affordable youth development assessment

SETS is an Affordable Youth Development Assessment Software

“SETS looks like a great tool for assessing youth development outcomes, but there’s no such thing as “affordable youth development assessment.” Why does SETS cost so much less than other youth development assessment tools?”

We hear this reaction a lot at Merge, so we thought we’d better clarify.

Merge director Bill Rossi founded and ran a nonprofit youth development program for 20 years, and during that time the need for outcomes data grew — not just for program oversight, but for sustainable funding. Like many other youth development programs, it was a constant struggle to:

  • get sustainable funding
  • compete with larger programs
  • find an evaluation tool that made sense to teachers and staff

assessing vulnerable youth developmentRossi left the nonprofit world in 2010 and began creating SETS … a simple, easy-to-use assessment tool. It wasn’t automated, but it had a powerful effect on program funding. He later decided to create software that would work for a variety of after-school programs.

So, back to the original question: why is SETS so affordable? As we say in the SETS Overview video, we believe programs that individualize their instruction are uniquely effective with their students.

So, if smaller programs are going to use SETS, it needs to be affordable. There are also a few “nuts and bolts” reasons why it’s so affordable.
Here they are:

  • SETS is not in the cloud (it lives on your PC)
  • SETS is an essential, easy-to-use program that requires almost no tech support
  • Merge employs almost no salespeople.

So perhaps that answers at least a part of the question. If you’d like to know why and how SETS was created and what it does, read on.

How (and why) SETS was created for affordable youth development assessment

Working with social workers, other teachers, therapists, and software developers, educator Bill Rossi created SETS after 20 years in the youth development field.

He’d reviewed most of the available tools, but they are typically expensive and complicated and don’t track what Rossi found to be the skills and abilities we all need to succeed in life.  This leads us to what is most unique about SETS. SETS is a very effective youth empowerment tool.

SETS as a youth empowerment tool

Rossi believes that the most essential and potent way to empower students is by developing their ability to learn. In fact, he believes students should be empowered to self-educate … but that’s for a future post. Suffice it to say that if students can’t learn well, they won’t be successful (or happy) in life.

So, when Rossi created SETS, he built the Student Observation Scale around the skills and abilities that everyone needs in order to learn. He calls them the Principles of Empowerment. There are 15 skills in all, including the ability to:

  • teamworking
  • listen well
  • understand directions
  • critical thinking
  • tolerate frustration
  • persevere

These “soft skills” are being seen as even more important as the world becomes increasingly digital. So, this one way SETS is unique.

SETS helps create a wrap-around youth development environment

SETS incorporates and reports on an array of assessments from a variety of sources:

  • goal setting, recording, and assessing
  • a Student Observation assessment by your program teacher
  • a Self-Esteem assessment for student self-assessment
  • an Assessment Scale for student assessment by significant others to evaluate students
  • opportunities for in-depth teacher input on students (“Profiles”) which helps satisfy human services departments
  • notes about any changes in student’s lives that may affect their ability to progress
  • and other opportunities to incorporate information on all important areas of students’ lives

This variety provides an in-depth view of the student that gives you great program oversight and demonstrates to funders that your in-depth approach is providing significant results. Social workers consider this an essential component of a wrap-around environment.

Affordable Youth Development Assessment — Merge Education is for Youth

At Merge, we really are in this for the youth. Try SETS, and you’ll get it.

SETS makes sense, and it will help you get sustainable funding just like it did us. It has a 30-day guarantee so you’ve everything to gain, risk-free.

Would you like a tour? We’re at your service. Or just get started with SETS today!

Merge Education

Mary Helen Rossi is Co-Director of Merge Education, which grew out of 20 years of after-school fine arts mentoring to over 2,500 challenged young people. Merge’s SETS software reflects this experience: as one client said, “It’s clear that a lot of thought and love went into SETS!”

affordable youth development assessment

Mary Helen Rossi
Mary Helen Rossi
A creative writer, Mary Helen is passionate about empowering marginalized youth, believing that everyone deserves a solid chance in life.

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