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Youth Participatory Evaluation
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Youth Participatory Evaluation (YPE)

Youth Participatory Evaluation (YPE)


Program Overview

YPE equips young people at every MPS middle school and high school with research and evaluation skills, and takes a democratic approach to legitimize and leverage the voices of young people in shaping their education. A Youth Voice Advisor and Evaluation Coach support youth throughout the evaluation process. Youth’s recommendations result in system-wide learning and contribute to school and District discussions and decisions.
The District’s agreement with the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) included the establishment of student committees to make recommendations about district policies or practices. Each year, YPE teams conduct an evaluation on a topic related to school climate or student engagement.


YPE empowers underrepresented voices in our schools and provides a positive, proactive space for students to advocate for school change. In the 17-18 school year, black students in MPS were over four more likely to receive a suspension than their peers, and students who qualify for Free or Reduced Price Lunch were nearly five times more likely — both in line with national trends. YPE asks these youth to shape the conversation around school improvement and climate.

Findings & Recommendations

REA partnered with Gabe Spinks, the 2017 MPS Student Board Representative, to conduct a meta-analysis using each YPE team’s 2018-19 project as a data source. Three interconnected themes that span across schools and topic areas emerged. These themes are described in detail, along with summarized recommendations, in their own memo (linked below):

  • RELATIONSHIPS: student identity, the presence or lack of trust, and a perceived belief gap all impact student-to-staff and student-to-student relationships.
  • SCHOOL POLICIES: students want to see changes in some school policies as they feel many are enforced inequitably and predictably by student identity.
  • STUDENT LEARNING: student learning is impacted by a school climate and environment that often lacks diversity, engaging and culturally relevant curricula, and positive student-teacher relationships.

REA has also studied the impact of program participation. Participants have identified that YPE has increased their ability to collaborate, have empathy for their classmates’ experiences, collect and analyze data, and take on a leadership role with confidence. The program also has developed students’ sense of agency; as one participant said, “It made me feel like I have a voice. I think it made everyone feel like they have a voice and it matters.”

Youth Projects

This document provides links to YPE projects from the 2015-16 school year through 2019-20 school year, organized by themes presented in the YPE Memos. Click the links below to view past student projects by year:

2018-19 YPE Projects
2017-18 YPE Projects
2016-17 YPE Projects


Sophie Pilhofer, Evaluation Specialist


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