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 CPQA 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.

For more information on the full Camp PQA, please visit the CPQA page on the Weikart Center website. If you have additional questions, contact or the Weikart Centerat (734) 961-6900 or email