The Framework

Assets™ Getting To Outcomes® (AGTO): The Framework

Getting To Outcomes (GTO). GTO® is an implementation support model—specifying the ten steps (or sets of activities) prevention practitioners should take when carrying out high-quality programming. GTO presents each step as a question which can be used to guide practitioners to complete those steps (see Table 1). There are six steps for planning activities (steps 1-6), two steps for process and outcome evaluation (7-8), and two steps on the use of data to improve and sustain programs (9-10).

GTO is also an intervention that helps community practitioners apply the GTO steps, and build the knowledge and skills they need to answer those ten questions with quality—i.e., to perform each set of activities as close to optimal as possible. The intervention has three types of assistance: (1) the GTO manual of text and tools originally published by the RAND Corporation; (2) face-to-face training, and (3) onsite technical assistance. GTO engages existing programs (from evidence-based to home-grown) and the leadership of organizations which house these programs to improve their quality through support with no additional resources for implementation. As such, the goal of the GTO intervention is to help the leadership of community organizations to integrate the practices GTO targets into routine operations, closing the gap between research and practice.

Developmental Assets. The Developmental Assets model states that in order to thrive, young people need 40 key developmental supports and experiences that include but are broader than the notion of protective factors. From a caring school climate to participation in high-quality after-school programs, these factors have been shown to predict health and well-being outcomes consistently across sex, race-ethnicity, and family income. Further, Search Institute has developed many tools and resources to support communities to mobilize and promote the development of assets in their young people.

Table 1. The 10 GTO Steps and Information Presented in the Manual: Getting To Outcomes with Developmental Assets

Table 1. The 10 GTO Steps and Information Presented in the Manual:
Getting To Outcomes with Developmental Assets
  1. What are the needs, risks, resources, and conditions to address? AGTO Step #1 provides information about conducting an assets-based needs and resources assessment.
  1. What are the goals & desired outcomes? AGTO Step #2 has worksheets for creating measurable goals & desired outcomes that focus on building assets among youth.
  1. How will you achieve your goals effectively? AGTO Step #3 overviews the importance of using evidence-based programming, that successfully build assets.
  1. How does your work fir with existing programs or initiatives? AGTO Step #4 prompts readers to reduce duplication and facilitate collaboration with other asset-promoting efforts.
  1. What capacities will you need to implement your programs or initiatives? AGTO Step #5 prompts readers to ensure there is sufficient organizational capacity to conduct the program.
  1. What is your plan? AGTO Step #6 presents information and tools to plan activities.
  1. How will you assess the quality of implementation? AGTO Step #7 provides information/tools to do process evaluation.
  1. How will you determine if the programs or initiative is working? AGTO Step #8 presents information/tools to do outcome evaluation.
  1. What continuous quality improvement efforts do you need to improve your work? AGTO Step #9 prompts practitioners to reassess Accountability Questions 1–8 after completing the program to improve the program.
  1. If the programs or initiatives is successful, how will it be sustained? AGTO Step #10 presents several ideas to consider when attempting to sustain an effective program.

Combining GTO with Developmental Assets. Search Institute’s community mobilization and planning process was integrated with the 10 GTO steps so that each step was enhanced to include a specific focus on building the 40 Developmental Assets. For example, during Step 1 individuals utilize both asset and thriving indicators, as well as risk and deficit information to help select priorities for program focus. Together, the combined intervention is called Assets-Getting To Outcomes, or AGTO. To support this new combination, the original GTO manual published by the RAND Corporation was adapted and integrated with the Developmental Assets approach by Search Institute (Fisher, D., Imm, P. S., Chinman, M., & Wandersman, A. (2006).

1. Developmental Assets is a registered trademark of Search Institute.

2. Getting to Outcomes and “GTO” are registered trademarks of the RAND Corporation and the University of South Carolina.