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Case studies: how people are using assessment in practice

  • One way SEL assessment can support school community thriving

    By Christina Cipriano, Ph.D., Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence Early in March I shared an update on the conclusion of a project- Catalyzing the Future Directions of Social and Emotional Learning Assessment. As part of that work, stakeholders from across the SEL field mobilized to embark on curating an initial set of open-source learning modules aligned to five areas identified as essential next phases of work for SEL Assessment – Leverage Existing Resources and Expertise, Promote SEL Data Literacy, Enable Equity, Engage Youth Voice, and Integrate SEL Assessment at the System Level.   Just days after the report was published, the COVID-19 pandemic descended upon our country, the field of SEL rushed to the calls for action from our school communities. […]

  • Using Stories with Numbers to Reveal Social-Emotional Impact

    By:  Barry Kibel and Melinda Lackey, SEED Impact “You would not think this is the same Alicia who started our program in the fall. She’s a different person! She was angry at the world and clearly did not want to be with us. To see the smile on her face and hear her laughter these days, it warms our hearts. Alicia has grown miles in all aspects of our program. She is quick to volunteer. She is a positive role model. She helps her peers to take perspective and be respectful to each other…” What difference do stories make in out-of-school program evaluations?  The best evidence of Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) is found in stories.  Stories confirm how well young people […]

  • Data + SEL = Big Growth for Kids

    By: Anne Childers Guide students to be agents of their own learning through data analysis and SEL There is tremendous power in coupling school data and social and emotional learning. While most schools have access to a surplus of student data, figuring out how to use it to drive learning remains a mystery. One innovation I have been developing as a district data coach and now as a classroom teacher is a process to teach kids how to look at their own data. More specifically, the process helps kids employ SEL strategies to look at their NWEA growth data. NWEA is an assessment that measures growth over time and norms scores to 10.2 million students- giving both growth and achievement […]

  • How much do schools and educators impact students’ social-emotional learning?

    By: Libby Pier (Education Analytics) & Heather Hough (Policy Analysis for California Education) In 2014, the CORE Districts—a consortium of eight of the largest school districts in California serving more than one million students—began measuring students’ social-emotional learning (SEL) as part of a No Child Left Behind (NCLB) waiver enabling CORE to develop a holistic school quality measurement system. In collaboration with researchers and SEL content experts, CORE curated items to measure four social-emotional competencies: growth mindset, self-efficacy, self-management, and social awareness. Although the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) nullified the NCLB waiver, CORE has continued to measure students’ SEL annually since 2014 and reports school-level averages for informational purposes. Before CORE began administering annual SEL surveys […]

  • My Lessons Learned Working with a Diverse Set of School Leaders Deeply Committed to Taking a Data-Informed Approach to Whole Child Development

    By: DJ Cervantes Since 2016, Transforming Education has worked closely with NewSchools Venture Fund to collaborate with a growing portfolio of innovative school leaders across the nation. This collaboration supports the efforts of these schools in expanding the definition of student success by integrating an intentional and data-informed focus on the mindsets, habits, and skills needed for success in college, career, and life as well as the positive school environment conditions that promote them. Collectively, it is our belief that when these skills and conditions are coupled with strong academic outcomes, students are better positioned to graduate from high school prepared and inspired to lead a good life full of opportunity, connections, choices, and meaning.  A core element in this pursuit […]

  • Promoting Equity with SEL Measurement

    By Laura Davidson, Director of Research & Evaluation, Washoe County Schools and Elizabeth Breese, Panorama Education   By asking students to report their mindsets, attitudes, and behaviors related to social-emotional learning through SEL self-report surveys, districts can gain new perspective on how to promote equity in schools.    Which student groups are reporting well below—or well above—average for social-emotional learning topics such as growth mindset, self-management, and social awareness? Are students experiencing school safety, sense of belonging, or teacher-student relationships differently based on race, ethnicity, and socio-economic status?    To answer these questions, districts combine SEL data with the data available in their student information systems (SIS) to view trends across student groups including:    Chronically absent students English language […]

  • Assessing SEL in School-Community Partnerships

    By: Saskia Traill, Senior Vice President, ExpandED Schools ExpandED Schools helps schools and partnering after-school providers create a shared vision for working with young people. The schools and community-based organizations (CBOs) bring together their resources and expertise to give youth more opportunities to develop their talents and develop as a whole child—including socially, emotionally and academically. The result is a holistic and coherent learning day with a range of educators, including certified teachers, teaching artists, and youth development professionals. Over the past three years, with a generous grant from the New York Life Foundation, we focused on the depth and integration of SEL to reach all young people in participating middle schools along with their after-school providers. We found that a more intentional […]

  • To Support Educators in Promoting SEL, Leverage Summer More Effectively

    by Brenda McLaughlin, Chief Impact Officer, BellXcel   Over the past 20 years, summer learning programs have gained increasing recognition as important contributors to a child’s educational journey. Since youth spend 80% of their waking hours outside of school, summer and afterschool programs provide additional touchpoints for healthy development, academic achievement, and exposure to enriching experiences. At BellXcel, we have believed in the power of summer learning for over 25 years. We partner with schools and community-based organizations across the country to ensure more young people have access to high-quality summer experiences – particularly young people living in under-resourced communities. Over time, we have carefully crafted our logic model to confirm we had the right inputs to support the success […]

  • Nyack Public Schools Use Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Survey to Move Our Equity Agenda Forward

    By: James Montesano, Nyack Public Schools, with Sara Stoutland, Independent Consultant   The Nyack Public Schools have been working to close achievement gaps for years. We are a racially, ethnically, and socioeconomically diverse district, located about 30 miles north of New York City. As a community, we are proud of our diversity, and we are also deeply troubled by persistent racial and socioeconomic achievement gaps. We have disproportionate outcomes by race/ethnicity and socio-economic status in AP classes, suspensions, and special education identification.   In the past, we addressed these gaps by establishing targeted programs aimed at students who were not performing up to their potential— students of color and those from low-income backgrounds. Through these efforts, we saw some improvement in graduation […]

  • SEL Learning Through a Continuous Improvement Cycle

    By: Stan Masters, Coordinator of Instructional Data Services, Lenawee ISD, Adrian, MI   How could a continuous improvement process for social-emotional learning (SEL) increase measurable educational outcomes for students?  That was the question asked by the Lenawee Cradle to Career Partnership when it began utilizing the CASEL Framework with schools throughout Lenawee County, Michigan.   Working with the superintendents and local community partners, the partnership utilized resources from CASEL and Panorama Education, to implement a Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) cycle, a scientific method used when engaged in action-oriented learning.   New work targeted to student SEL started at a small scale:  one school with students from three grades.  The school had seen an increase in inappropriate student behaviors and believed that more direct […]

  • Two For One: Using Our Academic Assessment Practices to Measure SEL

    By: Rose Pennington, Institute of Positive Psychology and Education   Having spent last year out of the classroom and devoted to my PhD studies, I am loving being back with students (albeit three days a week) because I can apply much of what I have been studying to my practice, to see how it looks like ‘in real life.’ Given that my thesis is examining the ways in which teachers can promote both academic potential and social and emotional skills, I have been considering whether the strategies touted for academic assessment would also serve to measure the social and emotional competencies I want my students to demonstrate.   At my school there is a targeted focus this year on formative […]

  • Austin’s Experience Using Multiple Measures of SEL

    By Lindsay Lamb, Program Evaluation Coordinator, Austin Independent School District   Measures of students’ SEL competence can be used alongside other data to support decisions around program implementation. Currently, the Austin Independent School District’s (AISD) Department of Research and Evaluation (DRE) uses multiple measures to assess effective SEL implementation, including an SEL Implementation Survey; AISD Student Climate Survey; Teaching Empowering, Leading, Learning (TELL) AISD Staff Climate Survey; Family Survey; PK-6th grade students’ personal development skills (report card ratings); and academic performance, attendance, and discipline data. Elementary school teachers’ assessment of their students’ SEL skills Every 9 weeks, teachers assess the frequency with which their PK-6th grade students engage in SEL-related skills using the personal development skills report card ratings. These ratings are […]