WSU Cooperative Extension  Life Skills Evaluation System - Measuring growth in life skills for youth and family programs  


  Why Evaluate?

In the spring of 1997, Washington State Cooperative Extension was awarded a 5-year State Strengthening Grant from our federal partners at USDA, the Cooperative State Research Extension and Education System. State Strengthening Grants are awarded to states to accomplish two goals:

1) improve the statewide capacity to support community-based programs for children, youth, and families at risk.
2) improve the quality and quantity of comprehensive community-based programs for children, youth, and families at risk.

In Washington, our State Strengthening Grant project, strives to attain these goals through community collaborations, strengths-based programs and inclusivity of community partners. In order to measure if the goal of the quality of programs was being met by the PIPS project, this evaluation system was created. It was felt that everyone doing youth and family programs could benefit from this evaluation system, so the process of creating a statewide life skills evaluation system was employed.

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

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).

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.

have been selected in Washington State to measure on a statewide basis. These were chosen through a consensus process with over 70 Family Living and 4-H Youth Development faculty and staff in the spring of 1999. In the future, more life skills may be added. Currently the life skills are:

 Decision Making  Leadership
 Wise Use of Resources  Useful / Marketable Skills
 Communication  Healthy Lifestyle Choices
 Accepting Differences  Self-Responsibility

For more information select "View Life Skills."

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WSU Learning Center
1300 5th St.
Wells Hall, Suite 1060
Wenatchee, WA 98801

Phone: 509.662.4730
Fax: 509.662.3368
Email: Life Skills Coordinator

Program Content Created By:
Mary Katherine Deen, Ext. Specialist
Sandra J. Bailey, Asst. Professor Louise Parker, Ext. Specialist

Computer Programing & Design:
Kathleen Duncan, Info. System Coord

Bobby Approved Web Site
WebDesign By: Leila Styer - CAHE
Graphics By: Miro Vejzovic - CAHE