Deep Works

How do we know?

Deep has rigorous evaluation practices, and we measure youth achievement and program quality in a number of ways:

  1. Student school performance: Thanks to an MOU with the school district, Deep analyzes participants’ academic achievement before and after workshops. We evaluate before and after English Language Arts grades.
  2. Youth development surveys: We administer before and after “Developmental Assets Profile” surveys, developed by the Search Institute, which allow us to observe changes in 40 total developmental assets, both internal and external, that are foundational for learning across the curriculum. These include: commitment to learning, positive values, social competence, positive identity, and attitudes toward writing and learning.
  3. Writing rubric: Writing skills are assessed using the National Council of Teachers of English’s six-point rubric. This tool measures ideas, organization, vocabulary, voice, sentence fluency, and conventions, and is widely considered the most rigorous assessment tool available.
  4. Critical literacy rubric: Deep assesses Block by Block youths’ capacity to think critically, to make connections between their lives and their communities, and to write intelligently about such connections. Developed by literacy experts, this tool measures these capacities.
  5. Audience surveys: Audience members complete a survey that helps us assess audience reach, demographics, event quality, and perceptions about youth and their communities.
  6. Anecdotal data (evident in writing): “I felt abandoned and unwanted all my life. My only way to defend myself was to fight everyone, but I didn’t think how fighting would affect me in the long-run. I joined Deep and found out things about myself I never knew. I can write poetry. I released my emotions in my writing, and I felt free. I began to write poems about how I felt. Deep changed my life.” —André
  7. One of the best in the nation: Don’t take our word for it, take First Lady Michelle Obama’s. In 2015 Deep Center traveled to the White House to receive the nation’s highest honor for creative youth programs, the National Arts and Humanities Youth Programs Award.

First Lady Michelle Obama honors Deep Center’s André Massey
and executive director Dare Dukes at the White House

Program Outcomes

Deep youth do better in school.
Deep participants typically see remarkable increases in their grades. On average, 60% of youth participants see their ELA grades increase by nearly a full letter grade.

Deep youth thrive.
Deep participants see remarkable, often double-digit increases in emotional, social, and intellectual competencies that are critical to their ability to learn in any category and to thrive and develop as individuals and community members.

Deep youth see themselves as leaders in their communities.
Deep participants have all kinds of opportunities to use creative writing as a powerful tool for self-expression, building community pride, and speaking out on critical issues facing their neighborhoods and families.