Evidencing the Impact of Youth Work on Attainment

If we are to keep improving the quality of youth work, it’s understood that effective evaluation processes are vital. Key stages in any evaluation include:

  • Building shared understanding of desired outcomes
  • Clarifying how progress towards these can be measured
  • Collating and analysing data over the course of the project
  • Reflecting on data and insights with young people and other stakeholders
  • Effectively communicating insights – and the ‘so what’ for your practice.

Planning and evaluating youth work in partnership with schools creates opportunities for deeper learning– and also creates new challenges and complexity.

In this section, you’ll find frameworks to help you think about the outcomes you are measuring, and tools that you can adapt and use as you co-design and evaluate the impact of your work on attainment outcomes.


What impacts do we want to measure?

From the outset of any new piece of work, it’s important to be clear on the difference you want the work to make and how you will know if you have been successful.  Designing evaluations is a collaborative process.  Everyone involved in the work (participants and stakeholders) has a say in what outcomes are to be measured – and the indicators of success.  They also need to be clear on their roles and responsibilities in gathering data - ideally evaluation should feel like an integral part of the learning process for participants.


How will we measure and communicate these?

Evidence of outcomes is usually a combination of numerical (quantitative data) and feedback (qualitative data) from participants and from relevant stakeholders (youth workers, teachers, parents etc).  There are lots of different methods for gathering this. Remember that it’s helpful to gather data at different stages of the project and not just at the end – and it’s really important to think carefully about the most effective methods – to ensure that your evaluation process is genuinely inclusive, and will provide an accurate, rounded picture of progress

You’ll find a number of resources here to help you think about what you want to measure and how best to do that here:

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