Skip to main content

The Youth Rating of Socio-emotional Skills (YRSS)

The Youth Report of Socio-emotional Skills (YRSS) is a self-report survey used to assess young people’s functional mental and behavioural skills (i.e. how they feel and behave in life) in terms of Emotion Management, Empathy, Problem Solving, Initiative, Teamwork, & Responsibility. 

About the tool

The Youth Report of SEL Skills (YRSS) measures young people’s socio emotional skills by asking how they think, feel and behave in different situations, not just the youth provision setting but also their home, community or school. The YRSS can be used at the start to help plan provision and post intervention to assess growth in socio-emotional skills. 

When to use it

The YRSS can be used in different ways to suit different purposes. For example, the YRSS can be completed by young people shortly after they first enter provision in order to assess their baseline socio emotional (SEL) skills. Baseline SEL skills information can be used for provision planning purposes (e.g. to tailor provision to the needs of the young people who are attending). The YRSS can also be used at both baseline and shortly after or near the end of provision, in order to assess young people’s SEL skill growth.  

We recommend baseline surveys are completed once staff and young people become comfortable with one another to minimise the risk of young people self-reporting higher scores than accurate which makes it difficult to detect actual changes. 

We recommend follow up assessments on an annual basis as it takes time for the SEL skills to become embedded in young people’s thinking and behaviours and self-reported measures tend to be less valid than observational measures (e.g. the ARYB). 

If done well the YRSS can be used to measure change over a relatively short amount of provision time (e.g. 3 months), as long as expectations are realistic about the amount of change likely. We recommend using the YRSS with young people ages 10 and older. 


The YRSS is administered as a questionnaire either electronically or on paper. We recommend a worker being with the young person while they complete it so the young person can ask any questions they may have and they can be encouraged to ask for clarification about the meaning of any words where needed.

Strengths and Limitations


  • It can be used to understand SEL skill development and the relation of this development to other aspects of provision e.g. quality or dosage. 

  • It can inform session planning and future provision planning. 

  • It is quick to complete, only taking about five minutes 

  • It can be used with young people in any kind of provision.  


  • Responses can be subject to ‘response bias’, i.e. young people changing their behaviour or response to meet what they think is desired, therefore it is best to wait for at least 4 hours of active engagement before completing to build a relationship. 


Data collected with the YRSS measurement tool can be entered into the YMCA George William College Data Portal to view the change for individuals, cohorts and at an organisational level. 

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 YRSS tool

Download the tool

The Technical Guide

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

Download here

Visual guide

Watch this handy video on the YRSS tool.

Watch here