Panel: Measuring Social and Emotional Learning for Feedback and Evaluation

Thursday, November 2, 2017: 1:45 PM-3:15 PM
Columbian (Hyatt Regency Chicago)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Panel Organizers:  Laura S. Hamilton, RAND Corporation
Panel Chairs:  Jeremy Taylor, Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning
Discussants:  Amy Mart, Chicago Public Schools and Karen VanAusdal, Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning

Building a Repository of Social and Emotional Learning Assessments
Jonathan Schweig, Laura S. Hamilton, Brian M. Stecher and Garrett Baker, RAND Corporation

Effect of Growth Mindset on Achievement: Evidence from California CORE School Districts
Susanna Loeb, Stanford University and Susana Claro, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile

Although stakeholders have primarily relied on achievement tests to evaluate K-12 schools, a confluence of trends has recently expanded views on the outcomes schools should promote (National Research Council, 2012), including an increased emphasis on students’ social and emotional learning (SEL) outcomes (Almlund, Duckworth, Heckman, & Kautz, 2011). New learning standards emphasize skills such as communication and persistence; employers and leaders of postsecondary institutions have recognized the importance of developing inter- and intrapersonal competencies to keep pace with increasing global economic competition; and there is mounting evidence that school-based SEL interventions can improve student academic and non-academic performance (Heckman & Kautz, 2013; Durlak, Dymnicki, Taylor, Weissberg, & Schellinger, 2011; Yeager, Paunesku, Walton, & Dweck, 2013). Recently enacted federal legislation, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), makes explicit provisions for the incorporation of SEL into state school improvement plans and accountability systems. 

While research has confirmed the importance of SEL for student success, there is far less consensus about how to measure SEL, and there is a large awareness gap between researchers who have developed the measures and the policymakers and practitioners who would use the measures for decision making. Many practitioners and policymakers are unaware of the wide array of measures that are available, and little is known about the suitability of these measures for use in educational contexts. Research provides little evidence for policymakers that indicators derived from these measures can be used to make valid, consistent, and reliable inferences about students or schools. Furthermore, the research is largely silent on whether and how such measures can be used at scale or successfully incorporated into teacher feedback and evaluation systems.  The goal of this panel is to summarize recent research on SEL measurement, document the potential benefits as well as the pitfalls of incorporating SEL measurement into various aspects of education policy and practice, and stimulate discussion of ways to improve SEL measurement and data use to improve the quality of teaching and learning.   

This panel explores these issues from three complementary perspectives. The first panelist will discuss efforts to develop a system that identifies and reviews SEL measures appropriate for use with K-12 students.  The second panelist will discuss how SEL measures have been used in the CORE Districts Alliance in California, and present some early evidence that these measures predict student achievement growth above and beyond other measures of achievement and behavior. The third panelist will discuss a multi-state research-practice partnership using data visualizations from SEL survey measures as a platform for promoting teacher professional development and fostering continuous improvement. The session will include two discussants who will provide practitioner perspectives on SEL assessment and data use. 

Together, the panel and the audience will explore the implications of these issues on efforts to accurately measure SEL. They will discuss questions such as whether it is possible to use SEL measures to promote data-driven professional development that is responsive to student needs and whether/how SEL measures could be used for high-stakes purposes. 

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