CORE Districts Partnerships

CORE Districts Partnerships2017-05-18T16:46:33-04:00

TransformEd serves as the strategic advisor to the CORE Districts on the design and rollout of the social-emotional component of their School Quality Improvement System (SQIS). Together, the CORE Districts 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)

The School Quality Improvement Index (the measure at the heart of the SQIS) assesses 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 skills prioritized by the CORE Districts: growth mindset, self-efficacy, self-management, and social awareness.

A Unique Approach

The CORE Districts were the first in the country to include measures of students’ social-emotional competencies in a school accountability system, setting the precedent for a new, more holistic definition of student and school success. Additionally, the CORE Districts are fundamentally changing the accountability paradigm: rather than penalizing schools that perform poorly on the new accountability measure, they 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 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 the Harvard Center for Education Policy Research show strong evidence of validity and reliability. For example, students’ social-emotional skills were significantly correlated with academic and behavioral outcomes such as grades, test scores, chronic absenteeism, and suspensions.

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.

Click here to access the social-emotional measures along with further information about their validity and reliability.

To access our recent CORE Districts case study, which includes downloadable tools that states and districts may use to learn from, adapt, or replicate components of the CORE Districts’ approach, click here.

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