Demand for social-emotional learning (SEL) is growing – but it’s not a new phenomenon. Education experts and policymakers recognize that building healthy relationships and responsible decision-making matters to student outcomes. Most schools are already implementing some type of SEL program or practice, and, in terms of both instructional resources and teacher time, education systems invest heavily in SEL. Moreover, in a recent EdWeek article on the need for SEL in schools, Peter DeWitt shares “staggering statistics” from the American Psychiatric Association, National Institute of Mental Health, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that reveal the high rate at which today’s students suffer from mental illness and trauma.
But recent polling suggests that demand for SEL measurement is also on the rise. According to the 2017 PDK Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools, 84% of Americans believe that schools should assess students on skills such as cooperation, respect for others, and problem solving. Given this level of public interest — and the constantly evolving field of SEL — it’s critical for SEL assessment research and resources to be readily accessible so that we can collectively continue on a productive path of discovery.
To that end, TransformEd has created an SEL Assessment page on our website to capture new information on the state of SEL measurement, share emerging findings from researchers and experts, and highlight our free tools and curated survey scales. Specifically, you will find the following features on our SEL Assessment page:
- More information on our participation in the assessment work group with CASEL, the CORE Districts, Harvard University, the RAND Corporation, and others;
- Research on the work of the CORE Districts and their efforts to incorporate SEL into their measurement system;
- Sample SEL survey scales on growth mindset, self-efficacy, self-management, and social awareness;
- Research on the validity and reliability of performance-based SEL measures;
- Examples of evidence-based performance-based SEL measures; and
- Information on how you can contact us to assist your school, district, or state in identifying, field testing, and employing measures of students’ SEL competencies.
The latest update to our website reflects our values as an organization. We believe that when educators have data related to SEL, they are better equipped to support the development of competencies that matter for all students. Although the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) – the 2015 law that governs U.S. public education policy – does not specifically mention SEL, it does provide opportunities for State Education Agencies (SEAs) and Local Education Agencies (LEAs) to expand the definition of student success. We do not recommend that SEL become a part of formal accountability frameworks, but we do believe that the evidence is strong enough to support policy decisions by SEAs and LEAs to pilot some measures for the purpose of driving continuous improvement.
So please visit our SEL Assessment page. We will continue to update the site to reflect our latest learning on SEL-related assessments, and we welcome your participation in the process.