Individual Submission Summary

Direct link:

Measuring Cross-Sectoral Soft Skills: Results from the field testing in Uganda and Guatemala

Wed, April 17, 5:00 to 6:30pm, Hyatt Regency, Floor: Atrium (Level 2), Waterfront D


USAID’s previous research (Key Soft Skills for Cross-Sectoral Youth Outcomes and Key “Soft Skills” that Foster Youth Workforce Success: Toward a Consensus Across Fields) found that these three skills foster positive outcomes for youth across each of three areas (workforce, violence prevention, and SRH). Two skills also received strong cross-sectoral support: communication received support from the workforce and SRH literature, while social skills was supported by the workforce and violence prevention literature. Modules to assess these two skills were added later on in the tool development process, but they did not undergo the same extent of cognitive interview testing.

Under USAID YouthPower Action, FHI 360 has developed and is testing a soft skills assessment tool that seeks to measure group-level change in at least three key soft skills among youth aged 15-19 years who are beneficiaries of USAID-sponsored youth programs. The tool will be designed for end users such as program staff, youth beneficiaries and their caregivers, and donors seeking to assess youth’s soft skills. The soft skills assessment tool will benefit youth development programs that are currently required to assess youth soft skills levels but have no appropriate measurement tool for doing so. The soft skills assessment tool will be administered one-on-one to youth by program monitoring and evaluation (M&E) staff in program and community settings and take no longer than 45 minutes to administer with each respondent. While program staff may choose to collect data on electronic devices, technology will not be required for the soft skills assessment tool. Scores will be calculated and interpreted by program M&E staff using instructions provided with the soft skills assessment tool.

This presentation will share the results of the field trial for the tool in Uganda and Guatemala in 2018 and early 2019. The soft skills assessment was administered to youth supported by Educate! in Uganda, and the Puentes program in Guatemala, implemented by World Vision. At each site, over 1,100 youth were assessed at baseline, and the same number at endline, allowing for a temporal analysis of changes in the level of soft skills following participation in the program. Early results indicate that the assessment identifies substantial differences on soft skills between youth of low and high socioeconomic status, as well as differences between those who have exhibited positive job seeking behavior, or aggressive, violence-prone behavior. This indicates that the assessment may be valid in these contexts; however, further data collection and analysis will indicate whether these differences remain, and if there is change over time.