Press Release

CASEL Releases Updated Guide for High-Quality Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Programs; 48 Programs Receive Highest Designation

June 4, 2021

CHICAGO, IL – Today, the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) published an updated edition of its most frequently accessed resource, The CASEL Guide to Effective Social and Emotional Learning Programs, commonly known as the CASEL Program Guide ( As the leading authority on evidence-based social and emotional learning (SEL), CASEL is uniquely positioned to review and rate programs with potential to promote desired competence development among children and youth, preschool through high school. With the rising popularity of SEL and the growing number of program options, this Consumer Reports-style guide will help district and school leaders select effective programs that support their students’ social, emotional, and academic well-being.

Programs are reviewed against evaluation, design, and implementation criteria to help ensure the consistency and quality of program delivery. Programs in the CASEL Program Guide are designated as either SELect, Promising, or SEL-Supportive.

Based on these ratings, the 2021 edition includes a total of 77 SEL programs across three designations:

  • SELect, 48 programs that met or exceeded all of our criteria;
  • Promising, 23 programs that met or exceeded most criteria; and
  • SEL-Supportive, 6 programs that meet the SELect or Promising evidence criteria but do not fully meet design criteria.

Research shows that evidence-based SEL programs promote students’ social and emotional development, increase academic performance, and support their well-being. CASEL recommends implementation of evidence-based SEL programs as a central element of an effective, systemic approach to SEL. CASEL first published the Program Guide in 2003 and was last updated in 2015, it has become an essential resource for educators and was accessed more than 120,000 times, last year alone.

Given the growth in the SEL field, the 2021 edition is based on revised criteria (released in December 2020) that reflects CASEL’s updated definition of SEL and the significant progress that has been made around integrating academics, promoting equity, supporting adult SEL, and more. The updated CASEL Program Guide highlights new ways of examining programs that speak to the needs of all our nation’s students, especially those students and their families who have been historically marginalized.

To receive the highest designation of “SELect,” programs must be evidence-based, well designed, and deliver high-quality training and other implementation supports. In this edition, 48 SEL programs received this designation:

Fig.1: CASEL Updated Guide

The next annual review cycle will open on June 21, 2021. Program providers interested in having their program reviewed by CASEL should visit:

CASEL is the nonprofit that founded the field of SEL. Today, we collaborate with leading experts and districts, schools, and states nationwide to drive research, guide practice, and inform policy.
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