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

Advance Youth Employment with Structured Experiential Learning and Evaluative Thinking (part 2)

Following the first and second blog, this is part 2 of the conversation between Structured Experiential Learning (SEL) and Evaluative Thinking (ET), led by Save the Children, CRS and CORE.

Advance Youth Employment with Structured Experiential Learning and Evaluative Thinking (part 1)

This is the second entry of Save the Children’s blog series on the Structured Experiential Learning (SEL) process for youth employment. The first blog talked about how SEL connects data users and data producers (like Mars and Venus hanging out together!). This time, SEL has the opportunity to meet its friend: Evaluative Thinking (ET). SEL and ET introduce themselves to each other, and discuss how they can work together.

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. 

Knowledge Management Platform to Increase the Scale & Sustainability of Youth Economic Opportunity Programs: 2015 Results & 2016 Summit Sponsorship Information

Meeting the needs of the global youth population requires evidence-based, scalable, and sustainable initiatives. In response, Making Cents International offers a demand-driven Knowledge Management (KM) platform that builds the capacity of youth development stakeholders to design, implement, and evaluate high-impact youth economic opportunity programs, policies, and partnerships. The platform components are:

Resource Type: 
Report

Workforce Connections Community of Practice: The Challenge of "Soft Skills" Measurement: Toward a Common Approach

Check out resources from Workforce ConnectionsCommunity of Practice launch eventThe goal of Workforce Connections is to promote dialogue and knowledge exchange among international youth workforce development professionals.

Complex Paths: Supporting Mixed Livelihoods in Liberia

The Prospects program’s Employment and Entrepreneurship program seeks to improve employment outcomes for ‘work-ready’ youth in Liberia – young people of legal working age with at least some education who are seeking employment or self-employment. This paper explains how traditional concepts of ‘employment’ as a singular state do not apply in Liberia – rather, almost all young Liberians earn income from multiple sources, with a mixed livelihood or portfolio of work.

Resource Type: 
Paper