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Grant Program: Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Competence
Contact: Dr. Jacquelyn Buckley
(202) 245-6607

The Social and Behavioral Outcomes to Support Learning (Social/Behavioral) topic supports research that contributes to the prevention or amelioration of behavior problems in students with or at risk for disabilities in kindergarten through Grade 12. Teaching and learning in schools have strong social and emotional components as well as academic components, and student academic performance can be impacted by their mental, emotional, social, and behavioral well-being. Social-emotional growth and academic learning are related; students who have behavior problems are likely to have poor academic performance as well. This relationship between behavioral and academic performance can be seen early in a child’s school career and persists over time. Students with disabilities who experience difficulty in these areas often need additional supports to succeed in school. For example, students with an emotional or behavioral disorder who do not receive intervention support are likely to have poor academic performance, higher rates of dropout, and poor post-school outcomes. In addition, teachers have repeatedly identified inappropriate student behavior as one of the greatest challenges to effective teaching.

The Social/Behavioral topic was among the first group of topics to be competed within the National Center for Special Education Research. Although initially focused on serious behavior disorders, the focus was broadened in 2009 to reflect the need to address the mental, emotional, social, and behavioral well-being of all students with disabilities, not only those with identified behavior disorders. Student outcomes investigated under this topic include social, emotional, and behavioral outcomes that support learning and student education outcomes (e.g., grades, achievement test scores, graduation rates, percentage of time spent in the general education environment). Research supported by this topic takes place with a variety of providers, including, but not limited to, teachers, school psychologists, related services providers, other school-based or school-affiliated staff (e.g., clinical psychologists working with a school district, school nurses), or parents or service delivery professionals who are implementing the school-based intervention in another setting (e.g., home settings, residential treatment programs). Research in this topic has included developing and evaluating interventions to teach students with disabilities social-behavioral skills, developing and validating behavioral screening and progress monitoring tools, and developing programs that address the social and behavioral needs of students with disabilities in more restrictive school settings (e.g., juvenile justice, alternative schools).

Since 2006, NCSER has invested over $120 million in the Social/Behavioral program to support research project across all five goals.

Exploration Projects
Development and Innovation Projects
Efficacy and Replication Projects
Effectiveness / Scale-Up Evaluation Projects
Measurement Projects