We’ve recently reviewed a paper published by the Young Foundation – A Framework of Outcomes for Young People (2012). We found the paper super-useful and thought you might like to get a flavour of what it’s all about – so we’ve provided a summary, prepared by Georgina Lonergan, below.
We plan to continue sharing summaries of literature relating to various aspects of impact evaluation via our blog. We hope you find them helpful. If there is a particular paper you’d like us to focus on, or you have a summary you’d like us to publish here, please let us know by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org
The paper by the Young Foundation offers a comprehensive exploration of frameworks appropriate to measure outcomes for young people. The research conducted by the Young Foundation outlines and explains the fundamental skills that young people need in order to achieve both on a personal level and within the education system.
The paper identifies that there is a lack of consistency in the approach used to measure ‘softer’ outcomes such as personal development, education employment and good health. As a result of its research, The Young Foundation has developed a Framework that focuses on the social and emotional capabilities of young people and how these soft skills aid them in their future development. The paper puts forward a case for why social and emotional capabilities should be valued more by funders, commissioners and investors in this context.
The Framework offers ‘common language’ to support discussion and aid the development of approaches to measure the impact of services provided for the personal and social development of young people. The paper was informed by focus groups with young people, and these identified five key themes in young people’s aspirations – achieving in education, career success, being healthy, having positive relationships and involvement in meaningful, enjoyable activities.
The Young Foundation go on to differentiate between ‘extrinsic’ and ‘intrinsic’ outcomes and ‘individual’ and ‘social’ outcomes. Extrinsic outcomes relate to things that can be measured by other people, for example educational achievement and numeracy qualifications. Intrinsic outcomes relate to the emotional capacity of an individual, for example happiness or self-esteem. Individual outcomes are those that are of primary interest and benefit to the individual, such as literacy and resilience. Social outcomes are those that have a wider social impact such as civic participation and good parenting skills. The outcomes model highlights that there are potential links between these four ‘quadrants’ and also with the long-term development of young people. The Young Foundation supports the outcomes model with a wide range of research.
Seven core sets of social and emotional capabilities were valued by their research participants, demonstrating the importance of supporting young people in the development of their ‘soft’ skills. The seven core ‘clusters of capabilities’ are organised into a model that can be used to inform the different stages of the framework process. The Young Foundation provides an example, based on a project aimed to re-integrate pupils excluded from school for bullying, of how their framework can be used alongside a logic model (or theory of change) to measure outcomes. It shows that this helped to identify important areas such as communication, confidence & agency, and put in place steps and activities to achieve outcomes in these areas.
The logic model (or theory of change) helps us to understand how intervention and services link to results achieved. The Young Foundation identifies that different tools can be used by different stakeholders to assess needs in different areas or for various groups of people. The choice of measurement is influenced by how the provider prioritises outcomes.
The paper uses a number of case studies to support the argument that investing in the development of young people’s social and emotional capabilities helps improve their chances of achieving their aspirations and that this, over time, saves money. The paper aims to empower providers and commissioners ‘to articulate and demonstrate impact in improving outcomes for young people’.
Prepared by Georgina Lonergan (Associate) Research Oxford, 2016
You can download a PDF of the summary here:
We hope you find this useful and we look forward to sharing further summaries in due course.