Measuring students' SEL progress is complicated, but crucial
- At Athlos Academies in Boise, Idaho, students’ social, emotional and academic development is supported through a program called the 3Rs — for review, reflection and recognition — Chris Bryner, the school’s director of performance character, writes in Edutopia.
- A recent report from the Aspen Institute re-affirms this method, he writes, noting that to bring about social and emotional strengths, students need to know why these skills are important to them, know how to use them, have chances to try them, and also have opportunities to talk about their experience.
- All students take part in the 3Rs at Althos Academies, which are used often to ensure students are familiar with them, and their lessons reinforced.
Few question the importance of bringing social and emotional learning (SEL) lessons into classroom curriculum. Most educators agree that SEL skills are as crucial to students’ long-term success as the mastery of their academic subjects. But progress in SEL cannot be tested in the same way as a child’s math advancement or writing ability.
The RAND Corporation is looking to make that process easier for educators and school leaders. The think tank is building what it calls a “repository,” where teachers, administrators and curriculum designers can resource ways to assess students on SEL growth. Working with the Foundation Collaborative for Innovative Measurement, RAND plans to launch this online resource in the spring, which will include details on 200 different measures for different SEL skills, and how to find them.
While teaching SEL skills in school is one step, knowing these lessons are effective is the next. At this point, however, most experts recommend that results of these assessments should not be used for accountability purposes, but more for understanding how to improve instruction.
- edutopia Integrating SEL in the classroom