Tiger Woods Learning Center: Ongoing Evaluation Partnership

  • Co-funded by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation and the Tiger Woods Foundation
  • Deborah Lowe Vandell, Mark Warschauer, Valerie Hall, Pilar O’Cadiz, Femi Vance, Andrea Karsh

The evaluation study has two purposes: (1) to document program implementation and the experiences of center participants and (2) to assess youth developmental outcomes in relation to participation in center activities.

Reports | Key Findings | Measures


Phase 1: 2008 evaluation (three volumes)

Part I [PDF documentation] Part I focuses on the after-school programs for youth in Grades 7-12. It includes an introduction and overview of the report, study design, a description of the program components, detailed analysis of program attendance, implementation study findings, and youth outcomes study findings including youth survey results and case studies narrating the center’s effects on the lives of youth and families.

Part II [PDF documentation] Part II documents our 1-year evaluation (2007-2008) of the day program for fifth and sixth grade students, and the professional development program for in-service teachers. The day program focuses on providing elementary school students with hands-on science and other enrichment experiences. Teachers participated in workshops on science lessons, assets development, and integration of technology into their classrooms.

Part III [PDF documentation] The third volume includes the measures used in this evaluation, program and activity schedules, and samples of curriculum and student work.

Phase 2: 2010 Evaluation Report

Tiger Woods Learning Center: Using Data to Inform Program Planning and Improvement. [PDF documentation]

Phase 3: 2012 Evaluation Report

Assessing Student Outcomes in Sporadic and Regular Program Participants and Understanding Sources of Program Attrition. [PDF documentation]

Key Findings

Phase 1: 2006-2008

Both qualitative and quantitative methods were used to obtain evaluation data, including extensive observations of program activities; interviews and surveys of youth, parents, center staff, and teachers; and the collection and analysis of student-produced work, program documents, and curriculum materials. In-depth case studies provided detailed portraits of select students. 

The implementation findings indicate that the center succeeded in mounting a high-quality program, as seen in evidence of positive social relationships among youth and between youth and center staff; encouragement of youth exploration of interests and potential career options; development of youths’ sense of academic competence and motivation to achieve; promotion of community service and development of youth leadership skills and sense of responsibility to community; youth engagement in interactive and participatory learning; and continuous program improvement. The program achieved dramatic growth in its offerings and impressive success in the recruitment of junior high and high school students. Center administration and staff demonstrated great versatility in creating and revising course offerings, continually adapting to the needs and interests of its diverse student population.

We also examined changes in youth functioning across the second year of center operation by dosage (measured as number of days attended) and duration (measured as weeks elapsed between the student’s first and last days of attendance) of program participation. Analyses of pre- and posttest measures indicated that students who attended the center for 30 or more days across the school year reported better grades at school, better work habits at school, and greater science efficacy compared to program participants who attended fewer days. Self-reports of students who attended the center 10-29 days during the year were roughly the same at pre- and posttest, and students who attended fewer than 10 days reported declines in performance. Similarly, students whose duration of center attendance was 21 or more weeks self-reported large reductions in negative behaviors, whereas durations of 7-20.5 weeks were associated with small reductions in these behaviors. No change was evident in self-reports of negative behaviors among students whose attendance duration was less than 7 weeks. Additionally, positive effects on students’ academic and career goals, relationships with peers and adults, and optimism about future success in life were consistently revealed in interviews, surveys, and observations.

Phase 2: 2008-2010

In a second phase, the UCI researchers worked with TWLC administration and staff to develop a robust system to collect program attendance for individual students at the center and classroom levels and also measured student and parent satisfaction with the Center’s diverse course offerings. These data indicated that both parents and youth were very satisfied with the services provided by TWLC.

The purpose of phase 2 was to strengthen ongoing program planning and improvement at the Tiger Woods Learning Center (TWLC) through the use of evaluation data. In this regard the study aimed to: (1) assist the TWLC in the development of a robust attendance monitoring system; (2) analyze attendance data to identify specific patterns and characteristics of high attending youth in the Career Exploration Program. (3) Assess parent and student perceptions of the program.

Findings showed that TWLC’s investment in a robust attendance monitoring system resulted in a better understanding of the attendance patterns of TWLC students and youth perceptions of the program, information that can be used to inform program delivery. The attendance data indicated fairly stable levels of attendance with the development of the monitoring system. Survey data describe the views of families whose children attend the center more than other TWLC students and indicated that parents and youth are very satisfied with TWLC. Youth surveys showed that students have a strong interest in the program content offered at the Learning Center and that they would be interested in taking another course in the same content area. Students also reported mastering the course content. Recommendations for further program improvement efforts are provided.

Phase 3: 2011-2012

The Phase 3 study of the TWLC during the 2011-2012 program year sought to build on and expand on this previous work. The Phase 3 study consisted of two components: (1) a quantitative component studying student outcomes included analysis of pre-post student outcomes in the areas of skill development, attitudes and beliefs, and positive behavior; (2) a qualitative component studying students’ experience at three TWLC programs and factors that contribute to program attrition. TWLC 2012 Key Findings (pdf)

A. Quantitative findings (Youth Surveys):

  • Students reported having high quality experiences at their TWLC site.
  • Quality of program experiences was significantly linked to students’ skill development, attitudes and beliefs, and positive behaviors.
  • Students reported strong levels of skill development.
  • Students reported positive attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors.

B. Qualitative findings (Youth Interviews):

  1. Student reported factors contributing to retention in program:
    • Opportunities to meet new people and work collaboratively with peers.
    • Learning about new areas of knowledge and developing skills relevant to their academic work at school, their career aspirations and other interests.
    • Instructors supported their learning and were knowledgeable and competent in the topics they were teaching.


  2. Student reported factors contributing to dropping out of the program or attrition:
    • Time and distance are most common reasons for dropping out of the program.
    • Program structure [two hours, two days a week] made it difficult for some students to complete an eight-week course, given demands from family, school and other extracurricular activities.
    • Limited knowledge of the activities and services available at the TWLC, including enrollment procedures, course offerings, weekend and summer programming, homework assistance, and college information and support.
    • A few students who dropped out of the program indicated unmet expectations, boredom and disappointment.


Phase 1 Part III [PDF documentation]
Phase 2 TWLC Pre-Survey (pdf)
Phase 2 TWLC Post-Survey (pdf)

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