Measuring Life Skills
In the context of Life Skills and Citizenship Education in the Middle East and North Africa
Teaching and learning life skills are incredibly important for empowering children and young people to achieve success in education, employment and personal goals. Nevertheless, few education systems have integrated life skills into their education systems. Some of the reasons for this are challenges concerning the lack of knowledge as to what life skills are, how life skills can be taught and learnt, and how life skills can be measured, assessed and evaluated.
What are life skills? – Life skills are transferable skills that enable individuals to deal with everyday life, and to progress and succeed in school, work and societal life. They are comprised of skills, attitudes, values, behaviours and domain-based knowledge. They can be learnt throughout life though there are optimal ages when interventions targeting specific skills are most likely to be effective.
How can life skills be taught? – There are a set of principles that are said to be most effective for teaching and learning of life skills – learning to children and young people’s participation and cooperation, learning through practicing life skills through real-life experience, learning in a safe environment coherent with the values being taught, and the use of explicit instruction and targeted interventions.
How can life skills be measured? – Quality measures for assessing life skills would enable education decision makers and practitioners to track current level of life skills proficiency and destruction across target population, identify progress of policies designed to enhance life skills, as well as to inform on the nature and scope of potentially useful interventions.
This publication provides a discussion of the state of the art of existing instruments to measure life skills, overall challenges of measuring life skills, and innovations in instrument development overcoming those challenges. Findings of this research has informed the development of a new instrument to measure life skills, as outlined in the LSCE Framework.
This joint effort of UNICEF and The World Bank aims at providing a standardized approach for assessing life skills proficiency and distribution across school-based population, to inform education decision makers and practitioners on potentially useful education interventions to enhance life skills. The design and testing of a standardized instrument to measure life skills within the Life Skills and Citizenship Education (LSCE) framework has been done together with Roehampton University, the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) and the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER). The instrument, designed for national large-scale assessment, has been tested in Egypt, Tunisia and the State of Palestine in 2019, in order to represent much of the diversity across the region so that the final instrument can be used widely in the MENA region. The instrument can be found here: https://www.unicef.org/mena/lsce-measurement-instrument