Author Archives

  • Practical Ways To Assess Climate And Social And Emotional Competence

    By Clark McKown, xSEL Labs Review: The Case for Climate AND (not OR) Social and Emotional Competence In a recent blog post, I discussed the peculiar rivalry between those who advocate assessing school climate exclusively and those who advocate assessing student social and emotional competence. I made the case that zero-sum thinking by which assessment of climate competes with assessment of competence is misguided. I argued that in the best of all worlds, educators would assess both climate AND competence and use what they learn to guide actions to create positive conditions for learning and to teach the social and emotional competencies students need to succeed. Let’s not join hands and start singing Kumbaya just yet though. After I wrote that […]

  • Before we try to measure their skills, let’s assess the environment in which they are learning

    Rose Pennington is a classroom teacher, education consultant and PhD student at the Institute of Positive Psychology and Education at the Australian Catholic University. Contact:   Like many teachers, I focus the assessment in my classroom on formative as well as summative measurements of what my students can do. While I am interested in the knowledge they have gained following a five week mathematics program for example, I pay just as much, if not more attention to the knowledge my students bring with them to the classroom on the first day. By taking care to understand what I must build upon, I can ensure that my students develop in the most efficient manner possible. The same perspective applies to […]

  • New Year, New Approach: One Organization’s Re-SEL-utions for Overcoming SEL Measurement Challenges

    By: Linda Galib, Urban Initiatives Social emotional learning. Such a complex concept wrapped up into three words. As the Research and Evaluation Director for Urban Initiatives–a nonprofit, sports-based positive youth development organization that partners with 55 Chicago Public Schools and serves nearly 17,000 K-12 youth–my job is to ensure that our evaluation efforts accurately and systematically capture the change our program staff sees day-in and day-out in our participants. We use the power of sport and play to empower Chicago youth during recess and out-of-school time programming. Concerning social emotional learning specifically, we believe the hands-on and experiential nature of this sports-based approach allows us to strategically impact social emotional growth with long-term outcomes. Social emotional learning is critical to […]

  • Work Group (AWG) New Year’s Resolutions for 2019

    By: Jeremy Taylor, Jordan Trejo, and Roger Weissberg (CASEL)   In December we reflected on the progress the AWG made in 2018 to advance SEL assessment. Now we’d like to share the exciting work we have planned for the coming year. In 2019, our efforts will focus more on ensuring that educators across the world can effectively use the SEL assessment resources and tools we have created during the past two years. We will accomplish this through: Improving what we offer and how we share it, Engaging an expanding array of educators to foster broad and effective use of SEL measures, and Planning for the future as we strategically anticipate what is needed to enhance the use of data to […]

  • Bridging Research & Practice to Expand the Definition of Student Success

    By Katie Buckley & Sara Krachman   A large and growing body of research demonstrates that success in life requires both academic and social-emotional skills. When young people develop these interconnected sets of competencies, they are more likely to be healthy, engaged in their communities, financially secure, and empowered to pursue goals of their own choosing. Inspired by this body of research, Transforming Education (TransformEd) and NewSchools Venture Fund (NewSchools) have embarked on a multi-year partnership to support schools in expanding their definition of student success to include academics, social-emotional competencies, and the positive learning environments that support students’ development in both of these domains. Through this partnership, TransformEd provides school leaders with the data, research, and support they need […]

  • AWG 2018 Year in Review

    By: Lindsay Read and Jordan Trejo, CASEL Greetings Collaborator Network members! We are proud to share a reflection on our accomplishments this year. We are grateful to you, our collaborator network, for your continued engagement in our work and for the input many of you have shared that has influenced the direction of our work. This group of collaborators has more than doubled this year, from 1,149 members to 2,543 as of this post with people from all 50 states and over 26 countries. This has allowed us to reach more of you who are interested in and challenged by using SEL frameworks and assessments. We began 2018 with a goal to engage more practitioners in our work. We sought […]

  • Finding the Right SEL Assessment: New Guide for Educators

    By Katie Buckley (Transforming Education), Jeremy Taylor (CASEL) and Lindsay Read (CASEL)   One of the biggest obstacles to using data to inspire practice is simply the task of selecting and using an appropriate assessment.  While there are many assessments out there, especially from various research efforts, finding one that is suitable for assessing particular social and emotional competencies that a school or district wants to focus on is often not easy.  This Fall, some useful tools to help in that process are being released. We are thrilled to share a preview of the SEL Assessment Guide, which will be available to the public in early November. The early access passcode is provided down below. The guide was created to […]

  • One District’s Journey: From Commitment to Assessment

    By: Christine Igoe and Lisa Xagas, Naperville District 203 Background Information Naperville Community School District 203 (D203), located in the western suburbs outside of Chicago, serves nearly 17,000 EC-12 students. In the 2013-2014 school year, the district spearheaded a community engagement series to gather feedback and input for developing Focus 2020, the district five year strategic plan.  At that time, the community, families, and staff expressed the need to educate the whole child to ensure students learned not only academic content but also gained the social-emotional skills necessary to be successful in life.  As a result, the journey towards a comprehensive social-emotional learning plan became a key initiative within the district five year strategic plan. Initial planning began by establishing […]

  • If the brain connects social, emotional, and academic learning, why don’t we do so more intentionally?

    By: Dale A. Blyth, PhD, Professor Emeritus, University of Minnesota   The National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development recently released an excellent new report entitled  The Brain Basis for Integrated Social, Emotional, and Academic Development: How Emotions and Relationships Drive Learning.  The report summarizes and illuminates the growing understanding of how the brain develops and functions generally and especially during learning.  Not surprisingly it notes that brain development supports learning but also that learning supports brain development.   One thing I found particularly interesting was the discussion of how what makes us human is not fully spelled out in a more elaborate set of genes than other creatures but rather the flexibility and dynamic way our interactions with the environment […]

  • National Practitioner Advisory Group Launches!

    By Dale A. Blyth, Sr. Consultant to CASEL and Deborah Moroney, Managing Director, American Institutes for Research   This last spring, we invited applications from practitioners to become part of a new National Practitioner Advisory Group on Using Data to Inspire SEL Practice (NPAG). There was an overwhelming response as almost 200 people applied from all over the US and even a few internationally.  It took a while to select the 26 people and four Assessment Work Group liaisons who now make up NPAG. It is quite an impressive group as you can see from the list that follows this blog.  We are grateful to our funders and in particular CASEL who invested the needed funds to make this effort […]