We are committed to sharing what we’re learning in order to help educators act on what is known today about social-emotional learning and whole child development. To do this, we translate findings from our day-to-day work on multiple projects with an extensive network of partners into scalable tools and resources that can help school systems improve outcomes for all students.
Centering Educators’ Expertise: Learning About Innovative Approaches to Social-Emotional Learning from School Partners in the Boston Charter Research CollaborativeGrounding research-practice partnerships in educators’ expertise can offer us insight into innovative approaches that schools are using to foster student SEL. In our latest working paper from the Boston Charter Research Collaborative, we share lessons learned and recommendations for putting educators at the forefront of research-practice partnerships. We also share strategies and resources in use by BCRC educators from Roxbury Preparatory Charter School, Match Charter Public School, KIPP Massachusetts, and Boston Collegiate Charter School.
Which Individual and School-Level Factors Predict Student Perceptions of the School Climate in a Diverse Sample of Charter Schools Throughout the Country?This working paper on student perceptions of their school culture and climate was produced as part of a multi-year partnership between Transforming Education & NewSchools Venture Fund. As part of this partnership, nearly 3,000 students in grades 4-12 from 18 innovative schools across the country were asked about their perceptions of seven distinct aspects of the school’s culture and climate: cultural and linguistic competence, learning strategies, rigorous expectations, school safety, sense of belonging, student engagement, and teacher-student relationships. The paper explores student and school-level factors that predict students’ perception of the school climate in this diverse sample of charter schools throughout the country.
- While there has been a growing interest among districts and schools to expand their definition of student success to focus on the whole child, many educators still lack the measures needed to prioritize and inform this work. The CORE Districts, a group of districts in California committed to measuring and supporting an expanded definition of student success, have created a survey to identify the social-emotional strengths and needs for students in grades 4-12. This survey asks students about their perceptions of their own growth mindset, self-efficacy, self-management, and social awareness. Through Transforming Education’s resources and the Assessment Work Group Assessment Guide, the survey is freely accessible to any school or district seeking to administer it.
Mindfulness in the classroom: Learning from a school-based mindfulness intervention through the Boston Charter Research CollaborativeThis paper reviews findings from a randomized controlled trial (RCT) at a partner school, focused on understanding the effects of a direct-to-student intervention on students’ mindfulness development. The paper describes the study in detail and provides additional information about the role of mindfulness in education. We also include recommendations and resources for educators seeking to integrate mindfulness practices into the classroom.
Working Paper: Measurement Properties of Student Social-Emotional Competency and School Culture-Climate Surveys in the NewSchools Invent CohortThis is the first study to examine the measurement properties of a set of curated scales measuring students’ perceptions of their social-emotional competencies and of their school’s culture and climate. In this study, we examine how well the surveys were designed. Specifically, we explore the extent to which the items provide consistent and new information about the underlying constructs being assessed, the extent to which the items are interpreted comparably across student subgroups, and the extent to which the scales measure unique underlying constructs.
Insights from the Field: Facilitating Dialogue and Learning within a Research-Practice Partnership on Social-Emotional LearningThis paper—the third in a series on our work with the BCRC—shares what we, as a research-practice partnership (RPP), have learned about how a group of schools is connecting data on SEL to theories about practices. The paper describes the approach of the RPP: engaging practitioners in a dialogue about how best to use data and highlighting the ways in which schools are promoting SEL in the classroom.
A Data-Informed Approach to Social-Emotional Learning: Policy Recommendations for State and Local LeadersThis policy brief provides recommendations for state and local leaders seeking to take a data-informed approach to SEL. TransformEd focuses our recommendations on gathering input on learning environments, piloting social-emotional competency measures, and using data to build local capacity. This paper follows our 2016 policy brief on expanding the definition of student success under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).
- TransformEd conducted a nationally representative survey of teachers, principals, and district leaders to ascertain the amount of time spent in classrooms on social-emotional learning (SEL), the amount of money spent on products and resources related to SEL, and the motivations of various stakeholders for investing in students’ social-emotional skills. We found that, as a nation, schools are devoting a total of approximately $21–47 billion per year to SEL in terms of: (1) expenditure on SEL-related products and programs and (2) teacher time focused on SEL.
- This paper summarizes a large body of research showing that MESH competencies, such as self-control and social competence, are well-established predictors of success in academics, career, and life.
- This resource offers access to a set of survey-based MESH measures – curated by TransformEd in partnership with California’s CORE Districts – that were originally developed by leading researchers and later field tested with nearly half a million students.
9/13/18: Looking at the Intersection of Student Agency and School Discipline Practices
In this webinar, Peter Brunn of Center for the Collaborative Classroom and Akira Gutierrez of Transforming Education discuss how critical student agency is to student success in school and how a school’s discipline practice can support and cultivate agency in students. Participants will leave the webinar with practical tools and strategies to begin this work in their own classrooms and schools.
3/22/18: Promising Practices for Promoting Student Agency
This 75-minute webinar builds on last year’s agency webinar series and features panelists from Henry Country Schools in Georgia as they discuss their approach to promoting agency in the classroom. We also hear from a high school student as she shares some student perspectives on useful and empowering ways to discuss data with students.
2/7/18: A Data-Informed Approach to Social-Emotional Learning
This webinar, created for the American Educational Research Association (AERA), provides an overview of how to support students’ social-emotional (SE) competency development through a data-informed approach. We begin with a discussion of the rationale behind measuring SE competency, the research supporting this claim, and an examination of different types of assessments that are intended to measure students’ SE competency. We also discuss policy levers currently available to support a locally-created, systematic, and data-informed approach to social-emotional learning. Finally, the webinar provides an overview of ways to use resulting data from SE competency measures (at the classroom-, school-, and system-level) to identify areas of need and strength, gauge the effect of practices that aim to develop students’ SE competencies, and address issues of equity by asking whether those practices are working equally well for all students.
3/30/17: A Data-Informed Approach to Supporting Student Agency
This webinar identifies the measures of skills and environmental factors that undergird agency, and a discusses how to develop an individualized approach to assessing contextual and individual factors of agency for formative purposes.
3/9/17: Supporting the Whole Child: Advancing Social-Emotional Learning in Massachusetts
Transforming Education and the Rennie Center for Education Policy and Research co-sponsored a webinar on the state of social-emotional learning in Massachusetts. The webinar features brief presentations on SEL research and policy opportunities, and a panel discussion with educators from Massachusetts districts and the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). Discussion topics include DESE’s plans to prioritize SEL, the role state and district leadership can play in furthering SEL, and the creation of exSEL, a collaboration of several statewide organizations.
1/5/17: Supporting the Whole Student through Policy and Practice
Sponsored by TransformEd, this webinar features a discussion on MESH research and measurement and the CORE Districts, updates from Aspen Institute’s National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development, and insights from SEL practitioners in Los Angeles and San Francisco.
11/15/16: Advancing Social-Emotional Learning Under ESSA: How the Work of the CORE Districts Can Inform State Policy
This webinar discuss the CORE Districts’ efforts to expand the definition of student success in California through SEL measurement, and how those continued practices can inform state policy during ESSA implementation. Featured panelists include Rick Miller and Noah Bookman of the CORE Districts, and Heather Hough of PACE (Policy Analysis for California Education). Bob LaRocca of TransformEd moderated the discussion.
*The measures cited in our resources may evolve over time and, as a result, we may issue periodic updates on new measures. Please sign up for our newsletter to receive updates, as well as news and recent research, on social-emotional learning, school culture and climate, and whole child development.*
Hear students’ perspectives on why social-emotional competencies matter:
“Rigorous longitudinal research has demonstrated that specific competencies—such as self-management, social competence, and growth mindset—have significant impacts on students’ academic performance, career success, and lifelong well-being.”
– Sara Krachman, Co-Founder and Executive Director