Measuring youth provision
The Centre supports practitioners, commissioners and funders to develop appropriate, effective and robust tools for measuring the difference their provision and activity makes to young people’s social and emotional skills. Learn more about our approach to measurement and how you can get involved.
Outcomes for young people
Our work is guided by the Outcomes Framework 2.0 – a shared framework for everyone working with and for young people to work towards developing the skills and capabilities that research suggests support positive and healthy development through adolescence and into adulthood. The framework considers the conditions and experiences through which young people develop these skills, and in which they grow and thrive.
We want to ensure that those working with young people can understand how their provision and activities affect young people. We do this by understanding:
- Changes in social and emotional skills: these measure the significant medium- to long-term changes in young people’s skill base. These are measured based on an understanding of where young people were at before they start, during and potentially after taking part in youth provision. In addition, they may track how these skills show up in other areas of young people’s lives – for example, how they engage with peers or families, or in the longer term, changes in their health and livelihoods.
- Changes in behaviour: these measure young people’s social and emotional skills in youth provision settings. It is often captured by observation by practitioners and connects how young people behave with the relationships within and quality of provision
- Young people’s engagement: these measures young people’s experiences of provision. It is often captured by seeking the views of young people through feedback mechanisms to understand how their social and emotional skills interact with their experience of the provision and their relationships with practitioners.
Developing appropriate tools
There is no one way to measure youth provision across these areas. However, some measures are likely to be more reliable, valid, and appropriate than others. In addition, when the measures are shared or common across different forms of provision, we can better understand the factors that drive change in young people’s lives.
To develop measures tailor-made for informal and non-formal youth provision, the Centre has drawn on high-quality international research and the view of UK practitioners and young people. We know that measurement only works when providers and young people feel they are feasible and have the time, motivation, and infrastructure necessary to complete the measures.
We are currently developing four measures for use within UK youth provision:
- Programme Quality Assessment (PQA): Measures the quality of your provision based on observable staff behaviours that support youth engagement and development.
- Youth Engagement Survey (YES): Measures young people’s engagement with your provision
- Adult Rating of Youth Behaviour (ARYB): Measures young people’s social and emotional skills within the supportive environment of your provision.
- Youth Report of SEL Skills (YRSS): Measures young people’s social and emotional skills in their lives outside of your provision (e.g., with their family, in schools, and in employment).
The measures are intended to be used as the main monitoring and evaluation tools of provision or integrated into or alongside existing monitoring and evaluation practices.
The Centre has been using these measures across a wide range of different youth provision. Based on these experiences, we are developing:
- explanatory guidance of the evidence base for the measures or for particular interest groups like funders
- practice guidance on how to use the measures, including in specific types of provision like open-access centres or detached and street-based work
- data collection tools that allow organisations to collate and analyse findings.
In 2021 we launched a Practitioners Panel to work with us to further test, review and assess the measures and make them fit for use in a wide range of settings.
If you would like to be sent a copy of the measures and/or be involved in our work to develop them, let us know here. After completing a short form, we’ll email you the measures and guidance for using them.