- A new guide from the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) provides educators with assessment tools for gauging social emotional learning (SEL) as well as guidelines for collecting data on student progress and using that data to inform instruction, practice and policy implementation.
- The SEL Assessment Guide includes a catalog of assessments as well as real-world examples of how practitioners are using the data. Still to come are features that will allow practitioners to ask questions and share their experiences with specific assessment tools and SEL strategies in general.
- The guide allows for the selection of assessment tools based on the following criteria: grade level; competencies such as communication, cooperation and emotion regulation, and the role of the person conducting the assessment, whether it’s a teacher, student, family member or someone else.
Done well, SEL programs associated with better test scores, higher graduation rates and improved social behavior, according to a study by the Learning Policy Institute. SEL has also gained more attention since 2015 when the Every Student Succeeds Act added a provision that allows schools and state education agencies to expand the definition of student success beyond academics. The upshot has been a growing demand for quality materials that will help teachers and school leaders fulfill statewide requirements for social-emotional instruction.
The Aspen Institute’s National Commission on Social, Emotional and Academic Development, for example, recommends weaving social-emotional skills into instruction and providing teachers with the training and support they need to make that happen. CASEL, among other things, recommends that SEL assessment tools focus on student strengths, which in turn promotes positive development. Screening for deficits, it notes, is not the appropriate use of SEL assessment tools.