An Examination of K-12 SEL Learning Competencies and Standards in 18 States

March 1, 2020
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State policy – including the development of voluntary SEL competencies or standards -- plays a key role in creating the conditions that support quality implementation of SEL at the local level (districts, schools, homes, community organizations). By 2020, 18 states had developed SEL competencies or standards for K-12. These standards are embedded within more comprehensive frameworks; in 2017, the American Institutes for Research identified at least 136 frameworks for SEL (including our widely used, five-part wheel), which policymakers and educators are using to varying degrees.

This brief considers the following five questions about these frameworks:
  • What SEL framework is the state using, and to what extent does it align with the CASEL framework for SEL?
  • Has the state articulated developmental benchmarks for SEL as part of its framework?
  • Has the state explicitly connected its framework to equity and/or culturally responsive classroom practices?
  • How do the state’s SEL learning standards and framework connect to other strategic priorities and approaches (e.g., workforce readiness, mental health, and multitiered systems of support)?
  • What kinds of guidance does the state provide to support implementation of its SEL learning standards and framework?

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