The Outward Bound Outcomes Instrument (OBOI) was developed through a national initiative that utilized extensive evaluation of other experiential education and outdoor industry research tools with assistance from an external research advisory committee. The OBOI assesses wilderness courses as well as Portland Center programming to ensure we are meeting our outcomes of leadership, character development, and service. Evaluations that capture qualitative and quantitative data are taken from every student, as well as from parents or guardians and course instructors to track students’ progress and achievements. Forms are mined for qualitative data by staff and volunteers within Northwest Outward Bound School. To access experts in statistical analysis of quantitative data, a partnership was established with Alan Ewert, Ph.D, a professor within the Department of Recreation, Park, and Tourism Studies at Indiana University, who leads a team of graduate students to pull out relevant statistics for our use.
In addition, Portland Center staff works in collaboration with current school district partners to collect and analyze data in regards to academic performance. At the end of each semester, the Portland Center measures the following outcomes: increased attendance, improved grade point average, and decreased behavioral incidents. Finally, we track graduation rates of the youth we serve in comparison to rates of the general school population.