New reports on current SEL Initiatives

  • Observational Data to Inspire SEL Practice

    By Charles Smith, QTurn LLC   Over the past decade we have learned a lot about how to use data to transform educational settings and improve student outcomes such as social and emotional learning (SEL). In my experience, “using data to inspire SEL practice” is the right way to think about it. Transformation through inspiration requires circumstances where educators experience both organizational support and positive motivation to demonstrate and/or improve their practice. From a measurement perspective, we’re asking a question about the consequences of producing the SEL data: Do the data inspire teachers and youth workers to demonstrate their best practices or to work on improving them? For obvious reasons, much of the action in the field of SEL measurement […]

  • Sorting Through Positive Development Frameworks

    By: Katherine M. Ross, Ph.D., Clark Hill Institute for Positive Youth Development, Virginia Commonwealth University Patrick H. Tolan, Ph.D., Curry School of Education, University of Virginia   The shifting interest from the longstanding deficit orientation to how healthy, effective development occurs has generated renewed excitement for education, health and wellbeing.  In this new approach, four major frameworks have emerged:  Social Competence, Social and Emotional Learning, Positive Youth Development, and Positive Psychology.  Surprisingly, the literature, contributors, and consumers of each framework have developed with little cross-fertilization.  Within frameworks and among adherents of each, programs, key concepts, and implications for promotion of positive development and prevention of youth problems have been produced separately.   How similar are these approaches and are there meaningful distinctions in how, […]

  • Ending the Testing Debate: New Report is Advancing the Case for Ways to Measure the Hard-to-Measure

    By Lexi Barrett, Senior Director of National Education Policy at Jobs for the Future (JFF); and Stephanie Krauss, Director of Special Projects at JFF and CASEL CSI advisor   For those of us who have championed the importance of SEL and deeper learning for some time, we know the sticking points. One concern we hear a lot is, “social emotional and deeper learning skills may be important, but how do you measure them?” As the saying goes, what gets measured gets done. As we recover from the education era of standardization—marked by No Child Left Behind, remembered for its many standardized tests—we see this question for what it is. People want to know how you can measure these hard-to-measure skills, consistently […]

  • In Defense of Self-Report Surveys

    By Kent Pekel, Eugene C. Roehlkepartain, and Amy K. Syvertsen, Search Institute   Our organization recently interviewed more than fifty leaders and practitioners in schools and youth programs to launch a major applied research project focused on strengthening young people’s social and emotional skills by building developmental relationships between young people and adults and between young people and their peers. As part of these interviews, leaders were asked if and how they are measuring social-emotional skills and relationships. Most said they are measuring SEL in some way, usually by asking students to complete self-report surveys on which they report on their attitudes, skills, and behaviors. Despite the relatively widespread use of self-report surveys, several of the leaders told us that […]

  • A Framework for SEL Integration: It’s Time to Teach Differently

    By Dr. Tara Laughlin, Director of Readiness Curriculum at PAIRIN The world is changing, and so too are the skills necessary to thrive in school, work, and life. Now more than ever, one’s success is linked not just to foundational academic knowledge, such as math and reading, but to competencies such as collaboration, decision making, and social awareness, often referred to as ‘social-emotional’ skills.  These essential skills will not suddenly materialize; they need to be nurtured and developed just like anything else students are expected to learn.  However, high-stakes accountability systems have increased pressure on educators, ensuring that most are faced with a daunting challenge they are not fully prepared to address: How can I purposefully ensure my students gain essential […]

  • Formative Assessment of Social and Emotional Skills

    By Tom Vander Ark and Mary Ryerse   One of the unique things about social and emotional learning (SEL) is that skills are acquired through discrete instruction and integrated application. They are discrete in that they can be specifically described, practiced, developed and assessed. At the same time, those skills are best integrated and applied into everything we do and ought to be part of an ongoing development process. Formative feedback specific to SEL skills is critical for development of these competencies in both direct instruction and integrated application. Interestingly, SEL skills are (likewise) critical for formative assessment processes across all content areas. When students are involved in giving and receiving feedback (integral to formative assessment) — whether specific to […]

  • Featured Resources from the Field

    By Jordan Trejo, CASEL     Exciting progress is happening in the SE competence assessment field, including the recent release of several great resources. Here’s five to check out:   This month’s issue of ASCD’s Educational Leadership is dedicated to all things assessment. Articles span topics from thinking about what really matters in contemporary education and assessment, to teacher-created performance assessments, to a standardized approach called ‘goal attainment scaling’. Half of the articles are currently available free to read for a limited time.   While you’re there, make sure you also read “Accounting for the Whole Child” from our collaborators at Transforming Education. They make a strong case for the importance of SEL and why measuring student SE competencies goes hand-in-hand […]

  • Remember the Relationships: The Missing Link that Makes SEL Measures More Understandable and Actionable

    By Kent Pekel and Peter C. Scales, Search Institute   The term “social-emotional learning” starts with the word social, and so it may seem strange to contend, as we do in this blog and in a longer white paper, that most approaches to SEL and SEL measurement underemphasize the role of relationships in strengthening SEL. As the field has focused on students’ interpersonal capacities and intrapersonal self-regulation, relationships obviously haven’t been ignored, but, for the most part, we suggest that the field hasn’t paid adequate attention to the relationships between teachers and students through which social and emotional skills can be powerfully enhanced. The focus of most SEL measures is on the individual student’s social-emotional knowledge and skills, rather than […]

  • One Standard Does Not Fit All: Creating Levels of SEL Effectiveness across School and Work

    By Steven Manning, Ph.D. candidate, Jason Way, Ph.D., Alex Casillas, Ph.D.; ACT, Inc. Educational leaders continue to recognize the value of enhancing social and emotional learning (SEL) and the importance of developing and measuring these skills in youth. Along with core academic skills, such as math, science, and English language arts, developing SEL skills has a positive impact on students’ success through their education and into their professional careers. Because measurement of SEL is relatively new when compared to core academic skills, it is often unclear which skills are appropriate to expect of students from elementary through postsecondary school settings. Clearly, we expect a difference between the typical high school and elementary student, but how do we determine which skills and specific […]

  • Building Support for Social and Emotional Learning: Having an Evidence Base is Critical

    By Sean Grant and Laura S. Hamilton   Mathematics and reading are standard subjects in every public-school education. But students need more than proficiency in reading or math – an increasing amount of research tells us that qualities like perseverance, active listening, empathy and good decision-making help our youth succeed both academically and in life. This has prompted more schools to become interested in integrating social and emotional learning (SEL) into their curriculum.   State and school district education leaders can find support for SEL programs under the federal law that governs K-12 public education policy, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). While it does not explicitly reference SEL, the law does support programming that improves school conditions for learning, […]

  • OECD’s New International Study on Social and Emotional Skills

    Miloš Kankaraš, Policy Analyst, Directorate for Education and Skills, OECD Javier Suarez-Alvarez, Policy Analyst, Directorate for Education and Skills, OECD   In response to growing policy interest and increasing body of empirical evidence pointing to the importance of social and emotional skills, the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) has recently launched a new study on the social and emotional skills of school-aged children. The Study on Social and Emotional Skills (SSES) is part of wider OECD efforts to place greater emphasis on the development of these skills in schools and other settings. The SSES is a new OECD international survey that assesses 10 and 15 year-old students in a number of cities and countries around the world. Apart […]

  • It’s Time to Bring Research on Learning Together with Practice

    IT’S TIME TO BRING RESEARCH ON LEARNING TOGETHER WITH PRACTICE By Jacqueline Jodl, National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development   A few weeks ago, a 28-member council of researchers working under the aegis of the National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development at the Aspen Institute released The Evidence Base for How We Learn: Supporting Students’ Social, Emotional, and Academic Development. This brief represents a major, foundational step in our journey to help educators, parents, and communities create learning environments—in and out of school—that support the development of students and enable them to succeed in academic and civic life.   In short, it is a must read for anyone who cares about how we educate our young […]