Evaluation & Assessment

Overview

This cross-cutting theme focuses on improving the effectiveness, sustainability, and scale of programs by sharing data on what works and what doesn’t, and methodologies for monitoring, evaluation, and impact assessment.   Improved practices in this area promise to provide stakeholders with enhanced understanding of which interventions have meaningful impact, what the likely return on investment will be, and how to design and implement improved monitoring and evaluation initiatives.

Where are we now?

As the YEO field matures, pilot programs and anecdotal data have given way to increasingly sophisticated approaches to program measurement and learning. These advances are critical to scale, replication, policy and government partnership initiatives. However, more work remains. Confusion about the purpose and practice of monitoring, evaluation and assessment, and the way it can contribute to learning with an organization or program still exists.  A common language for this area along with standardized measures of cost and benefit are also necessary to ensure discussions are productive and evaluations reflect a common framework of practice.

Trends and emerging practices

  • Donors are advocating for more rigorous evaluation to ensure greater accountability and learning.
  • Although randomized controlled trials (RCTs) are the gold standard, they can be expensive and time consuming, leading some donors to find quasi-experimental and impact evaluations very appealing, while others invest more significantly in M&E activities.
  • For corporations and foundations, evaluations are important to measure the social value proposition and social impact of their investments to consumers, customers, and employees.
  • More implementers are recognizing the importance of investing in good M&E, so they can demonstrate to donors their organization's social value proposition, particularly to impact investors.
  • More organizations are successfully using mixed methods approaches (both quantitative and qualitative data) to M&E.
  • Survey and focus group tools should be tested and finalized with young people for tools to achieve greater reliability and validity.
  • Data from young people should be triangulated with data from significant adults in their lives (such as parents, guardians, and teachers) to contextualize its meaning and importance.
  • More organizations are recognizing that existing M&E staff may not have the skills set required to engage young people, so training on how to conduct youth-inclusive M&E is important. 
  • Young people are not homogeneous, so questions need to be framed differently for young men and young women, youth from urban and rural communities, and/or youth from different socio-economic groups.

 

Evaluation & Assessment: Blogs

Are Data Producers and Users Like Mars and Venus in the Office?

M&E has been at the core of Save the Children’s youth employment programs. We have staffed up M&E to produce great data. But are we using it to learn and improve programming? Sometimes it feels like data producers are like Mars and the intended data users are like Venus – Mars doesn’t communicate data enough and Venus doesn’t take action based on the data. The result is lots of missed opportunities to learn and continuously improve programs. 

USAID Awards YouthPower, an Agency-Wide Mechanism to Achieve Positive Youth Outcomes

Over the past few months, USAID Bureaus for Global Health (GH); Economic Growth, Education, and Environment (E3); and Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance (DCHA) announced the awards of the long-awaited YouthPower: Implementation and YouthPower: Evidence and Evaluation contracts.

Advancing an Evidence-Based Agenda for the World’s Young Women & Girls (and Boys!)

Originally published NRG Advisory on April 11, 2015  

Last month at the United Nations, as Women’s History Month was drawing to a close, Intergovernmental negotiations continued toward a post-2015 framework to follow the expiring Millennium Development Goals with a focus on goals, targets and indicators. Promoting gender equality remained one of the top priorities.

August E-Bulletin: How Planning and Partnerships are Advancing the Field of Youth Economic Opportunities

Making Cents International offers this newsletter for the donors, policy makers, corporations, researchers, implementers and youth leaders increasing the scale, sustainability and effectiveness of youth economic inclusion programming. View the August newsletter here

Resource Type: 
E-Resource

July E-Bulletin: Smart Investments to Expand Youth Economic Opportunity

Making Cents International offers this newsletter for the donors, policy makers, corporations, researchers, implementers and youth leaders increasing the scale, sustainability and effectiveness of youth economic inclusion programming. 

New Vision for Education: Unlocking the Potential of Technology

To thrive in a rapidly evolving, technology-mediated world, students must not only possess strong skills in areas such as language arts, mathematics and science, but they must also be adept at skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, persistence, collaboration and curiosity. All too often, however, students in many countries are not attaining these skills. In this context, the World Economic Forum has taken on a multi-year initiative, New Vision for Education, to examine the pressing issue of skills gaps and explore ways to address these gaps through technology.

Resource Type: 
Report