Publications and Reports

From Soft Skills to Hard Data

October 2011

Practitioners, policymakers, funders, and evaluators believe that effective programs should help youth develop skills necessary to succeed in college, work, and life, but which "soft skills" are important and how should they be measured? From Soft Skills to Hard Data: Measuring Youth Program Outcomes, published by the Forum for Youth Investment using a grant from the Foundation, identifies four types of skills that matter—communication, relationships and collaboration, critical thinking and decision-making, and initiative and self-direction. The authors then review eight instruments that measure some or all of these areas. The measures are designed for use in schools and youth programs serving upper elementary through high school aged children. For each of the measures, the guide provides sample items as well as clear, straightforward information about usability, cost, length, and evidence of reliability and validity.

A companion to the Forum’s Measuring Youth Program Quality, this guide can help you select conceptually grounded, psychometrically sound measures appropriate for programs serving upper-elementary through high school aged youth.