Choosing the Right Evaluation Tool

Photograph of a woman holding an evaluation form on a clipboard.

Are you evaluating your programs to see whether you are making a difference in the lives of the young people you serve? (Hint: Your answer should be "yes.")

There's help for you as you wade through the many surveys, checklists and assessments that can be used to measure the effectiveness of youth programs. The following guides can help you choose the evaluation tools that best fit your program:

  1. "Measurement Tools for Evaluating Out-of-School Time Programs: An Evaluation Resource," a new guide from the Harvard Family Research Project, describes more than 100 evaluation instruments. Among the tools included on the list are ones that measure "Academic/Educational Attitudes and Values," "Life Events and Experiences," and "Future Orientation/Future Plans."
  2. From Soft Skills to Hard Data: Measuring Youth Program Outcomes,” from the Forum for Youth Investment, reviews eight outcome-measurement tools that can be used to evaluate afterschool programs and other programs for youth. To learn more about the report and about selecting evaluation tools, read NCFY's recent Q&A with FYI's Alicia Wilson-Ahlstrom.
  3. NCFY's "Assessment and Screening Tools for Measuring Mental Health, Substance Abuse, and Independent Living Skills in Adolescents" includes several tools that can be used to measure how well programs are working.
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