From Soft Skills to Hard Data: Measuring Youth Program Outcomes


Everyone who runs a youth program believes in their hearts that their program helps kids – but in their heads, they know they need convincing data to prove it.

This new guide from the Forum for Youth Investment – From Soft Skills to Hard Data: Measuring Youth Program Outcomes – is here to help them get it.

The guide addresses a common problem throughout the youth field: We know that out-of-school time (OST) programs can help youth develop skills and attributes they need to be ready for college, work and life – skills and attributes like communications, relationships and collaboration, critical thinking and decision making, and initiative and self-direction. But few OST programs have the tools to effectively measure those outcomes. Finding the right one can be daunting.

From Soft Skills to Hard Data reviews eight youth outcome measurement tools that are appropriate for use in after-school and other settings. For each tool, it provides sample items and crucial information about usability, cost, and evidence of reliability and validity. A companion to the Forum’s Measuring Youth Program Quality, the guide can help providers select conceptually grounded, psychometrically sound measures appropriate for programs that serve upper-elementary- through high school-aged youth.


Authors: Nicole Yohalem,Alicia Wilson-Ahlstrom,David DuBois,and Peter Ji

Publisher: Forum for Youth Investment

soft_skills_hard_data.pdf - 1.28 MB
Soft_Skills_Hard_Data_Tech_Appendix_10_3-1.pdf - 1.31 MB