Evaluation & Assessment

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.

 

Five Steps to More Meaningful Youth Engagement

My name is Matthew French and I work for JBS International, Inc. This blog draws upon research conducted under contract with USAID’s office of Education (read the full youth engagement report here), as well as my own experiences working with young people.

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.

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

Webinar Recording: Leveraging Labor Market Assessment Tools to Address the Youth Unemployment Challenge

USAID’s Workforce Connections (WC) is a program that promotes evidence-based learning and peer-to-peer knowledge exchange with the goal of improving the capacity of USAID and its industry partners to deliver quality workforce development programming. One of WC’s activities has been the creation of labor market assessment (LMA) tools.

Resource Type: 
Presentation

Zimbabwe Labor Market Assessment

In October 2014, the FHI 360 Workforce Connections project condu

Resource Type: 
Report

Reassessing Soft Skills for Work Readiness

Event host(s)/organization(s): 
Workforce Connections
Event Date: 
Mar 12, 2015 (All day)

The Workforce Connections team including Child Trends and FHI 360 will be presenting a session on "Reassessing Key "Soft Skills" for Work Readiness: Priorities for Global Humanistic Education" at the 2015 Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society. The session will be presented by Laura Lippman of Child Trends, Rachel Carney of Child Trends, Kristin Brady of FHI 360 and Jacqueline Karau, Youth Representative.

Global Research Symposium: Labour Market Transitions of Young Women and Men

Event host(s)/organization(s): 
International Labour Organization
Event Date: 
Mar 3, 2015 (All day) to Mar 4, 2015 (All day)

An international forum for sharing results of the ILO’s Call for Papers on labour market transition of young women and men in developing countries. The Symposium offers an opportunity for researchers and development practitioners to discuss innovative research on themes of youth employment and labour market transitions and applicability to policy and programme advice and implementation.
 

Leveraging Labor Market Assessment Tools to Address the Youth Unemployment Challenge

Event host(s)/organization(s): 
USAID Workforce Connections
Event Date: 
Feb 19, 2015 (09:00am to 10:30am)

This Microlinks seminar presents the Zimbabwe case as a means of sharing some of the tools and approaches involved in carrying out a labor market assessment. The session will also be an opportunity to provide feedback on these tools and approaches and to discuss labor market assessments more broadly

OPEN NOW: Call for Proposals for the 2015 Global Youth Economic Opportunites Summit

Event host(s)/organization(s): 
Making Cents International
Event Date: 
Mar 26, 2015 (All day)

Is there a speaker or topic you want to see on the 2015 agenda? Nominate yourself or someone else. Making Cents will invite them to submit a proposal when the Call for Proposals process opens on February 17.

Measuring Employment Outcomes for Workforce Development

Youth workforce development remains a priority of global development efforts, with increasing attention being focused beyond education and training and into labor market outcomes. Despite this, the methods used to understand employment through monitoring and evaluation are highly varied, both across and within organizations. While much is being measured, the multitude of methodologies, and prevalence of custom indicators, inhibit cross-program data gathering and understanding.

Resource Type: 
Presentation

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