New reports on current SEL Initiatives

  • What’s missing in SEL measurement and assessment? CONTEXT

    By Stephanie M. Jones & Sophie P. Barnes, EASEL Lab, Harvard Graduate School of Education Social and emotional learning (SEL) is on the map. Driven in part by solid evidence linking social competence and self-control in early childhood to life outcomes twenty to thirty years later (e.g., Jones et al., 2015; Moffitt et al., 2011), and by multiple meta-analytic studies showing substantial impacts of SEL interventions on short- and longer-term outcomes (Durlak et al., 2011; Sklad et al., 2012, Taylor et al., 2017), the last five years has seen a veritable explosion in interest and excitement about SEL. Indeed, there are many recent high-profile national, state, and local efforts focused on making the case for integrating SEL into the mission […]

  • Developmental and Equity Lenses: Critical Criteria for Framing, Implementing, and Assessing SEL

    By: Dale A. Blyth   This blog has previously noted the importance of SEL frameworks for implementation and assessment as well as the challenges and opportunities that come from the way we frame SEL efforts. The two latest briefs in our ongoing series of SEL Framework Briefs involve two critical criteria or lenses to use as we frame SEL – issues of development and issues of equity.   We know children develop and change as they grow – and with that growth there is both consistency and change over time in the types of social emotional competencies they need to address the wide variety of developmental tasks they face in different contexts.  Susanne Denham from George Mason University and a […]

  • Finding the right assessment tool: Another resource for educators and researchers

    By Laura Hamilton and Brian Stecher   Last week, the Assessment Work Group (AWG) shared a preview of its new SEL Assessment Guide, which provides a catalogue of about 20 popular social and emotional learning (SEL) assessments along with guidance to help practitioners use these assessments effectively. Researchers from RAND are members of the AWG, and we contributed to the Guide and to the brief for practitioners that accompanied it, Choosing and Using SEL Competency Assessments: What Schools and Districts Need to Know.   RAND has developed a companion tool, the RAND Education Assessment Finder. This web-based tool provides information about roughly 200 assessments of K-12 students’ competencies, including SEL competencies as well as higher-order cognitive competencies such as creativity. […]

  • 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 […]

  • Everything You Always Wanted to Know About SEL Assessment But Were Afraid to Ask

    By: Clark McKown, xSEL Labs Reposted from EdSurge For anyone who cares about student social-emotional development, this is an exciting time. Many school-based social-emotional learning (SEL) programs are widely used, for example. And a growing number of states are integrating social-emotional expectations into their educational standards. When these programs are well-implemented, they have academic, social, and emotional benefits. Recognizing this, organizations are investing in initiatives and partnerships designed to bring school-based SEL programs to scale. Up until recently, something has been missing. Specifically, there have been few useful tools with which to assess SEL. This has left educators at a distinct disadvantage. Without good assessment, it’s hard for district decision-makers to decide what resources to invest in; it’s hard for […]

  • 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 […]

  • Considering SEL Frameworks and the Three Musketeers?

    By: Dale A. Blyth, Consultant   Remember the three Musketeers – three brave men whose motto was One for All, and All for One?  They symbolized how important it was to work as a team (one for all) as well as how critical it was for all to be working toward one common end.  As I was finishing up the new series of three briefs on SEL frameworks released this month I started thinking about this motto and whether or not it applied to social and emotional learning (SEL).   These days there are a multitude of SEL frameworks – at least 136 by AIR’s count!  Are all these frameworks individual efforts to advance the “one” approach to SEL?  And what […]

  • On the Use of the Big Five Model as a SEL Assessment Framework

    By: Dana Murano, Jason Way, Cristina Anguiano-Carrasco, Kate E. Walton, and Jeremy Burrus; Center for Social, Emotional, and Academic Learning, ACT, Inc. Most researchers agree that social and emotional skills are a) important, b) can be improved through systematic programming, and c) must somehow be organized and assessed. The belief that these skills must be organized and assessed emphasizes the need for a social and emotional skills framework, of which there are myriad. An ongoing debate concerns whether or not the Big Five personality framework is an appropriate framework through which to organize social and emotional skills. The Big Five factors include conscientiousness (work ethic; organization), agreeableness (kindness; empathy), emotional stability (composure; flexibility), openness (curiosity; analytical thinking), and extraversion (sociability; […]

  • A Psychometric Perspective on SEL Assessment

    By: Michael C. Rodriguez, PhD, Professor, University of Minnesota The increasing attention to social and emotional learning is consistent with the deepening realization that learning is social, although these concepts have long had presence in the literature on teaching and learning. The Johnson brothers (University of Minnesota) developed the principles of cooperative learning and were among the first to integrate the social and cognitive aspects of learning in the classroom. A new appreciation of the social contexts of education is taking hold in the educational measurement field, promoting the combination of cognitive learning theories and sociocultural theories to promote cognitive development, participation and motivation, and positive identity development. In educational measurement, these concepts offer ways to design assessments that measure the intended […]

  • A Bridge Too Far? Opportunities & Risks in Measuring Social, Emotional, & Cognitive Skills in Children

    By Bibb Hubbard, Founder & President, Learning Heroes Educators increasingly are working to integrate social, emotional, cognitive, and academic learning into schools and classrooms. Parents are vital partners in these efforts: a recent national survey of more than 2,000 parents and guardians with children in K-8 public schools found that they support schools reinforcing these important life skills. But as schools engage parents as partners, they should be mindful that there is a line parents don’t want crossed —assigning letter grades and ratings to individual children’s development of social skills and dispositions. The nationally representative survey of parents’ views of social, emotional, cognitive, and academic learning was conducted this past summer by Learning Heroes, the nonprofit that I founded, which […]

  • Using Individual Assessments to Support Whole School SEL Interventions: Lessons Learned

     By: Dr. Gil G. Noam, Director, The PEAR Institute: Partnerships in Education and Resilience   The widespread adoption of social emotional learning (SEL) has led to an increased focus on school climate, curricula to help students manage their emotions, and systems that create consistent behavioral expectations within and across classrooms. These so called universal approaches create the psychological foundation of a well-functioning school. As part of a whole-school SEL approach, assessments help schools answer questions like: How do the students and the teachers view their school climate? Do we find consistency across classrooms when we systematically observe behavior systems? What is the parental attitude toward school bonding? For this reason, many of the assessment in the SEL space are oriented […]

  • Leveraging Policy to Support a Data-Informed Approach to Social-Emotional Learning

    By Bob LaRocca, J.D., Director of Policy and Communications, Transforming Education There’s a palpable, growing urgency to focus on social-emotional learning (SEL) in our schools. Education experts and policymakers recognize that building healthy relationships and responsible decision-making matters to student outcomes, and teachers overwhelmingly acknowledge that SEL is important to learning. Meanwhile, recent “staggering statistics” reveal the high rate at which today’s students suffer from mental illness and trauma – conditions which certain SEL-related practices can work to address. For these reasons and others, more and more educators are seeking to intentionally cultivate learning environments that help students develop socially and emotionally.   This demand for SEL presents a key opportunity for state and local education leaders to take action. Although […]