Ideally, young people should take pre surveys within the first 25% of a program, and post surveys within the last 25% of a program. For example, if your program is four months long, survey young people by the end of the first month and again in the last month. Of course, the closer you're able to gather all surveys to the start and end dates of a program, the better.
However, we know that it isn't always possible to follow this rule for every young person. What should you do if you have one or more young people must take surveys at a non-ideal time?
Time got away from us at the beginning of program. How late is TOO late to start collecting pre-surveys?
Don’t fret! Hectic schedules get in the way, but it may not be too late to survey young people. Some data is better than no data, but you should consider how many days of programming and what activities are remaining. Do you believe the capacities that Hello Insight measures can be grown over the remaining period of program time and activities? If so, go for it and test your theory!
Do remember that, while reports will capture the date of the first survey submission, they will still list your true program start and end dates. You should keep that in mind as you interpret or communicate results.
We have one or more late program participants?
It may not be too late to collect surveys from these young people. Hello Insight gives you the ability to create additional groups within each site. If a good number of young people are starting the program well after the first 25% of program time, you could create a new group for them. As they will receive less program experiences than other participants that have been with you since the beginning, you may want to interpret their results differently. You still be able to see full program results with all young people in your reports, but you'll then be able to see the results of those that received the full program and those that did not.
Remember that, if you have late participants take surveys as a separate group, you'll need to have them complete surveys for their own groups at the end of the program.
We'd like to get an early start collecting post surveys, but when is it too early to collect post surveys?
Since Hello Insight measures the development of young people from pre to post, your goal is to have as many young people who took pre surveys also take post surveys. This will result in so-called "matched" surveys. It is usually best to collect data as close to the end of the program as possible. We know, however, that sometimes a group of young people need to leave a program early, such as a group of seniors who need to end afterschool activities earlier than others. By capturing their post survey, you'll be able to learn about their development — though keep in mind that you might not see as much growth for those you survey early. If you don't have a group of participants leaving early, you should always try to survey young people as close to the end of the program as possible.
Do you have some participants who need to leave the program early? If a few young people are leaving the program, early data may be better than no data. If a young person has to leave the program early, you can give them a post survey, as long as you expect to see growth in the amount of time they spent with you! Remember that their early post data will be mixed in with your other post results, so hopefully there are only a few young people in this scenario. For future use of Hello Insight, if this scenario of "early enders" is a large enough group of young people, then perhaps consider creating a separate group to capture both their pre and post surveys.