CSI Resources: Frameworks & Competencies

  • To help educators at different grade levels recognize, understand, and intentionally support development of social and emotional competencies in their students, the CASEL CSI recommends that states articulate what students should know and be able to do with regard to SEL (across all grades or grade bands, with developmental benchmarks or indicators). These competencies/standards provide an organizing framework for SEL that ideally includes simple, clear, concise, statements that are strongly grounded in research. Many states and districts use CASEL’s framework for SEL, the five core competencies of SEL. Some states and districts modify the CASEL framework slightly or choose other SEL frameworks to define their SEL learning goals.

    The following table summarizes our research on frameworks in 18 states that have adopted comprehensive K-12 or PreK-12 standards/competencies or guidelines for SEL. Scroll down to view examples of other frameworks currently in use. Click on the table to view PDF version. To view the 18 frameworks, download the March 2020 brief here.

  • To learn more about how all the states are developing competencies and guidance, explore CASEL’s State Scorecard Scan and accompanying brief.


Feel free to download, customize, and use with attribution, e.g., “Developed by Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning and used with permission.”

An Examination of K-12 SEL Learning Competencies/Standards in 18 StatesAn update of our State Frameworks Brief published in 2019. This report updates our previous analysis to include four additional sets of learning standards (for a total of 18 states) and provides important updates about the original 14 states. (March 2020) Click here for the February 2019 version.

Keeping SEL Developmental: The Importance of a Developmental Lens for Fostering and Assessing SEL CompetenciesHow development and the developmental tasks children and youth face at different ages are essential to everything about SEL, including how we frame what SEL is, the standards used to describe what it looks like over time, and how to deliver instruction and assessment. (November 2018) 

SEL Frameworks – What are They and Why are They Important? Introducing the nature, types, importance, and uses of frameworks.

SEL Frameworks – Practical Challenges and Opportunities. Describing current challenges that the multitude of frameworks present for practice and facilitating a discussion of opportunities for addressing them.

Ten Criteria for Describing and Selecting SEL Frameworks. Defining criteria for rating the extent to which a framework is conceptually clear, is based on evidence, and has different types of implementation supports.

Introduction to the Descriptive Series. Discusses and illustrates ways to use criteria to prioritize, review, rate, and compare frameworks. It is designed to help practitioners and organizations determine their priority needs and provide snapshots of prominent SEL frameworks.

CASEL SEL CompetenciesUse this to learn more about the basics of social and emotional learning and CASEL’s five core SEL competencies. Many of the states’ and districts’ SEL frameworks are based on or incorporate the CASEL competencies.

Key Features of High-Quality Policies and Guidelines to Support Social and Emotional LearningUseful for identifying the key features of SEL policies and guidelines, as well as associated example resources from other states or districts that implement SEL policies and guidelines.

Recommended Process for Developing State Policies and Guidelines to Support Social and Emotional Learning14 steps that states can use to develop SEL-related policies and guidelines.

A Process for Developing and Articulating Learning Goals or Competencies for Social and Emotional LearningMore specific guidance to help state teams develop SEL standards and competencies.


AIR: Identifying, Defining, and Measuring Social and Emotional CompetenciesThis report surveys 136 established and emerging SEL frameworks across 14 fields of study to identify intersections and key concepts of SEL across the frameworks. You can use this resource if you want to learn more about the wide variety of frameworks used in the SEL field.

Aspen Institute: This Time, With Feeling: Integrating SEL Development and College- and Career-Readiness Standards. This brief on the integration of SEL with college and career readiness standards outlines the mutually reinforcing benefits of these two competency frameworks. Refer to this if you are interested in integrating SEL into college and career readiness preparation into a framework.

Wallace Foundation: Navigating SEL From the Inside Out. This report provides detailed information on the skills, instructional methods, and programmatic features for 25 in-school SEL programs for elementary students. In addition, it describes opportunities for alignment between SEL frameworks and out-of-school time programs. You can use this report to gain an in-depth profile of 25 SEL programs and to learn more about aligning specific SEL programs to your school’s mission or schedule.



Illinois K–12 SEL Standards and Performance Indicators (2004)
The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) was the first state to develop K–12 SEL standards and performance indicators (2004). They align with CASEL competencies and include indicators and developmental benchmarks by grade band. In addition, the standards align with the Illinois Early Learning and Development Standards for Preschool.


Kansas SEL and Character Development Model Standards
The Kansas standards cover the CASEL five core competencies in three areas: character development, personal development and social development. They were originally adopted in 2012 and were recently updated to align with the College and Career Readiness goal in Kansas. The Kansas standards include indicators for each standard by grade band. These standards are unique because they integrate social and emotional development with character development. All five CASEL competencies can be found in the Kansas standards, but they are organized into personal, social, and character (which includes responsible decision making).


Michigan Early Childhood to Grade 12 Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Competencies and Indicators
These competencies and indicators are aligned with the CASEL competencies and include indicators with developmental benchmarks by grade band. They integrate birth through prekindergarten SEL standards throughout. In addition, the competencies include strategies educators can use to support student development.



Minnesota SEL Competencies
The Minnesota SEL Competencies are aligned with the CASEL competencies and include indicators with developmental benchmarks by grade band. The competencies connect to a school climate framework created when the antibullying Safe and Supportive Schools Act was signed into law in Minnesota in 2014. The Minnesota competencies are unique because they include strategies and sample activities educators can use to support student development of the competencies. The team also developed specific guidance for assessment, professional development, equity, and district implementation.


New York

New York: Social Emotional Learning—Essential for Learning, Essential for Life
Addresses the need for SEL in New York’s schools and serves as an introduction to a series of resources, including voluntary Social Emotional Learning Benchmarks, a Guide to Systemic Whole School Implementation, and a series of school district-developed crosswalks aligning SEL competencies with learning standards in the content areas. Particularly strong on equity issues.

New York State Social Emotional Learning Benchmarks
Benchmarks for three key SEL goals: (1) develop self-awareness and self-management skills essential to success in school and in life; (2) use social awareness and interpersonal skills to establish and maintain positive relationships; (3) demonstrate ethical decision-making skills and responsible behaviors in personal, school, and community contexts. The benchmarks are organized according to four grade spans: early elementary (K-3), late elementary (4-5), middle school (6-8), early high school (9-10), and late high school (11-12).

North Dakota

North Dakota Social and Emotional Learning Goals (2018)
North Dakota created its Social Emotional Learning Goals (K-12) in 2018 and fully aligned the indicators for each goal by grade band with the CASEL competencies. The goals are unique because they also include SEL Student-Friendly Scales that act as developmental benchmarks for grade bands.


Tennessee K-12 Social and Personal Competencies Resource Guide
The Tennessee competencies are closely aligned with the CASEL competencies and include indicators and developmental benchmarks by grade band. The competencies are also directly connected with the state’s goal of building a bridge to post-secondary success for their students.


Wisconsin SEL Competencies
The Wisconsin PreK-Adult SEL competencies include competencies and indicators with developmental benchmarks that align with the state’s early learning framework. The competencies generally align with the competencies included in CASEL framework but are organized slightly differently to reflect specific state goals of emotional development, self-concept, and social competence for students. The competencies are closely related to the state’s work to support students experiencing trauma.



Anchorage School District SEL Standards
These standards provide sub-indicators relevant to all grades. The standards organize competencies into a grid that create four categories of competencies that overlap with and encompass (but are framed slightly differently from) the five CASEL competencies). The axes include: self/social, and awareness/management. Many state teams like the “I can” statements that orient the standards from the student’s perspective, rather than the adults’.


Austin Independent School District SEL Standards
The Austin Independent School District developed its K-12 SEL standards in 2012. They fully align with the CASEL competencies and provide objectives for each standard by grade band (K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12, and 10-12).


Cleveland SEL Scope and Sequence
The Cleveland SEL Scope and Sequence presents K-12 standards that are fully aligned with the CASEL competencies. The scope and sequence is unique, as CMSD created indicators with developmental benchmarks for each standard for each grade.


Oakland Unified School District SEL Standards
The Oakland SEL standards are aligned with the CASEL competencies and uniquely apply from PreK to Adult. The Oakland working group was deeply committed to creating these standards to reflect equity.


Washoe County

Washoe County School District SEL Standards
The Washoe County K-12 standards are aligned with the CASEL competencies and include indicators for each competency. The Washoe County standards are an example of a set of district standards that were elevated by the state (Nevada) to create the state K-12 competencies.