Student Well-Being Opinion

Can Social-Emotional Skills Drive Continuous Improvement?

By Contributing Blogger — November 14, 2016 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Social Emotional Learning (SEL) has become a pillar of innovative learning. In California, we have started a thoughtful conversation on how managing emotions, setting positive goals, showing empathy for others, and maintaining positive relationships connects to overall educational success.

California’s evolving knowledge and commitment to social emotional learning can be seen in the state’s adoption of school climate and parent engagement, as meaningful state indicators. These join the state’s new Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards that aim to ensure that students engage in deeper academic learning.

California’s new accountability system will require schools to use surveys to measure school climate, but we don’t yet know how these surveys can teach us about academic growth. And we’re not certain how to connect social-emotional learning to continuously improving schools.

California’s CORE districts (Fresno, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Oakland, San Francisco, and Santa Ana) have been measuring four social-emotional competencies: growth mindset, self-efficacy, self-management, and social awareness as a part of their accountability system, under a waiver from No Child Left Behind (NCLB). These social-emotional competencies are measured through student self-report questionnaires and teacher reports on student behavior. Preliminary findings show that self-management best predicts student performance at elementary and middle school, and growth mindset is the most predictive skill in high school.

However, to be useful for continuous improvement, educators need to know how to take action based on the information that SEL indicators provide. Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE) has been studying the CORE districts innovative accountability system through the CORE-PACE Research Partnership.

In the year ahead the Research Partnership will conduct a study that will help the CORE Districts identify promising policies and practices in schools where students have high levels of social-emotional learning. Understanding the learning environments that produce high levels of SEL, will help us understand how accountability for performance and growth on SEL measures can advance our states commitment to reduce disproportionality across student sub-groups.

CORE’s unique focus on students’ social-emotional skills in addition to academic skill development has created a renewed interest in research on California schools that has the potential to impact other states and the nation. As the California State Board of Education moves to develop an integrated local, state, and federal accountability system, increased knowledge about SEL and the relationship to local indicators, such as school climate and parent engagement is critical. Continuous improvement will necessity the ability of California schools and educators to foster SEL competencies.

The true impact of SEL on continuous improvement will require: (1) building the capacity of school leaders and educators to understand school climate data and appropriately respond with policies and practices that promote SEL competencies, and (2) our investment and leveraging of SEL in both the school-day and expanded learning settings.

You can learn more about the CORE-PACE Research Partnership and SEL pilot by registering for a webinar on November 15, 2016.

The opinions expressed in On California are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
School & District Management Webinar
Ensuring Continuity of Learning: How to Prepare for the Next Disruption
Across the country, K-12 schools and districts are, again, considering how to ensure effective continuity of learning in the face of emerging COVID variants, politicized debates, and more. Learn from Alexandria City Public Schools superintendent
Content provided by Class
Teaching Profession Live Online Discussion What Have We Learned From Teachers During the Pandemic?
University of California, Santa Cruz, researcher Lora Bartlett and her colleagues spent months studying how the pandemic affected classroom teachers. We will discuss the takeaways from her research not only for teachers, but also for

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Student Well-Being Opinion What 9/11 Can Teach Us Today
We can only guess at what weighs on other people. Hurts and wounds are not always visible on the outside.
Pamela Cantor
1 min read
Images shows a stylized artistic landscape with soothing colors.
Student Well-Being Opinion Educators, Be Future-Ready, But Don’t Ignore the Present
Being ready for what lies ahead is important, but we also need to gain a better understanding of the here and now.
5 min read
shutterstock 226918177
Student Well-Being Opinion How to Prioritize Student Well-Being This Year
Use the Student Thriving Index to find out where your kids stand. Because you cannot manage what you cannot measure.
2 min read
Images shows a stylized artistic landscape with soothing colors.
Student Well-Being Spotlight Spotlight on Supporting Teachers & Students
In this Spotlight, evaluate your district and what supports your schools offer, assess attendance policies to avoid burnout, and more