Adaptation Considerations

The PYD toolkit introduces the major considerations that are needed in adapting the PYD indicators to different contexts. It starts with a section on methodological issues that affect adaptation of measures, followed by a larger section on key considerations. It also covers ethical issues for PYD measurement, including how to engage young people as researchers and evaluators. It concludes with a list of “dos and don’ts” for adaptation across contexts. 

Many of the measures included in this toolkit are scales that were originally developed in English-speaking countries. For implementers of youth programs, including USAID, staff, time and resources must be invested to validate and pilot test PYD tools. To be used as intended, scales must be both validated and assessed for reliability. Scale reliability is the degree to which the items on the scale are measured consistently and predictably, both across items and over time. Scale validity is the extent to which the scale measures what it says it will measure. Further details about scale reliability and validity are beyond the scope of this toolkit, but there are key aspects that should be considered for adaptation of measures. Changes and revisions to measures must be done with careful consideration to preserve the integrity of the original items while ensuring their relevance for the target population and purpose. 

Key Considerations for Adapting Measures into New Contexts

There are key aspects to consider when selecting and developing indicators – which are meant
to be applicable to the majority of youth programming, across program activities, program
outcomes, and context – for a PYD program. They can be organized into the following

• Age, developmental stage, and life stage considerations
• Gender considerations
• Cultural considerations
• Language and literacy considerations
• Physical and social position considerations

These considerations will likely be relevant at all phases of the program lifecycle, including
program design (e.g. relevant target population of youth), program implementation (e.g.
reach, coverage and accessibility of program activities), program outcomes (e.g. what is
relevant and feasible for programs to see change in), evaluation design (e.g. who should be
targeted for the surveys to measure the outcomes), and measurement (e.g. having realistic
indicators to measure the right people and the right outcomes).

All the aforementioned considerations – age, developmental and life stage, gender, culture,
language and literacy, and political and social position – are intertwined. Though presented
separately in this chapter, they should be assessed as a package of considerations, and the
linkages among them acknowledged.

Key dos and don’ts for adapting PYD measures to new contexts


• Budget time, financial resources, and if needed, technical assistance to the adaptation process.
• Consider how age, development and life stage, gender, language and literacy, culture, and geographic and social position will impact measurement in your program.
• Assess literacy and adapt measurement, as needed.
• Understand the ethical issues or potential harm that may arise in measurement, and have plans to mitigate them.
• Include youth as much as possible in the measurement process.
• Train your staff and other key adult stakeholders in PYD principles
• Consult with many appropriate sources while considering adaptations.
• Test, adapt, and test again before using an adapted measure in your evaluation.


• Simply cut and paste measures that you find into a survey.
• Remove items from a scale without full consideration of scale validity and reliability.
• Translate from one language to another and assume the measure will be equally valid in both languages.
• Involve youth as an afterthought.

Additional Resources

Go to:

• Home: PYD toolkit
• A framework for measuring PYD
• A set of illustrative PYD indicators
• Application of PYD framework and indicators at each phase of a program design and evaluation:
                Phase 1. Define (or refine) key desired outcomes or research questions
                Phase 2. Determine PYD features and beneficiaries of the program
                Phase 3. Finalize the logic model
                Phase 4. Decide what to measure, and how (study design and indicators)
                Phase 5. Analyze the data, disseminate the findings and adapt your program
• Considerations for adapting measures cross-culturally
• Additional resources and references 
• FAQs
• PYD Glossary