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IES Contract

Title: SEL Quest Digital Platform to Modernize and Advance Assessment of Student Social and Emotional Competencies
Center: NCER Year: 2022
Principal Investigator: Kharitonova, Maria Awardee: xSEL Labs
Program: Small Business Innovation Research      [Program Details]
Award Period: 2 years (05/15/2022 – 05/14/2024) Award Amount: $1,000,000
Type: Phase II Development Award Number: 91990022C0040

Company Website:

Video Demonstration of the Phase I Prototype:

Purpose: In this project, the team will develop a product to manage the assessment of social emotional competencies of students from Kindergarten to Grade 12. Research shows that social-emotional competencies are related to academic achievement and other important life outcomes, and that interventions with regular assessment, instruction, and practice can help students develop these competencies.

Project Activities: During Phase I in 2021, the team developed a prototype of a platform to facilitate the use of social and emotional assessments, including an instrument library to host and administer online social and emotional assessments and a reporting dashboard to present results to educators for individual and groups of students. At the end of Phase I, in pilot studies with 65 educators and 350 children, researchers found that the prototype functioned as intended, students were able to complete the digital assessments that educators selected, and that 80% of educators rated the prototype positively.

In Phase II, the team will fully develop and validate the product, including fully populating the instrument library, improving the user-interface for a student portal to take assessments, a back-end algorithm to generate results, and an educator dashboard to present insights from the assessments. Iterative refinements will be conducted with feedback from educators and students at multiple points until completion.After development concludes, researchers will conduct a pilot study to assess the feasibility and usability, fidelity of implementation, and the promise of the product for improving students' social and emotional competencies. The team will collect data from 84 Kindergarten to Grade 12 educators and 1300 students (100 students per grade). Half of the sample will be randomly assigned to use the product and the other half will be assessed using business-as-usual practices. Researchers will compare pre-and-post scores for students' social and emotional competencies using a series of established and validated measures, including district-level measures for social awareness, emotional knowledge, and motivation for learning, as well as researcher developed measures for competencies in areas such as impulse control and perspective taking. Researchers will gather cost information using the "ingredients method" and will include all expenditures on things such as personnel, facilities, equipment, materials, and training.

Product: In this project, the team will fully develop a product called SELQuest, a platform to manage the assessment of social emotional competencies of students from Kindergarten to Grade 12. The platform will host a series of existing research-based online learning games and digital instruments that assess students' social and emotional components, including assessments developed through prior IES-funded projects (see examples here and here). The platform will streamline planning and administration, employ algorithms and an application programming interface (API) to automatically score assessments from the library and present educators' results and recommendations at individual student and group levels. The platform will also provide training and supports to educators.

Related IES Projects: SEL Question Digital Platform to Modernize and Advance Assessment of Student Social Emotional Competences (91990021C0028); A Toolkit for Identifying and Assessing Socially Rejected Children (R305A110143)