By Dale Blyth and Roger P. Weissberg
Life and learning involve many transitions – transitions out of initiatives, transitions over to new ways of doing things, and transitions into exploring new ways to move forward.
At times of transition it is critically important to express appreciation. We wish to express our appreciation to all those who have been on the journey with us and for those who are helping to create new opportunities moving forward. This blog is about the transitions we are making as the Assessment Work Group efforts transition out in June 2020, and we ensure its resources transition over to CASEL formally so they can continue to be accessed. Finally, it is about exploring new possibilities for the field as we transition into the future.
Transitioning Out — The funding for the Assessment Work Group (AWG) ended in December 2019 after three years. During that time, members and collaborators of the AWG published a major State of the Field Report and brief on “Making SEL Assessment Work: Ten Practitioner Beliefs”, conducted three annual Design Challenges, wrote 20 briefs about SEL Frameworks, carried out two national surveys of principals, started the Measuring SEL website, built the Collaborator Network of over 3,700 people internationally, created an interactive Assessment Guide, and posted over 125 weekly blogs. These products were the result of a collaboration built to improve knowledge about SEL assessments and the use of data to inspire SEL practices – all at a time when SEL has grown in visibility and implementation nationally and internationally. We are grateful to the AWG members, partner organizations, and the staff and consultants who have made all this possible.
Transitioning Over — As the AWG formally transitions out of this work, there remains much to be done in the field. To help ensure progress continues, we are working with CASEL to make sure all these existing resources remain available and are incorporated into the emerging vision for a new, integrated CASEL website. The Measuring SEL website will continue to be available until the transition over to CASEL is complete.
Between now and June, we will also continue to blog regularly. March will feature blogs on multiple interesting topics including (a) how a city explored how to “Propel SEL” through community engagement and adult professional development for those working with youth, (b) efforts to prepare adults in a national youth serving organization, and (c) how SEL relates to dance youth programming. Among future blogs is also one by Christina Cipriano from the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence on the next steps in the journey and creating a new pathway for helping people find and use measurement that matters. Her blog is based on a pre-conference convening, Catalyzing Future Directions of Social and Emotional Learning Assessment, hosted by the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and CASEL at last year’s SEL Exchange in Chicago. Five essential next phases of work for the field emerged and will be discussed in the blog followed by individual blogs in June highlighting each phase and the resources being developed to support practice.
Transitioning In — Starting in mid-April we will begin a series of blogs by CASEL staff on their evolving theory of action model and the ways it is informing their continuous improvement work with partners in real world settings. These efforts are part of CASEL’s ongoing Learning Lab work.
Exploring New Pathways Forward– Finally, an informal group of interested folks is starting to systematically explore the need for and possible directions a new SEL journal might take to support the creation, sharing and use of evidence – both research evidence and practice evidence – in advancing systematic and effective SEL implementation efforts at multiple levels in and outside of schools. Our goal in exploring this new pathway for learning and action is to make sure we not just create another scientific journal with limited access but rather explore how to encourage and enable applied work in SEL that can contribute evidence and guide progress around evidence informed practice and policy. More will be shared in a future blog about the journal. If you have suggestions or other thoughts about the need for or directions a journal might take, please send comments to Dale Blyth at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All those involved in the Assessment Work Group and its collaborative effort, as well as all the folks at CASEL, are thankful for what has been learned and shared out. We look forward to what will come next. We hope you, our members of the Collaborator Network and the readers of this blog, will stay tuned as these transitions play out and new pathways for impact are built.
As always, we hope you will use the comment space below to share your perspectives with us and how you have used the work we have produced. We appreciate and value your perspectives on ways to ensure all young people have opportunities to build and use the social and emotional competencies needed for success in school, careers, and life.
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.