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4-H Life Skills Evaluation System

FOUNDATIONS OF THE SYSTEM


Life skill outcomes were chosen as measurements of quality because
4-H
 Youth Development programs focus their work on teaching youth and adults the life skills necessary to become capable, competent, contributing and caring citizens. The life skills model "Targeting Life Skills" (TLS) from Iowa State University was used as a model to create this system.

THE VALUE OF THE TLS MODEL

(see TLS Preview Wheel)

The Targeting Life Skills (TLS) Model consists of 35 life skills. These life skills were identified through a process of reviewing and integrating numerous life skills models. Those life skills or competencies that consistently emerged as being necessary for individuals to attain success in life were used (Hendricks, 1999).

PROGRAM PLANNING

Programs that incorporate the TLS Model help individuals reach their full potential through a positive approach to life skill development. The model provides a format incorporating major points of program planning:
  • Delivering information and skill practice at the appropriate developmental level for the target audience
  • Writing specific learning objectives for life skill development that are measurable
  • Completing an instructional plan that creates experiences based on experiential learning theory to achieve life skill development
  • Identifying observable/measurable indicators of change using these indicators to effectively evaluate program impact/goal. (Hendricks, 1999)
To learn more about the TLS Model and to order support materials, see the TLS Model Web site.

LIFE SKILLS

Specific life skills were selected at Washington State University (WSU) Extension to measure on a statewide basis. They were chosen through a consensus process with input from over 70 Family Living and
4-H
 Youth Development educators.

These life skills were used to develop the Life Skills Evaluation System which consists of two components:
  • Life Skills, Senior for youth sixth grade and above and adults and;
  • Life Skills, Junior for youth grades three through five.
Life Skills Senior utilizes eight (8) life skills. Life Skills, Junior utilizes six (6) life skills. The selected life skills are:
  1. Decision Making
  2. Wise Use of Resources
  3. Communication
  4. Accepting Differences
  5. Leadership *
  6. Useful / Marketable Skills *
  7. Healthy Lifestyle Choices
  8. Self-Responsibility
* Life skills not included in Life Skills, Jr.


For more information select which life skills and indicators you would like to know more about:

VALIDITY AND RELIABILITY OF THE LIFE SKILLS EVALUATION SYSTEM

Validity means the evaluation instrument measures what it is intended to measure. In this case, the Life Skills Evaluation System measures what life skills the participant learned from participating in the program.

Validity of the system was tested at several levels:
  • First, the life skills indicators were created by a team of Extension Specialists and County Educators.
  • Next, the indicators were assessed by the team for face validity.*
  • Then the indicators were piloted on program participants.
  • Finally, a statistical analysis, called a factor analysis**, was run to determine validity.

Reliability refers to whether or not the evaluation instrument can accurately measure the life skills when used repeatedly with different groups of program participants. Reliability of the system was tested through a statistical analysis called a Cronbach's
Alpha***
.


WHAT DOES THIS ALL MEAN?

Evaluation instruments that are valid and reliable are better measures of changes made by participants in your program. The Life Skills Evaluation System is valid and reliable for measuring the selected life skills the participants learned from participating in the program.

For further information contact Dr. Ina Linville at linvillei@missouri.edu.


* Face validity is a form of content-oriented validity in which consensus is obtained among a group of subject-matter experts that the indicators completely and comprehensively cover the life skill that it intends to measure.

** Factor analysis is a statistical technique used to examine the interrelations among a set of variables, or items, in order to identify an underlying structure to those items.

*** Chronbach's Alpha determines if there is internal consistency within the indicator statements.
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