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Are we achieving our aims | Practical tools and tips

These resources are designed to help you ensure your evaluation is meaningful – by which we mean that the process actively enhances your understanding of what works, the quality of practice, and strengthens your relationships. Meaningful evaluation generates ‘actionable insights’ -  in other words; a tangible, achievable list of things you can change and which you are confident will help you and your colleagues get even better at what you do.


Start here if you are a youth practitioner new to evaluation and quality improvement design

Evaluation Plan Template

If you want a simple template to start designing an evaluation plan, this straightforward model from the College is an ideal starting point and includes advice on developing your overall approach.

Download template

Outcomes Framework 2.1 ​

If you want a practical example of developing measurement aligned to your theory of change, the College’s most recent Framework of Outcomes for Young People (2022) is an excellent blueprint.

Read the report

A Collaborative Outcomes Reporting approach ​

The Collaborative Outcomes Reporting (COR) developed by BetterEvaluation is a participatory approach to impact evaluation based around a performance story that presents evidence of how a program has contributed to outcomes and impacts, that is then reviewed by both technical experts and program stakeholders, which may include community members.​

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Monitoring and Evaluation (MEL) templates

Clear Horizon consultants and mentors have put together a wide range of MEL resources. They’ve also included further information and real-life examples on how these tools and approaches can be applied to support measurement, evaluation. and learning. 

Read here

Pro Bono Economics (PBE) – Data First Aid

PBE can provide charities with pro bono support from a dedicated volunteer economist to help them with their ad hoc data needs. That might include data analysis or visualisation, spreadsheet tasks or short pieces of research.

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The Centre for Youth Impact Data Portal

Our dedicated data portal enables you to manage data from any of our socio-emotional skills measures  is in one centralised location, coherently organised and visualised for easier interpretation. 

Access here


Resources to build on your experience of evaluation frameworks and continuous quality improvement

Validated Data Collection Tools​

The College recommends three validated measures for collecting outcomes data. These are: ​

​The Youth Engagement Survey (YES) to measure how well young people engage with provision.​

The Adult Rating of Youth Behaviour (ARYB) where adults observe and rate young people’s socio-emotional skills.​

The Youth Rating of Social and Emotional Skills (YRSS) where young people rate their own socio-emotional skills. We also have new tools ready to pilot!​

​Click below for an overview of when to use each one and for detailed user guides for all our suggested measures (youth engagement survey, adults rating of youth behaviour, youth rating of social and emotional skills). ​

View our measures

Adult Rating Youth Behaviour Tool Pilot​

The College trialled the use of the ARYB tool before endorsing it for wider use. You can read about the pilot on this webpage with a downloadable report.​

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The Youth Investment Fund Learning Project​

The Youth Investment Fund (YIF) was a £40 million investment in young people from the Government and The National Lottery Community Fund which ran from April 2017 - December 2020. Participating organisations used the same tools to generate collective impact.  You can read all the YIF reports on this webpage, detailing their methods and the powerful learning and insights that emerged from them.​

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Magenta Book Annex A: Analytical methods for use within an evaluation

There are many different evaluation methods to choose from – this extensive guide from HM Treasury provides an overview of many of them, including how they are used and the pros and cons. 

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Case study

Many organisations came together to deliver young people services and explore their impact under the Youth Investment Fund. The organisations adopted a shared theory of change and measurement tools, which enabled them to collectively demonstrate impact. Practically, this meant that they used the same categories to collect demographic data and information about young people’s engagement. They measured the same outcomes, asking young people to respond to a consistent set of feedback questions, and using a common tool to observe and reflect on the quality of staff and volunteer practice with young people. The collective work meant that, as a group, they could prove that; youth work achieved outcomes, higher quality work led to higher quality outcomes, and young people with the lowest levels of social and emotional skills gained the most.