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First of its kind, standardized, validated and published scale to measure Life Skills in disadvantaged children.

Dream Life Skills Assessment Scale

The Dream Life Skills Assessment Scale (DLSAS) has been developed by Dr. David Pearson & Dr. Fiona Kennedy. Their immense work has resulted in a paper co-authored by them along with Dream A Dream Cofounder, Vishal Talreja published in Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal for March 2014 (Kennedy, Pearson, Brett-Taylor & Talreja (2014)

Measuring Life Skills Programmes

“The tool must not benchmark children against any standards but allow to understand the journey the child has made in their development. ”

Vishal Talreja, Co-founder Dream a Dream

Dream a Dream is invested in understanding the challenges that young people face and in designing solutions with them since the year 2000. Over the last 19 years, Dream a Dream has seen an emergence of innovative work around young people in India and globally. Increasingly, organisations have recognised the need for interventions that help young people overcome adversity and flourish in the 21st century.

In 2006, Dream a Dream was struggling to measure the impact of its Life Skills Programmes. The organisation looked at standardised scales around the world and either they measured specific life skills or they were not contextual to disadvantaged communities. Hence, the organisation explored the idea of developing an assessment scale of its own. Working with Clinical Psychologists from the UK – Dr. Fiona Kennedy and Dr. David Pearson, led to the development of the Dream Life Skills Assessment Scale (DLSAS) which was launched in 2008 and published in 2014.

This assessment tool was designed as a simple observation based scale to be used by a facilitator of life skills programmes. The scale assesses 5 core life skills – a) Ability to take initiative b) Ability to interact with one another c) Ability to solve problems d) Ability to manage conflict e) Ability to understand and follow instructions, using a 5-point Likert scale.  

Till date, the published paper has been read 5800 times and has received 5 citations. Within Dream a Dream DLSAS has been administered with over 35,000 young people since 2014. We have had 5 organisations utilise the scale in the last year with 793 young people. For this year, 4 new organisations have been oriented to use the scale and there have been 7 others who have expressed interest in utilising the scale. 

The DLSAS can be used for:

• Measuring programme impact - finding out how effective interventions are at increasing Life Skills among disadvantaged children.

• Getting a skills profile for an individual child - looking at five different Life Skills to see relative strengths in an individual child.

• Comparing how one child compares with the average scores for their age group.

• Allocating a child to the programme best for them.

• Comparing one programme with another - discover which Life Skills are best developed by a given programme.

• Feedback on progress - letting stakeholders (donors, parents, teachers, carers, children) see progress visually.

The DLSAS can be used by: 

• NGOs - Give feedback to stakeholders, inform programme strategy and maximise effectiveness.

• Donors - Make better-informed decisions about funding allocation and support.

• Researchers - Advance the study of Life Skills.

• Clinicians - Use Life Skills as an outcome measure alongside mental health measures and know it is appropriate for disadvantaged Indian children.

• Programme developers - Check out programme performance at an early stage.

• Carers - Keep track of the progress of children in your care.

The scale is an open source instrument and can be used to measure improvements in Life Skills amongst disadvantaged kids anywhere in the world in the 8-16 age group.

Currently, Dream a Dream is also conducting another research study to expand the norms of the DLSAS to include young people from disadvantaged backgrounds in the 17-22-year-age group.

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Innovation Overview
7 - 18
Age Group
1 000 000
Tips for implementation
Researchers, Academicians, Universities, Students who are willing to engage with the scale and do more research to deepen the understanding and impact of the scale in different geographies and contexts.
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See this innovation in action

Core Principles for Assessing Life Skills. - Suchetha Bhat - Medium
Assessments of Thriving - Webinar


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Inspired to implement this? Here's how...

Download the Academic Paper around the DLSAS
A detailed look at the academic base of the DLSAS tool
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Download the Dream Life Skills Assessment Scale
Ready to use form of the DLSAS
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Orientation Session with Dream a Dream on using the Scale
Get in touch with Dream a Dream for an online orientation
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Prepare and publish Impact Report
Analyse your programmes with the data collected
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