TransformEd serves as the strategic advisor to the CORE District on the design and rollout of the social-emotional component of their School Quality Improvement System (SQIS). Together, CORE and TransformEd have validated a common set of social-emotional measures with nearly half a million students. We are committed to making these measures available as a free, open-source tool for other schools and districts to use.


Research shows that success in school and in life depends on more than academic ability alone. Rigorous longitudinal research has demonstrated that specific social-emotional competencies have a significant impact on students’ academic performance and persistence in school, as well as their health, wealth, and well-being outcomes throughout life. Based on this compelling research, six CORE Districts have chosen to incorporate measures of students’ social-emotional skills alongside academic and school culture/climate indicators into a more holistic and more formative system of accountability and continuous improvement called the School Quality Improvement System (SQIS). LEAs participating in this effort include Fresno, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Oakland, San Francisco, and Santa Ana Unified School Districts, which collectively serve more than one million students.

The School Quality Improvement Index (SQII) 

SQII Revised.PNG

When fully implemented during the 2015-16 school year, the School Quality Improvement Index (the measure at the heart of the SQIS) will assess school performance as a balanced function of students’ academic outcomes (60%) as well as students’ social-emotional competencies and school climate/culture (40%).

The social-emotional and climate/culture component of the index includes both administrative measures that serve as rough proxies for students' social-emotional skills (e.g. chronic absenteeism and suspensions), as well as explicit measures of four social-emotional prioritized by the CORE Districts: growth mindset, self-efficacy, self-management and social awareness. 

A Unique Approach 

CORE is currently the only group in the United States to include measures of students’ social-emotional competencies in a school accountability system, which sets the precedent for a new, more holistic definition of student and school success. Additionally, CORE is fundamentally changing the accountability paradigm: rather than penalizing schools that perform poorly on the new accountability measure, CORE will pair low-performing schools with higher-performing schools that can provide support and mentorship. This is a significant shift away from a compliance-based, high-stakes accountability system to one driven by the collective responsibility to support schools in helping all students succeed.

Findings From the CORE Field Test

To support the CORE Districts' in using a more holistic approach to assessment, TransformEd curated a set of best-in-class survey-based measures of social-emotional skills developed by leading researchers in the field. In the spring of 2015, CORE and TransformEd field tested these social-emotional measures with nearly half a million students across California. The resulting analyses conducted by our research partners at Harvard Center for Education Policy Research show strong evidence of validity and reliability. For example, students' social-emotional skills were significantly correlated with the academic and behavioral outcomes that schools typically focus on. 

CORE and TransformEd are committed to making the social-emotional measures and corresponding benchmark data available as a free, open-source tool for other schools and districts to use. Please reach out to us or check back in March 2016 for more information.