Measuring Socio-Emotional Skill, Impact, and Equity Outcomes

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The positivist theory and methodology used by most researchers and evaluators is poorly suited for addressing the formative explanations that guide continuous quality improvement (CQI) processes and the nuanced impact models that pertain to questions about how and how much. QTurn’s Quality-Outcomes Design and Methods (Q-ODM) toolbox (Peck & Smith, 2020b) was created to address fundamental problems in the evaluation of out-of-school time (OST) programs (e.g., afterschool, child care, drop-in, mentoring, tutoring, etc.). In this white paper, we extend from a framework for individual socio-emotional (SEL) skills (Peck & Smith, 2020a) to address several issues in the applied measurement of individual SEL skills.

We present steps to (a) identify the real objects we seek to represent with measurement and models (i.e., the parts of an individual’s SEL skill set and the type and amount of skill change that is likely to occur during the program) and (b) produce SEL skill indicators and measures that are feasible and valid for both CQI and impact evaluation uses. With improved reasoning and evidence about the parts of SEL skill and individual skill change, we hope to help organizations produce local evidence and advocate both internally and externally for improved OST policies and increased investment.

Citation: Smith, C., & Peck, S. C. (2020). Measuring Socio-Emotional Skill, Impact, and Equity Outcomes [White Paper #2].

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