Focus on SEL Assessment at the 2019 SEL Exchange

*Please note that the SEL Exchange is sold out. For those unable to attend, CASEL will be sharing materials online, insights from presenters, webinars on selected topics, and more during the coming year. For updates, follow along at @2019SELExchange or subscribe to CASEL’s monthly Connections newsletter.


On October 3rd and 4th, the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) is hosting the 2019 SEL Exchange, an inaugural conference on social and emotional learning for 1,500 global participants. The 2019 SEL Exchange offers a unique and timely opportunity to gather individuals committed to the comprehensive development and success of all students. It is designed to address the pressing questions of the field itself so participants can learn with and from those at the frontiers of SEL research, policy, and practice. While the Exchange is already sold out, CASEL, as well as this website, will be sharing materials and information from the conference during the coming year.


To elevate and address key topics, CASEL launched a call for sessions and the response was overwhelmingly positive. Nearly 1,000 proposals were received from global presenters for about 150 available sessions across research, practice, and policy. The response included evidence of  a growing demand from the field for guidance on how to design and use assessments of students’ social and emotional competence. 


In response, the 2019 SEL Exchange has developed a special track focused on SEL assessments, with 12 workshops (highlighted below) that will address everything from choosing the right assessment to most effectively using the results. While we look forward to knowing more after the conference about assessment strategies and practices that are emerging from the field, the selected conference sessions highlight: 


  • The growing number of organizations addressing SEL assessment and data use, from developers and intermediaries to nonprofit organizations and school districts. 
  • The widening focus of SEL assessment. Measuring students’ perceptions, behaviors, and performance, yes. But also looking at the adults in the school and the climate and culture they are creating. 
  • Several different efforts to help educators select an assessment from the growing portfolio of available measures, such as surveys, performance measures, digital tools, and more. 
  • Increased efforts to help educators more effectively use the data to improve teaching and learning.


In addition to the sessions during the Exchange, over 75 research, policy, and practice leaders will attend a special invitational pre-session on October 2 to review the current state of SEL assessment and explore challenges and opportunities that might be best addressed collaboratively.  


SEL Assessment Sessions:

After the SEL Assessment: Effective Data Review for What Matters Most

Clark McKown, xSEL Labs

Participants will have an opportunity to evaluate their own data use practices and how to structure data review team meetings to get to insights that can guide action.


Assessing 21st-Century Skills in a Digital Age: Skills-Based Rubrics and Digital Badging

Emily George, Providence After School Alliance; Kate Aubin and Mireille Sturman, Providence Public Library

Learn how one community and one rubric are changing a city’s approach toward assessing essential skills in credit-bearing, expanded learning opportunities.


Building the Assessments We Need: The Development of New Actionable SEL Data-Points for Teachers

Jessica Hoffmann, Christina Cipriano, James L. Floman and Cynthia Willner, Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence

Learn about emerging evidence from new projects focusing on teacher emotional well-being, student emotion regulation across the academic lifespan, school climate in secondary school, and SEL accessibility for diverse learners.


Choosing and Using SEL Assessments: What Schools and Districts Need to Know

Katie Buckley, Transforming Education; Laura Hamilton, RAND Corporation; Jon Schweig, RAND Corporation; Jeremy Taylor, The Possible Project 

Learn the value of assessing students SEL competencies, how educators can determine which available SEL competency assessments are right for them, and how they can best use data from assessments. Participants will engage with best-in-class examples from the field of how SEL assessments are being used effectively in practice.


Choosing and Using SEL Frameworks: Challenges, Opportunities, and Tools

Roger Weissberg, CASEL; Dale Blyth, University of Minnesota and Strategic Consulting; Stephanie Jones, EASEL Lab; Teresa Borowski, CASEL

Led by SEL framework and assessment experts, this session will help practitioners to sort through the variety of different SEL frameworks available and to select, create, or adapt ones that they can best align with and use to advance SEL work in their settings. Participants will explore the insights from a series of briefs that 1) introduce what frameworks are and do and criteria useful in selecting one that fits, 2) examine three existing efforts to compare frameworks, 3) address special issues of equity and using a developmental lens, and 4) describe some of the most commonly used frameworks.


Continuous Improvement in the Development and Use of Social-Emotional Learning Measures: Lessons from Large-Scale Survey Administration in the CORE Districts

Heather Hough, Policy Analysis for California Education; Andrew Rice and Libby Pier, Education Analytics; and Dave Calhoun; CORE Districts

Learn about CORE’s SEL survey, understand approaches to continuous improvement in SEL measurement over time, discover how practitioners are using survey results, and design ways to display data.


An Equitable Approach to SEL Data: Building Youth-Researcher-Practitioner Partnerships for Assessment Design and Use

Alexandra Lotero, Sooah Rho, and Omar Khan, Student Success Network

Take a closer look at the key aspects of the Network’s model that enables authentic youth-adult partnership; critically examine youth participation at your organizations; and make action commitments focused on youth partnership.


From Sweating the Small Stuff to Scaling Up: SEL Assessment Now and in the Future

Hunter Gehlbach, UCSB/Panorama Education; Sam Moulton and Brian Rainville, Panorama Education

Learn about 1) key decisions (and potential hazards) in designing SEL assessments, 2) determining how high-quality data can produce savvy evidence-based decision-making at scale, and 3) the intrinsic trade-offs that remain in even today’s best systems and how to overcome these limitations.


Selecting Social and Emotional Learning Assessments That Are Rigorous, Reasonable, and Relevant

Paul LeBuffe, Aperture Education; Nova Biro, Kickboard; and Maria Kharitonova, xSEL Labs

Gain insights about three different approaches to SEL assessment: teacher ratings, student performance assessment, and direct observation. Plus, learn three key criteria to use in evaluating and selecting an assessment.


Taking the Measure of SEL Assessment: The Current State of the Field and a Vision for its Future

Clark McKown, xSEL Labs; Roger Weissberg, CASEL; Eric Moore, Minneapolis Public Schools; and Mona Johnson, Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (Washington)

Learn about the AWG’s State of the Field report (to be released later this month), and explore with experts representing research, practice, and policy the role of SEL assessment in advancing teaching and learning.


We are excited that there are multiple opportunities to share the collective efforts of the Assessment Work Group, creator of MeasuringSEL, with a global audience. The sessions will present learnings on SEL frameworks and the interactive SEL Assessment Guide, and explore a vision for the future of assessment. These build on insights that have emerged over the past three years and are based in part on feedback you, as members of the Collaborator’s Network, have provided.


Stay tuned to learn more on SEL assessment from the many presenters and activities at the SEL Exchange. 


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