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Social and Emotional Learning Research Alliance


Research suggests a positive association between students’ social and emotional skills—such as self-awareness and responsible decision making—and their academic and career outcomes. Reflecting these findings, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) allows states and districts to use federal funds on evidenced-based programs that promote students’ social and emotional learning (SEL). Yet information about evidence-based SEL interventions and reliable measures are not easily accessible to practitioners. In response, the Social and Emotional Learning Research Alliance supports state and district leaders as they seek to identify and synthesize emerging evidence about SEL measures and interventions to inform their own policies and practices. Alliance members’ priority research topics include measurement, supports for SEL in and out of school (family and community engagement), instructional strategies, and professional learning.


  • Support schools and districts in identifying and vetting evidence-based assessments for use with SEL programs and nonacademic data collection covered under ESSA.
  • Increase the capacity of school and district decision makers to identify evidence-based SEL interventions.
  • Facilitate knowledge sharing between school leaders and community-based organizations focused on advancing SEL among youth.


Josh CoxJosh Cox
Research Associate
REL Northeast & Islands

Diana WoganDiana Wogan
Project Director
REL Northeast & Islands


Coaching Project: Building New England School District Leaders’ Capacity to Use SEL Frameworks and Identify Evidence-based Interventions
This project is building the capacity of New England school district leaders, and Social and Emotional Learning Research Alliance members, to understand and use the information in systemic reviews on the effectiveness of SEL interventions. Participants are learning how to review available SEL research literature, assess their local SEL needs, and combine the research with their local needs to select appropriate SEL programs for their districts and schools. Participants also are learning how to monitor the progress of implemented SEL programs and communicate with students, staff, parents, and the community about SEL outcomes and interventions.

Research Project: Measuring Social and Emotional Learning Skills among Secondary Students: A Review of Instruments
This systematic review is identifying instruments that have been used to measure three SEL skills: self-regulated learning, collaboration, and perseverance. The review will include whether or not evidence is available on the reliability and validity of each instrument and, if so, what type of evidence is provided. The final report will also provide questions that schools and districts should consider when reviewing reliability and validity information. The main partner for this project, 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, to inform the district’s approach to new competency-based graduation requirements. States and districts nationwide will be able to use the report to identify and vet assessments for use with SEL programs and data collection covered under ESSA. Learn more.

Webinar: The Role of Family and Community Partnerships in School-based Social and Emotional Learning Programs (Dec. 7, 2018)
This webinar helped practitioners and policymakers better understand research on school-based programs that partner with communities and families to support students’ social and emotional learning (SEL). Dr. Laura Hamilton presented findings from a recent RAND report, “Social and Emotional Learning Interventions Under the Every Student Succeeds Act: Evidence Review,” focusing specifically on what the review found related to family and community engagement. Tim Luff, from Natick Public Schools in Massachusetts, discussed his district’s experience building family and community partnerships to support students’ SEL, the challenges faced with these partnerships, and lessons learned. View event details.


Name Title Organization State/Territory
Paul Andrews Director of Professional Development and Government Services Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents Massachusetts
Mary Bellavance Instructional Coach Biddeford School Department Maine
Nicole Bucka Facilitator of Social and Emotional Learning East Providence School District Rhode Island
Jeff Evans Director of Learning and Innovations Chittenden South Supervisory Union Vermont
David Sienko Director, Office of Student, Community and Academic Support Rhode Island Department of Education Rhode Island
Matt Sloane Principal Middleburgh Jr./Sr. High School New York