Vikram Bhat – Director, Strategic Partnerships
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Dream Life Skills Assessment Scale - Dream a Dream
Measuring Life Skills Programmes
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 18 years, Dream a Dream has seen an emergence of innovative work around young people in India and globally. Increasingly, organizations have recognized 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 organization looked at standardised scales around the world and either they measure specific life skills or they were not contextual to disadvantaged communities. Hence, the organization 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 obervation 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.
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 - leting 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 8-15 age group.