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Measuring Social and Emotional Learning Skills among Secondary Students: A Review of Instruments

Northeast & Islands

Description: In response to a growing body of research suggesting a positive association between social and emotional learning (SEL) skills and student academic and career outcomes, as well as a new emphasis on these skills under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) of 2015, states and districts across the country are searching for instruments to measure students' SEL skills.

The SEL Research Alliance at REL Northeast & Islands developed a research agenda that includes supporting districts as they seek to better understand the availability of SEL measures and the validity and reliability of those measures. As part of this portfolio of projects, REL Northeast & Islands is conducting a systematic review of instruments measuring three SEL skills: self-regulated learning, collaboration, and perseverance. The main partner for this study, the Champlain Valley School District (CVSD) in Vermont, is specifically interested in identifying rigorous measures of SEL skills and understanding how those measures have been used (e.g., formatively, summatively) to inform their approach to addressing new competency-based graduation requirements.

States and districts nationwide can draw on the report to identify and vet assessments for use with SEL programs and data collection covered under ESSA.

Research Questions: What instruments for measuring self-regulated learning, collaboration, and perseverance have demonstrated evidence of reliability and validity among secondary school populations?

Study Design: In partnership with CVSD and other members of the SEL Research Alliance, REL Northeast & Islands will conduct a systematic review of instruments that includes four primary steps: (1) identifying terms synonymous with or related to self-regulated learning, collaboration, and perseverance; (2) searching literature for relevant instruments measuring self-regulated learning, collaboration, and perseverance; (3) narrowing the list of instruments to include those that meet pre-defined eligibility criteria (for example, instruments must be publicly available and previously used with a secondary student population); and (4) reviewing the validity and reliability evidence available for eligible instruments.

The report will provide information on the instruments currently available to measure each of three SEL constructs. The information will include whether or not there is evidence available on the reliability and validity of each instrument and, if so, what type of evidence is provided. The report will also indicate whether each instrument was administered in a school setting; whether the instrument was administered specifically in a secondary school setting; and whether the instrument was used for formative, summative, or research purposes.

Projected Release Date: Fall 2019

Partnership or Research Alliance: Social and Emotional Learning Research Alliance

Related Products: What's Known Report

Principal Investigators & Affiliation:
Brandon Foster, Ph.D.
Joshua Cox, M.A.