Assessment Tools

State Resource Center: SEL Assessment

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As the field of social and emotional learning has evolved, a variety of helpful and important ways to assess students’ social-emotional competence have emerged, including strategies for how teachers can monitor their students’ progress on social and emotional development in the classroom, and how schools can assess quality of implementation. 

CASEL does not yet recommend SEL measures for accountability purposes; however, states can provide support to measure the quality of implementation. The resources below can help.

Resources from CASEL

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

  • Assessment Framework Brief Series. A framework is simply a tool that helps organize ideas in order to provide a foundation for thinking, communicating, and acting. The field of SEL has a growing number of different frameworks, so finding a useful framework can help provide a foundation for SEL assessment and improvement efforts. The brief series below can help.
    • Keeping SEL Developmental: The Importance of a Developmental Lens for Fostering and Assessing SEL Competencies. 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). Download the brief.
    • SEL Frameworks – What are They and Why are They Important? Introducing the nature, types, importance, and uses of frameworks. (September 2018). Download the brief.
    • SEL Frameworks – Practical Challenges and Opportunities. Describing current challenges that the multitude of frameworks present and the opportunities for addressing them. (September 2018). Download the brief.
    • 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. (August 2019). Download the brief.
    • Introduction to the Descriptive Series. Discusses and illustrates ways to use criteria to prioritize, review, rate, and compare frameworks. (August 2019). Download the brief.
  • Encouraging Social and Emotional Learning: Next Steps for States. Developed in collaboration with the Learning Policy Institute, this brief is designed specifically for state policymakers. It provides actionable steps for states looking to measure and promote SEL, including recommendations for how to begin to monitor SEL. Use this resource if you are interested in assessing SEL in appropriate ways. (June 2018). Download the brief.
  • Compendium of Preschool Through Elementary School SEL and Associated Assessment Measures. The report provides descriptions and ratings of multiple widely available SEL assessment measures. Use this if you want to know about specific SEL assessment tools for preschool or elementary school. (October 2010)  Download the report.
  • ESSA, SEL, and Accountability Webinar. This webinar features a discussion with the Learning Policy Institute and CASEL on approaches and recommendations for measuring and monitoring student SEL, including SEL in the connect of ESSA plans. View the webinar if you are interested in learning how best to approach the measurement of SEL. (June 2018). Watch the webinar (via YouTube).

Resources from Other Organizations

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  • Are You Ready to Assess Social and Emotional Development? The American Institutes for Research. The toolkit provides information on multiple SEL assessment tools in four developmental areas (early childhood, elementary school, middle and high school, and the workforce), detailing the format, cost, and setting of various SEL assessments. Use it if you are interested in selecting an SEL assessment tool for a specific population or SEL outcome. (October 2019). Download the toolkit.
  • Encouraging Social and Emotional Learning in the Context of New Accountability. Learning Policy Institute. The report describes the opportunities and challenges of expanding SEL under ESSA and offers guidance on SEL assessment. Use this if you are interested in understanding SEL in the context of ESSA. (April 2017). Download the report.
  • Social-Emotional Learning Assessment Measures for Middle School Youth. Raikes Foundation. This report reviews the strengths and weaknesses of 73 SEL measures specific to middle school students. It includes information on 10 measures with details about rating type and core competencies. (January 2011). Download the report.

Resources from States and School Districts

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  • Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE) – Using Surveys of Students’ Social-Emotional Learning and School Climate for Accountability and Continuous Improvement. This survey assessed SEL and school climate/culture in California’s CORE districts to understand how the constructs are related to school improvement. Use this resource to learn more if you are considering measures of SEL and school climate for school improvement purposes. (March 2017). Download the report.
  • Minnesota Department of Education: SEL Assessment Guidance. The tool at the bottom of the webpage povides a comprehensive discussion of SEL assessment for teachers, school leaders, and districts. Grounded in data-informed decision-making, this report encourages continuous improvement and distinguishes between outcome and process measures. Download the tool.
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