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IES Grant

Title: The Development and Validation of the Social and Emotional Learning Observation Checklist for Elementary School (SELOC-ES)
Center: NCER Year: 2021
Principal Investigator: Cipriano, Christina Awardee: Yale University
Program: Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Context for Teaching and Learning      [Program Details]
Award Period: 4 years (07/01/2021 – 06/30/2025) Award Amount: $1,858,247
Type: Measurement Award Number: R305A210262

Co-Principal Investigators: Bailey, Craig S.; Strambler, Michael J.

Purpose: The promotion of social and behavioral outcomes alongside academic development is a primary goal of education in the U.S. Yet, in the absence of a high-quality measure of teachers' SEL pedagogy, little is known about how SEL practices promote student development. The purpose of this project is to support educators in improving student social, behavioral, and academic success, as well as educators' own professional growth through the development and validation of the Social and Emotional Learning Observation Checklist for Elementary School (SELOC-ES).

Proposed Activities: The research team will develop the SELOC-ES through a mixed-methods design to support the resulting tool's immediate practical utility within school, state, and district assessment frameworks. In Year 1, the researchers will begin with 1) a content analysis of evidence-based elementary school SEL curricula to identify the key processes and activities of SEL pedagogy in elementary school classrooms; 2) strategic classroom observations and interviews with 12 experienced SEL School Leaders (SLs) and 12 K-5 teachers from diverse school districts across the country; and 3) convening an advisory board of SEL experts. Year 1 research activities will inform development of initial SELOC-ES items and refine the SEL Pedagogy Framework. In Year 2, basic feasibility testing will be conducted with 24 SLs and 24 teachers to refine draft items and create the SELOC-ES observation system. In Years 3 and 4, the researchers will 4) pilot the SELOC-ES to establish initial evidence of psychometric properties and refine the observation tool and system alongside 50 SLs and 300 classrooms across the country; 5) conduct a cost analysis of SELOC-ES implementation; and 6) re-convene the advisory panel and SLs to share the final tool for immediate adoption to support effective SEL implementation and professional development.

Products: The researchers will produce SELOC-ES, an observation tool for elementary classrooms specifically designed to capture SEL pedagogy that enhances student learning. They will also disseminate findings from their research activities at conferences and in peer-reviewed publications.

Structured Abstract

Setting: The SELOC-ES will be designed for use by educational practitioners interested in measuring the SEL pedagogy used by educators in public school classrooms.

Sample: Participants include a sample of 50 U.S. non-specialized public schools serving elementary students. The team will select schools based on markers of school size, poverty, racial and linguistic diversity, and locale. In the first two years, the researchers work with SEL School Leaders (SLs) at 12 schools and 24 schools respectively, who will video record classroom observations each year. In the third year, they will work with SLs at 50 schools to observe 6 classrooms per school (n = 300) and collect data from the teachers and a sample of 5 students in each classroom. The researchers will continue to work with SLs and schools in Year 4 to embed the SELOC-ES in schools' assessment structures. Additionally, they will work with an advisory panel of SEL experts throughout the project to inform measure development and dissemination.

Instrument: The focus of the study is on developing the SELOC-ES as a valid and reliable checklist of SEL pedagogy for educational professionals to use in their schools to assess and support SEL implementation. By refining an SEL Pedagogy Framework based on key processes and activities of SEL pedagogy, items will address both the content and context involved in SEL. The measure will rely on checklist (binary) items of teacher behavior that will range in their likelihood to be observed (difficulty) in classrooms. This format will provide the lower training burden of a checklist measure while capturing information that can differentiate teachers and capture teacher growth of SEL pedagogy.

Research Design and Methods: The research team will use an exploratory mixed methods approach with sequential data collection informed by action research to develop a valid checklist of SEL pedagogy for use by educational professionals. The first two years will focus on measure development using qualitative methods; the third year will involve validating the measure using quantitative methods, and the final year will use qualitative methods to support dissemination. Throughout the first two years, the research team will collect qualitative data from SEL approaches, video observations, SL and teacher debrief sessions, and advisory panel sessions. In year 3, the researchers will gather student, classroom, and teacher data.

Key Measures: The study will involve student, teacher, classroom, and school level measures. Student measures include social-emotional skills, disruptive behaviors, academic competence, engagement, and achievement. Classroom measures include the SELOC-ES and the CLASS for classroom quality. Teacher measures will include measures of teacher SEL Implementation, SEL Beliefs, and Emotional Intelligence.

Analytic Strategy: The research team will use qualitative observational data and feedback from participating stakeholders to establish construct validity and inform measure development during the first two years of the project. This will involve a content analysis of SEL approaches, including an expert review by an advisory panel to refine the SEL Pedagogy Framework and thematic analysis of classroom video footage as well as debrief and advisory sessions to inform SEL Pedagogy Framework development. Researchers will use quantitative methods, including multilevel confirmatory factor analyses, to examine the psychometric properties, reliability, as well as the concurrent, divergent, and predictive validity of the measure.

Cost Analysis: The researchers will use the ingredients method to conduct a cost analysis for practitioners to administer the SELOC-ES. The ingredient method entails specifying all of the ingredients involved in implementing the SELOC-ES and costs associated with those ingredients.