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ERIC Number: ED571840
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Oct
Pages: 20
Abstractor: As Provided
When Districts Support and Integrate Social and Emotional Learning (SEL): Findings from an Ongoing Evaluation of Districtwide Implementation of SEL
Kendziora, Kimberly; Yoder, Nick
Education Policy Center at American Institutes for Research
The Issue: Students need more than just academic knowledge to succeed in college, careers, and personal and public life. They need to understand their own skills and abilities, manage their emotions and behavior, communicate effectively, negotiate conflict, care about others, and make responsible decisions. Social and emotional skills undergird student success--and build better citizens. When such skills are intentionally taught, practiced, and reinforced in schools, students have better behavioral, social, and academic outcomes. Social and emotional learning (SEL) is increasingly accepted by educators and researchers as a process to cultivate life skills that foster personal development, academic achievement, and a more empathic school climate. SEL has been integrated into classes and taught in many schools, but the challenge for educators and policy makers is to better understand the most effective strategies for districtwide implementation. The Research: Research on students who participated in some form of SEL instruction has found short-and long-term benefits in student outcomes, with most research focusing on elementary and middle grade programs. Each of eight districts received annual grants of $250,000 for up to 6 years. This amount represents less than 0.04% of the average CDI district's annual budget for all expenses (this average excludes Chicago's budget, which is larger than the other seven CDI district budgets combined). Even with this modest investment, the research shows that districts improved each year in implementing key SEL activities. Three of the measured districts showed consistent gains in school climate; four of six measured districts showed improvement in third graders' social and emotional competence; and, across the eight districts, GPA improved in four and discipline improved in six. However, other student outcomes (e.g., middle and high schoolers' social and emotional competence and student attendance) have not shown significant change to date. The Recommendations: Although many preschool through high school teachers--as well as college faculty and administrators, employers, parents, and students themselves--understand the potential benefits of cultivating social and emotional development, few have the time or support to enable students to build social and emotional competencies. State, district, and school leaders should consider making SEL a priority. Doing so would entail implementing policies, standards, and guidance that support teachers and administrators to integrate SEL with academic instruction. Support is also extended to fostering best practices in behavior management, discipline, and school climate that promote healthy, safe, and nurturing environments for all students. Based on findings from this study and others, even modest investments in SEL can pay off for individuals, schools, and society.
Education Policy Center at American Institutes for Research. 1000 Thomas Jefferson Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20007; Tel: 202-403-5000; Fax: 202-403-5001; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: NoVo Foundation; Einhorn Family Charitable Trust
Authoring Institution: Education Policy Center at American Institutes for Research
Identifiers - Location: Alaska (Anchorage); Texas (Austin); Ohio (Cleveland); Illinois (Chicago); Tennessee (Nashville); California (Oakland); California (Sacramento); Nevada
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A