Evaluation Study on TWF Life Skills Programme 2014-15
The Women’s Foundation’s (TWF) Life Skills Programme was launched in 2011. The main goal of the Programme is to facilitate mid-late teens to initiate positive changes in their lives through enhancing their self-understanding, interpersonal relationships, and life and career planning. Furthermore, in view of the importance of family and school in the socialization of youth into adulthood, this Programme also provides parent and teacher seminars to promote supportive parenting and teaching which can help adolescents to cope better with their life challenges. In order to develop an evidence-based life skills Programme, TWF commissioned the researcher to conduct an evaluation study to assess the effectiveness of this Programme and to explore the essential factors affecting the feasibility of the Programme to tailor itself to the needs of adolescents in Hong Kong.
This evaluation study adopted a mixed methods approach which included both quantitative and qualitative research methods. The quantitative part aims to (1) assess the Programme in terms of its effectiveness in improving student participants’ self-esteem, self-efficacy, sense of meaningfulness, satisfaction with life, internal locus of control, sense of loneliness, gender stereotypes, and financial literacy; and (2) assess the student, parent, and teacher participants’ satisfaction with the Programme. As for the qualitative part, focus group interviews were undertaken to examine students’ perceptions of the Programme and their suggestion.
The quantitative findings indicate that the students experienced substantial improvements in most of the aspects examined after joining the Programme. They gained a more positive evaluation of self-worth, a greater belief in their capability, an enhanced sense of meaningfulness, a higher satisfaction with life, an improved sense of control over life events, a more flexible and critical attitude towards Chinese cultural gender stereotypes, and a greater willingness to take part in personal and family financial management. Moreover, the majority of the student, parent, and teacher participants felt satisfied with the Programme contents, Programme impacts, and performance of their trainers. Meanwhile, many focus group respondents also expressed their appreciation for the Programme impacts on their self-understanding, emotional management, meaning seeking, goal setting, interpersonal relationship, gender stereotype flexibility, and financial management. All in all, the Programme was found to be effective in achieving most of its objectives.
Results of the sub-group analysis show that the Programme had a greater positive impact on the sense of meaningfulness of economically disadvantaged students and on the internal locus of control of junior secondary students. These findings support that the Programme should be implemented earlier in the secondary school life and TWF should maintain its great efforts in mobilizing the participation of disadvantaged youth. Furthermore, trainers’ self-reflection ability and their skills in supporting young people to reflect should be strengthened in order to maximize the Programme impact and bring about positive behavioral changes among the participants.