Youth Development Software FAQ
Intern/ Consultant, Philadelphia
SETS is a comprehensive and unique assessment software to assist organizations in tracking both qualitative and quantitative data, and that was exactly what we needed!
It only takes a few hours after using the tool to understand how it works and how to use it most effectively.
SETS is an easy, accurate, and effective way to measure progress.
SETS as a Program Management Tool
Yes. SETS maintains all contact information about students, staff, and significant others, and you can compile and share reports on these contacts.
SETS provides program oversight of afterschool programs by reporting on:
- all necessary personal record keeping information
- student demographics
- teacher progress notes and qualitative reports
- student interests served
- which classes and sections are currently offered
- which are open for additional enrollment
- which teachers and students are in each class
- staff and student attendance
- teacher evaluation and goal-oriented support.
By utilizing this basic data with the student evaluations, directors keep operations flowing smoothly, plus see which teachers / mentors are the most effective and who might need additional support.
SETS’ management reports help administrators ensure program fidelity to standards while controlling costs by reducing paperwork and redundancies.
SETS generates more funding by verifying the efficacy of the program to potential funders.
SETS as a Student Assessment Tool
Sets uses three scales:
1. The Student Observation Scale (completed by teacher / mentor) 2. The Self Esteem Scale (completed by students), 3. The Student Assessment Scale (completed by an adult with knowledge of the student’s behavior).
SETS also contains a Staff Assessment Scale for tracking and assessment of teachers and staff.
SETS utilizes anchor points to ensure consistent scoring of students' progress among teachers and staff. (We can show you this in a tour).
Goal setting is one of the measurements used in the student evaluation process. teachers / mentors set one skill and one personal goal for each student for each assessment period (the assessment period is determined by the program director).
Goals are designed to be achievable by the next observation, thus improving short-term success levels that motivates the student toward self sufficiency in successful learning. Achievement levels of the preceding period’s goals are also scored.
On-screen guidelines facilitate the setting of clear, attainable goals and for scoring the goals’ attainment. All of this information – qualitative and quantitative – is automatically included when evaluation reports are compiled. Funders love this combination of quantitative and qualitative information.
SETS as a Teaching Tool
The evaluation and assessment scales focus teachers and staff on the Fundamentals of Empowerment™, core learning points and abilities that are prerequisites to any real learning or personal empowerment for all students and essential for those who are challenged.
When teachers, mentors or staff are working with students it's as if they have a guide offering various perspectives or points of focus to develop strategies and approaches for their students. By providing these perspectives, SETS becomes an ongoing staff development tool as opposed to short-lived, more superficial techniques.
Because SETS highlights student strengths, it allows instructors to develop individualized strategies that encourage achievement while minimizing discouragement. SETS also helps teachers identify student limitations, so they can develop remedial activities and identify and compare the effectiveness of various teaching strategies.
SETS' assessment component uitutilizes and builds upon best practices:
- It was developed in conjunction with the resesarch-based methodologies of the Search Institute's Developmental Assets, Jung/Briggs-Myers Personality Assessment, Harold Gardner's Multiple Intelligences, and the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale.
- Working with other educators, social workers, therapists, and research scientists, Merge director Bill Rossi broke new ground by precisely defining the underlying skills and abilities necessary for self-directed learning These Fundamentals of Empowerment™ measure core learning principles in the student's relation himself, in his relation to the teacher, and in relation to his skill development.
Ease of Use
Day to Day Use: Thanks to years of design, testing, and refining in the field, SETS is so essential, integrated, and fluid to use that it makes sense. That makes it friendly for the day-to-day user.
Initial Configuration: Setting up SETS for use in your organization requires consideration. Just as you wouldn't jump into QuickBooks without some thought, you need to understand how SETS works before you begin to configure it for your use.
If you want great results, first spend time with the Sandbox database to get a feel for how things look. Then configure SETS by working through the Program Director Manual step by step, referring to the main SETS User Manual for any clarification.
Most day-to-day users are up and going quickly with simple self-training. SETS comes complete with short video tutorials and quick start manuals, and – for more complicated or subtle processes – a comprehensive user manual with answers to every question you could possibly have.
SETS also comes with a “Sandbox” database – a place to play around and get comfortable. If you have questions, we're here for you. In addition to any needed initial installation or startup support, the purchase price includes 9 free Q&A phone calls or emails within the first three months and a monthly email thereafter.
SETS requires Windows XP or Windows 7 or above; Mac users purchase software to bridge to Windows programs.
SETS operates on a single computer or Local Area Network. LAN users load the SETS application on each computer; the database is loaded onto the LAN to be accessed by all computers. Each SETS license accommodates installation on all computers within your organization - there is no charge for additional "seats".
Once you purchase SETS, you will be directed back to our site to the page with the download link (right click, save as). Carefully follow the instructions on that page to begin.
Installation will create a SETS folder with user manuals on your C drive A SETS shortcut will be placed on your desktop.
SETS’ ease of use is one of the reasons we can offer it so affordably, but we’re available by email if you need us. Although rarely necessary, you can purchase phone-based support if desired.
SETS is only $495. It resides on your pc, not the cloud, so there's no extra monthly expense.
Why is SETS so inexpensive compared to other evaluation software? SETS is priced low so community programs can afford it, and tech support by email helps keep prices down.
SETS is complete right out of the box, but you can customize any of the scales if you'd prefer to use your own metrics.
Worried you'll get the hard sell if you talk with us? Don't be. We've spent decades in the field; we know you're busy, we know you're smart, and we have no desire whatsoever to sell you SETS if it's not what you need.
A request for funding support to purchase SETS will most likely get approved by funders, including foundations looking for assessment or business people who want to support your program but first need to see good management oversight. A board member might also be a willing candidate for funding SETS.
Would you like some wording about SETS you can use in your grant requests? < we'll be happy to send it to you.
SETS has a specific security scheme to ensure information confidentiality. This scheme is detailed in the user manual; following are the most basic details of three of the levels:Director Security Level
- Can add, see and edit all records for all students and staff members
- Can add, see and edit Attendance records
- Can add, see and edit student enrollment in activities
- Can see reports for all students
- Can add and see records for all students and staff members but cannot edit them
- Can add new Attendance records but cannot see or edit existing ones
- Can add, see and edit student enrollment in activities
- Can see reports for all students
- Can see the identification records only for his students but cannot edit them once completed
- Can add new students, but introduce only some basic information
- Cannot see any staff identification records
When we say SETS is essential, we’re referring to its simplicity. Its ability to track the fundamental learning points and behavioral and emotional benchmarks is integrated into the program management. SETS was designed to accomplish a lot without fanfare, to truly make your job easier.
We hope we're not belaboring the point, but most directors and teachers actually enjoy using SETS. They like how SETS' intuitive design integrates their many tasks, provides comprehensive and easy program oversight, and helps hone their teaching skills by focusing on fundamental learning points.
SETS really does make everyone's job easier.
Bill Rossi developed SETS and used it for almost 20 years when he directed and managed afterschool nonprofit programs. Drawing from existing resources and methodologies including the Search Institute Assets, Briggs-Myers, Harold Gardener's Multiple Intelligences, and the Rosenberg Self Esteem Scale, Bill broke new ground as he worked with other educators, social workers, therapists, evaluation scientists and software developers to make SETS intuitive, cohesive, friendly, and efficient. The application software underwent development, testing, and fine tuning from 2008 – 2012.
Want a few more details on how this assessment software came to be so truly user friendly and intuitive? It's all in the context: a tool that's developed for decades out in the world to serve and accommodate the very real demands of real programs quite naturally becomes highly relevant and easy to use – out of necessity.
From 1985 to 1994, pianist and educator Bill Rossi developed, tested, and fine tuned his unique strengths-based mentoring approach. When he began hiring other teachers in 1994 as executive director of a small after school nonprofit, he saw the need to formalize the program structure and gather assessment data to demonstrate accountability and ensure funding. So SETS began, and for the first 6 years was developed within a growing community-based program.
In 2000, Bill expanded his program in Parsons Child & Family Center and St. Anne Institute in Albany, NY and continued to develop SETS working closely with various social service providers including psychiatrists, therapists, child care workers, social workers, academic teachers, and artist educators.
In 2008, as the country entered a deep financial recession, Bill took his program to the exurbs of Philadelphia. County executives verified that the evaluation tool was the deciding factor in the County’s awarding a series of multi-year contracts. From 2008-2012, SETS underwent beta testing and was refined into the essential tool it is today.