Sharing SEL Assessments with the Community

Washoe County School District (WCSD) is one of eight urban school districts that partnered with CASEL to implement comprehensive SEL practices at all grade levels since 2012. Since then, all schools in the district have implemented Social and Emotional Learning – a key component of WCSD’s strategic plan – through staff training, curriculum, and integration of standards into schools and classrooms.

In 2013, WCSD and CASEL received an Institute of Education Sciences grant to develop a measure to assess students’ social and emotional competencies and study how they impact student academic and behavioral outcomes. This researcher-practitioner partnership collaborated to improve self-assessments of social emotional competencies as part of a regular school climate survey. Over the past four years, Washoe has been collecting student social and emotional competence data on their students.

As part of its continuing dedication to SEL and celebration of academic and personal success for its students and staff, WCSD has now added easy-to-access information about SEL to its public data page at While the District has consistently shared information about SEL and students’ social and emotional competencies with the community, this is the first time the data has been made interactive and available through its online site, which already contains extensive information, data, and statistics about graduation rates and Smarter Balanced assessments in the district.

Take a look at the SEL data page here:  

On the SEL data page, you can find a basic overview on Social and Emotional Learning, how it is being used in WCSD, why the district focuses on it, and what is to come in the future. The purpose of this site is to share “data stories” with narrative and visual displays of relevant data that allow our community to interact with and get to know our data.

As the website demonstrates, having strong social-emotional competence is related to all facets of school and life. Students with higher social-emotional skills perform better academically, are less likely to be suspended, and are more likely to be on track to graduation. “Nationally, research indicates a strong positive link between social and emotional competencies and student outcomes, and we are hopeful the data can open a conversation about how we can better support students’ social and emotional growth along their pathway to graduation and beyond,” said Laura Davidson, director of research and evaluation for WCSD. “The data tell a fuller story about our students than math or reading assessments alone can provide. Students, through the data, are telling us exactly which social and emotional competencies are strengths and challenges for them. Now it is our job to work with students and educators to figure out how best to support their development.”


How would you use SEL data to improve practice in your district?


To learn more about the development and continuous improvement of the measure of social and emotional competence, see:

Davidson, L. A., Crowder, M. K., Gordon, R. A., Domitrovich, C. E., Brown, R. D., & Hayes, B. I. (2017). A continuous improvement approach to social and emotional competency measurement. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology.


Disclaimer: The Assessment Work Group is committed to enabling a rich dialogue on key issues in the field and seeking out diverse perspectives. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Assessment Work Group, CASEL or any of the organizations involved with the work group.

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  1. Washoe County has a very well developed reporting system, complete with data and supports. Well worth reviewing to see what your own district could do to emulate.

  2. It’s impressive and encouraging to see that student who learn the 5 competencies of SEL also excel in other academic areas. I firmly believe that the old paradigm of rewarding academic excellence without regards for emotional intelligence has resulted in unhealthy workplace behavior and governance that can and should be corrected with this generation of a well-rounded students. I believe in this so much that I wrote about it,

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