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IES Grant

Title: Creating a Monitoring System for School Districts to Promote Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning: A Researcher-Practitioner Partnership
Center: NCER Year: 2013
Principal Investigator: Weissberg, Roger P. Awardee: Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL)
Program: Researcher-Practitioner Partnerships in Education Research      [Program Details]
Award Period: 2 years (7/1/2013-6/30/2015) Award Amount: $396,822
Type: Researcher-Practitioner Partnership Award Number: R305H130012

Co-Principal Investigator: Paul LaMarca, Washoe County School District

Partner: Washoe County School District (Nevada)

Education Issue: Existing school-based student monitoring systems tend to be focused on factors that put students at risk for failure in school. The purpose of this researcher-practitioner partnership is to integrate information about students' social-emotional learning (SEL) skills that support academic achievement into an existing risk-focused student monitoring system to create one that it is more balanced, reflecting students' strengths as well as vulnerabilities. Such a monitoring system could be used to guide intervention at the individual, classroom, and school level to facilitate learning and potentially reduce the impact of risk factors that impede academic achievement.

Partnership Significance and Goal: Washoe County School District (WCSD) currently collects data to construct a risk index for every student in grades K–12 to guide interventions that will keep students on the path to high school graduation. CASEL is a non-profit research organization composed of practitioners, researchers, and policy analysts with the mission to incorporate SEL learning into education. In this partnership grant, WCSD and CASEL are working together to integrate SEL skills measures into the existing WCSD data system.

Partners and Partnership Activities: The proposed partnership includes two groups, a Research-Practice Team (RPT) composed of the principal investigators and researchers from both WCSD and CASEL and an Advisory Council (AC) that represents a diverse group of district and community stakeholders. These two groups will meet jointly in each year of the grant, and the RPT will hold regular conference calls. Using data collected by WCSD, the RPT will develop reliable and valid teacher and student self-report measures of SEL skills, dispositions and behaviors that are appropriate for use in educational decision making. The team will also examine how different SEL dimensions are associated with academic outcomes (e.g., grades and standardized test scores). Finally, the team will also conduct analyses to determine whether SEL skills, dispositions and behaviors serve as protective factors moderating the relationship between student risk and academic outcomes.

Setting: This project will take place in Washoe County School District, the second largest district in Nevada.

Population/Sample: In the 2011–12 school year, WCSD served 62,324 students in 63 elementary schools, 14 middle schools, and 14 high schools. According to the 2010–11 Nevada Report Card, WCSD's student population is 49.0 percent white, 36.9 percent Latino, 5.6 percent Asian/Pacific Islander, 4.0 percent multiracial, and 2.7 percent African American. The proposed research involves data collection from the population of all students in grades 5–12 and all teachers of students in grades K–4.

Initial Analyses: Bi-factor and Item Response Theory (IRT) models will be used to examine the structural and test-content validity of the student and teacher ratings. Standard fit indices will be used to compare models. A series of hierarchical linear regression models will be conducted predicting academic outcomes (e.g., GPA, achievement test scores). The first set of models will include the SEL measures and the individual student risk factors (demographic characteristics, risk score), along with controls. The next set of models will add interaction terms between SEL and risk to determine if SEL skills reduce (i.e., moderate) the impact of risk on academic outcomes.


Journal article, monograph, or newsletter

Davidson, L. A., Crowder, M. K., Gordon, R. A., Domitrovich, C. E., Brown, R. D., & Hayes, B. I. (2017). A Continuous Improvement Approach to Social and Emotional Competency Measurement. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 55: 93–106.