City Year, Inc.

Youth Development / Expanded Learning Opportunities
City Year
PSA Director
Leslie M. Anderson

City Year, Inc.

PSA recently completed a new study assessing the impacts of City Year’s Whole School Whole Child (WSWC) model on the performance of 150 schools—in 22 cities and 17 states—that partnered with City Year in 2011-12, 2012-13, and 2013-14. City Year is an education-focused nonprofit organization that partners with public schools to help keep students in school and on track to graduate. City Year corps members are 17 to 24-year-olds who commit to deliver one year of full‑time, team-based service in elementary, middle, or high schools. The purpose of the study was to develop a method for using publicly available, but varied, state-level measures of student performance to measure—using multivariate analysis techniques and a comparison group design—the school-level impact of City Year. The study found that schools that had partnered with City Year were two to three times more likely to show improvement on state ELA and math assessments compared with schools that shared similar demographic and performance characteristics but that had not partnered with City Year. These differences were found for performance on state ELA assessments in 2011-12, 2012-13, and 2013-14, and for state math assessments in 2011-12 and 2012-13.

Full Report

City Year Los Angeles

PSA recently completed a study of the impacts of City Year Los Angeles’s Whole School Whole Child model on participating elementary and middle school students. The study employed multi-level modeling to assess the impact of the program on test scores for students who receive academic and in-school supports and who participate in City Year Los Angeles’s after school program.

City Year New York

In compliance with its AmeriCorps funding requirements, City Year New York contracted with PSA from 2009-10 to 2012-13 to serve as its external program evaluator. For this evaluation, PSA assessed the implementation, outcomes, and impact of the literacy tutoring component of City Year’s Whole School Whole Child (WSWC) service model. The evaluation answered central questions about the effectiveness of the model in improving student literacy in elementary and middle schools in New York City. The evaluation measured school-level variations in model implementation, relying on corps member, teacher, and principal survey data collected by City Year New York as well as data from site visits to a sample of elementary and middle schools that implemented the WSWC model. The study used hierarchical linear modeling to compare participating students’ performance on the state assessment of English language arts to that of a matched comparison group of students from similar schools that did not implement the WSWC model.

Full Report

City Year Alumni Studies

PSA conducted the City Year Alumni Studies, a set of three interlocking studies designed to assess the impact of City Year on the youth who participate in its programs. In three studies, PSA evaluators assessed the impact of City Year on alumni at various intervals after completing the City Year experience.

Summary of Findings

  • Compared with members of comparison groups, City Year alumni exhibited higher levels of civic engagement and political participation. For example, City Year alumni were more likely to volunteer, vote, and engage in other forms of political expression.
  • City Year alumni also exhibited a stronger sense of political efficacy, a stronger commitment to egalitarianism, and a stronger sense of social trust.
  • Younger City Year alumni tended to have slightly larger networks of close friends than did members of the comparison group, and they were more likely to have a close friend of another race or social class.
  • Alumni reported that their City Year experience had taught them to work effectively with others and had helped them to cultivate relationships with more diverse groups of people. They also reported that these experiences had been the most valuable aspects of their service year.
  • City Year parents interviewed for the alumni studies were overwhelmingly positive about their child's experience with City Year. They credited City Year with helping their children to develop maturity, independence, self-confidence, understanding for others, and the skills to set and reach personal goals.
  • Younger City Year alumni were more likely than comparison-group members to report that they were working in education, youth, or social services areas in which they had worked while at City Year.
  • After graduating from City Year, most alumni returned to school at some point to continue their education, and the majority credited City Year with helping them to achieve their educational goals.
Full Report

The City Year Experience: Putting Alumni on the Path to Lifelong Civic Engagement

The Alumni Cohort Study drew on surveys of 2,189 City Year alumni who had served with City Year between 1988 (the summer of the program's first pilot project) and 2003. This report describes the population of City Year alumni, including the career and educational choices they made after completing City Year, and assesses City Year's impact on alumni's civic engagement, including volunteering, voting, and other forms of political participation. The report compares City Year alumni and similarly situated members of the general population through secondary analyses of publicly available data.

Full Report

City Year Parent Study: Exploring City Year's Impact on Younger Alumni and Their Parents

The City Year Parent Study drew on interviews with 210 parents of City Year alumni who had graduated from the program between 1999 and 2003. This report presents parents' perspectives on the growth and development of their children during and after their City Year experience, triangulates alumni perceptions of City Year's impact with those of their parents, and explores the ways in which habits of civic engagement and voluntarism may spread from City Year members to their immediate families.

Full Report

The Effect of the City Year Experience over Time: Findings from the Longitudinal Study of Alumni

The Longitudinal Study of Alumni followed a sample of 100 corps members who served with City Year in 2002-03 over four years, as well as a group of 100 similarly situated youth who had applied to serve with City Year, had been accepted, but decided not to participate. The longitudinal study report assessed City Year participants' patterns of civic engagement, civic leadership, and development of social capital over four years, compared with outcomes for the comparison group.

Full Report