Work Group (AWG) New Year’s Resolutions for 2019

By: Jeremy Taylor, Jordan Trejo, and Roger Weissberg (CASEL)


In December we reflected on the progress the AWG made in 2018 to advance SEL assessment. Now we’d like to share the exciting work we have planned for the coming year. In 2019, our efforts will focus more on ensuring that educators across the world can effectively use the SEL assessment resources and tools we have created during the past two years. We will accomplish this through:

  1. Improving what we offer and how we share it,
  2. Engaging an expanding array of educators to foster broad and effective use of SEL measures, and
  3. Planning for the future as we strategically anticipate what is needed to enhance the use of data to inspire SEL practice.

IMPROVING what we offer and how we share it. We will improve the ways we help practitioners understand, choose, and use SEL frameworks and assessments by sharing new resources and continuously improving those we already launched.

The Series of Framework Briefs will expand and deepen, with at least 13 new briefs and webinars around selected topics. Our 2019 frameworks briefs include:

A Descriptive Series that describes ten or more prominent SEL frameworks and commenting on the degree to which each meets our criteria for strong SEL frameworks

A Comparative Series that highlights multiple efforts to look across frameworks including:

  • The Harvard EASEL Lab’s forthcoming interactive web site and its Tools for Comparing Frameworks developed as part of the Taxonomy Project led by Stephanie Jones
  • The lessons AIR researchers learned from their review of 136 different social and emotional learning frameworks
  • An examination of 14 states with SEL standards and the way they were developed and frame guidance on SEL efforts

With respect to assessment, we will review more measures for inclusion in our recently launched Assessment Guide and actively encourage both developers and practitioners to nominate assessments through a new submission portal, due to launch in early 2019. Our ongoing SEL Assessment in Action series will continue to feature a diverse array of stories, a new one each month from practitioners in the field who are using SEL assessments. We are also excited to launch new features in the Guide later this year, including a connection to CASEL’s program review, which we hope will encourage alignment in practice between SEL assessments and programs.

This year will also mark our third and final Design Challenge. Rather than soliciting direct assessment designs and prototypes to review as we did in previous years, we are working with field leaders to identify and highlight innovative direct SEL assessment tools already in use and the ways the data are used. This three-year effort will culminate in a brief describing our final set of design principles for the next generation of SEL competence assessment.

ENGAGING an expanding array of practitioners to foster broad and effective use of SEL measures. An exciting new project on the horizon is the launch of an online forum for practitioners on our website ( We envision that users will share their experiences, ask questions, and learn from each other on the topics of SEL frameworks and assessment. We will tap both our National Practitioner Advisory Group (NPAG) and members of our growing international Collaborator Network (with more than 2,500 members and growing) to be key contributors to this effort.

Promoting and expanding the reach of our AWG resources will also be a key push this year. We will directly engage with practitioners through events like trainings, presentations, attendance at conferences, and outreach to influencers. We’ll continue to share announcements, new resources, and the work of thought leaders from the field through our weekly blog, social media (see @measuringSEL on Twitter), and other communication channels.

PLANNING for the future as we strategically anticipate what is needed to enhance the use of data to inspire SEL practice.  A major goal for 2019 is to identify remaining gaps in the field of SEL assessment, along with plans and recommendations to address them. We hope to leverage our partners in various ways to explore how schools, districts, and states use SEL data to improve practice, as well as how they are using the AWG’s suite of tools and resources. Our forthcoming online practitioners’ forum is one way we plan to learn about needed supports and gaps in the field, but certainly not the only way. Web analytics, surveys, and interviews are other ways we will gain insight into the current capacity of schools and districts for using SEL data to improve practice, and the strengths and limitations of our existing resources.

The National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development (NCSEAD) is expected to publish their final recommendations to the field later this month (January, 2019), and we expect this will be an important and influential report. We anticipate that the AWG will carefully reflect on the conclusions drawn and recommendations offered by NCSEAD, responding through our blog and other mediums where appropriate, and using this landmark statement from field leaders to inform our thinking about next steps for SEL assessment.

Ultimately, we will synthesize the insights and learnings from the AWG’s three years of work, as well as those of other major efforts in the field (e.g., NCSEAD), to inform a vision for the next phase of work in SEL assessment. We anticipate this vision will highlight cutting edge work that may be already ongoing in the field, as well as articulate some new areas of work. In the fall of 2019, the AWG will release its State of SEL Assessment report, developed by a team of leading thinkers in the field led by Clark McKown. This report will review the current state of the field of SEL assessment and share a vision for the future. We also will work with Civic Enterprises and Hart Research Associates on our second national survey of principals to assess their perspectives on the growth of systemic, schoolwide SEL as well as use of SEL measures to inspire educational practice to enhance students’ social, emotional, and academic learning.  

If you’d like to be part of the AWG’s exciting work, please join our Collaborator Network and follow us on Twitter. Also, please contact us if you’d like to share a SEL assessment story from the field, wish to share resources, have an idea for a blog, want to provide feedback, or offer any other thoughts on SEL assessment.


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