Hoosick Falls Central School District Uses SEL Assessment to Inform Instruction

Hoosick Falls Central School District in Rensselaer County, New York, has been using the Holistic Student Assessment (HSA) for 5th- to 12th-grade students since 2014. Each school uses physical education and wellness time to administer the survey, which takes 10 to 15 minutes to complete.

Why did you choose the the measure?

Our district began to incorporate social-emotional learning seven years ago and wanted an assessment that was student self-reported. The measure’s results dashboard allows teachers to view data trends at the student, grade and school-wide levels. This allows practices to be adjusted to be more responsive to students’ needs.

How do you use the measure?

Our schools use the data from this measure:

  1. To inform instructional practices. We examined the data and found that one grade scored low in reflection. To address this need, teachers incorporated a one-minute reflection period after reading, followed by a 30-second writing exercise. This practice can be used across many subjects.
  2. To assist in choosing an SEL program. The dashboard showed that sixth graders needed additional assistance. A teacher researched SEL programs and found one that allowed student voice and enhanced their existing efforts. We decided to pilot the program with our 6th graders.
  3. To help us design our own SEL programs. The dashboard showed that students needed additional support with peer and adult relations. To address this, the Hoosick Equine Connections Program was created to bring students to an equine farm and work on creating more supportive relationships in a non-traditional setting.

What additional insights would you share with others considering using a measure to inform instructional practices and decision-making?

We looked for an easy-to-administer assessment that comes with substantial training and technical assistance. Its dashboard is great for revealing grade level trends and growth over time; we saw the biggest gains in our 5th- and 6th-grade students.

The data were especially helpful when we were deciding on an additional SEL program to implement.

Kenneth A, Facin, Superintendent of Schools

Hoosick Falls Central School District

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