SEL Field Notes | July 12

This newsletter is curated by the American Institutes for Research and CASEL for the MeasuringSEL Collaborator Network and aims to keep you engaged with news, research, and resources relevant to measurement and data in the field of social and emotional learning.
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Measurement in Practice
The 74: Most educators assess their students’ social-emotional learning, but few see the whole picture. Here’s what they’re missing
Most educators say they’re assessing social-emotional learning in their classrooms, according to a recent analysis from the RAND Corporation of national teacher and principal survey data. But the report found that the assessments they use don’t always capture the whole picture.

A majority of teachers and principals are measuring school climate — whether students feel safe to learn, whether they have good relationships with adults — but fewer are testing how well students can demonstrate actual social-emotional skills like self-management, compassion, and taking someone else’s perspective.

Research and Deep Dives
EdSurge: What does it take to make interoperability work in K-12 education?
Interoperability, defined dryly, is the seamless, secure and controlled exchange of data between different applications and technologies. The term is a mouthful, yet the concept enables many conveniences we take for granted. It allows, for instance, pharmacists to verify and prepare your medications after your doctor’s visit. In education, however, interoperability has lagged behind other industries and services. Data is fragmented across different systems that don’t “speak” to one another. This means records are not easily transferable between tools used within the same school or district. Many times, products don’t even record student or achievement data in the same format, which makes it difficult to compile data into one place.

Education Week: Want more creativity? Help children see themselves differently
Young students love trying on adult identities, from police officer to scientist to rock star. But helping children understand the many roles they already play may improve their creativity and problem-solving skills. A series of experiments published in the journal Developmental Science finds that children who are reminded that they have “multiple identities”—being a brother, a student, and a baseball player at the same time, for example—performed better at creative problem-solving tasks than peers in a control group. They also were more likely to go beyond basic gender and race when considering other people’s identities. “You’re getting kids to think about themselves from a new perspective, and that new perspective is what shifts their ability to see these new associations to be more creative,” said Sarah Gaither, an assistant professor in psychology and neuroscience at Duke University and lead author of the article. “So it’s really, I think, a larger process of just getting someone to think bigger.”

Opinion
Education Week: The deficit lens of the ‘achievement gap’ needs to be flipped. Here’s how
Dave Paunesku of the Project for Education Research that Scales at Stanford University writes: Like many well-meaning researchers, teachers, administrators, and philanthropists, I used to talk a lot about achievement gaps. I wanted to help close the persistent attainment disparities between white students and students of color and between rich and poor students. I wanted to improve the outcomes of those who have historically been left behind. As a researcher, I thought I could help do that by identifying the deficits in students’ skills and competencies that need to be improved. However, three years of participating in the Building Equitable Learning Environments Network has convinced me that we need to turn this thinking on its head.”

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