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The Youth Engagement Survey (YES)

The Youth Engagement Survey (YES) is a self-report survey, completed by young people, that is used to assess mental engagement (e.g. enjoyment, inclusion, attention, voice) during provision.

About the tool

The Youth Engagement Survey (YES) asks young people to describe the thoughts and feelings they experienced while participating in provision, as a measure of mental engagement. This is important because young people’s mental engagement with the provision is expected to promote growth in socio-emotional skills. The YES should be completed regularly by young people at the end of a session. 

What it does

Self-reported thoughts and feelings of enjoyment, inclusion, attention, and voice indicate active mental engagement that is expected to promote socio-emotional skill growth. Conversely, lack of mental engagement is expected to prevent SEL skill growth.  

YES scores tend to reflect closely the quality of provision, so these scores can be used to assess how well staff understand the socio-emotional skills of participating young people and adjust their practices to ‘meet young people where they are at’.  

When to Use it 

Young people should complete the YES immediately after a provision session. It may be useful to use the YES at multiple time points (e.g. for provision planning or evaluation purposes). 

Completing the YES on the same session that was observed and rated for quality (using the PQA) enables you to understand the relationship between the quality of provision and young people’s engagement.  

We recommend using the YES with young people ages 10 and older, although with assistance, children as young as 6 can use the YES.  


The YES can be administered digitally or on paper. It was designed for young people to fill out by themselves, but staff can read out the question and record the young person’s score.  

Strengths and Limitations


  • It can be used with different groups of young people, within the context of any type of provision, at different time points, for a variety of purposes.  

  • It should only take about two or three minutes to complete. 


  • The YES should be used “as is” without amendments to, or exclusions of, any questions unless you consult with a professional evaluator.  

  • It does not measure changes in SEL skills 


Data collected with the YES measurement tool can be entered into the YMCA George William College Data Portal to view change for individuals, cohorts and the results for your whole organisation. The YES score can be used to inform decisions about future training or provision planning (e.g. low scores would prompt a focus on making the activities, or the delivery of them, more interesting). The YES total scores can be used to assess changes in mental engagement from the baseline assessment to the follow-up assessment.

Practitioner Overview

An easy to read quick overview of the tool and how to use it.

Download here

The Tool

A printable version of the YES tool 

Download here

The Technical Guide

If you are interested in understanding more about the theory of change, read about the tool in depth, and the validation process, download the full guide here.

Download here

Visual guide

Watch this handy video about the YES tool.

Watch here