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Social Capital Assessment + Learning for Equity (SCALE) Measures

The Social Capital Assessment + Learning for Equity (SCALE) Measures User Guide and Technical Manual are tools that help organizations assess and build social capital for young people.

How Do Organizations Serving Young People Promote Social Capital?

Social capital: The resources that arise from a web of relationships, which people can access and mobilize to help them improve their lives and achieve their goals.

Organizations can promote social capital by connecting young people to both developmental relationships and useful resources. One way to center social capital development in an organization’s work is to measure how young people experience the relationship-building efforts in a program and track the resources these relationships facilitate access to.

The Social Capital Assessment + Learning for Equity (SCALE) Measures User Guide is a tool designed for leaders and practitioners to collect valid and reliable data on how their organizations are helping young people develop and strengthen social capital.

The Social Capital Assessment + Learning for Equity (SCALE) Measures Technical Manual is a document that outlines the development process we used to create strong measures of social capital and related constructs. It provides information on the statistical approach used to confirm the reliability and validity of these measures.


Social Capital Assessment + Learning for Equity (SCALE) Measures

Resource Audience

Youth Program Leaders School / Youth Program Staff School / Youth Organization Leaders

Resource Type


Read Time

16-30 Minutes



Task Length

10-15 Minutes

How Did We Develop the Measures?

To create the social capital measures, Search Institute partnered with six innovative youth and young adult-serving organizations (i.e., Basta, Beyond 12, Braven, Climb Hire, COOP, and nXu), who are focused on strengthening social capital among the young people they serve. We worked closely with these partners over a year and half to develop the social capital measures. This work included conducting literature reviews; collecting focus group and interview data from program participants, staff, and alumni. We also worked closely with partners and other experts in the field to develop, test, and refine the measures over time.

What Are the Measures?

The measures are a series of scales connected to survey items on topics including network strength, relationship-building skills, and other measures of social capital. They are organized around four domains:

  1. Social capital

  2. Mindsets and skills for social capital development

  3. Support for social capital development

  4. Program outcomes (e.g., progress towards education or career goals)

Who Should Use These Measures?

Anyone who works with young people in a variety of settings can benefit from understanding how their organization facilitates developmental relationships and promotes social capital. This may include education and workforce development programs, high schools, post-secondary institutions, and other organizations that serve youth and young adults. The measures have also been shown to be useful across a wide age range of youth and young adults from different racial and economic backgrounds.

How Do You Use the Tools?

We believe programs, schools, and organizations will benefit from selecting the topics that are most relevant to the community of young people they serve. Choose the measures that suit your population. Most of the measures require little explanation, and several can be adapted to include your program or organization’s name.

Note: To preserve the validity of the measures, it is important to use the exact wording provided.