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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

Meg CavenMeg Caven
Research Associate
REL Northeast & Islands


Coaching Project: Building New England School District Leaders’ Capacity to Use SEL Frameworks and Identify Evidence-based Interventions
This project built 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. Over a five-session coaching series, participants learned 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 learned how to monitor the progress of SEL program implementation and communicate with students, staff, parents, and the community about SEL outcomes and interventions. At the end of this project, REL Northeast & Islands developed the SEL Coaching Series Guide, a document that offers users access to the content of the virtual coaching series. Learn more

Continuous Improvement Professional Learning Community
This project will build the capacity of participating schools in the region to use continuous improvement to support SEL during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Participating teams will also come together to share and learn from one another as they implement a continuous improvement process over the course of the school year.

Tool: A Review of Instruments for Measuring Social and Emotional Learning Skills among Secondary School Students
This systematic review identifies instruments that have been used to measure three SEL skills: self-regulated learning, collaboration, and perseverance. The review includes whether or not evidence is available on the reliability and validity of each instrument and, if so, what type of evidence is provided. The report also offers questions that schools and districts should consider when reviewing reliability and validity information. The main partner for this project, the Champlain Valley School District in Vermont, was specifically interested in identifying rigorous measures of SEL skills and understanding how those measures have been used in order to inform the district’s approach to new competency-based graduation requirements. States and districts nationwide can use this report to identify and vet assessments for use with SEL programs and data collection covered under ESSA. Learn more.

Webinar: Measuring Students’ Social and Emotional Learning: A Review of Instruments and Implications for States and Districts (November 20, 2019)
This webinar featured the new resource A Review of Instruments for Measuring Social and Emotional Learning Skills among Secondary School Students, which supports state and local education agencies in identifying reliable and valid instruments for measuring social and emotional learning (SEL) skills. The event presented findings from the SEL instrument review, as well as implications for the field. A guest from Vermont’s Champlain Valley School District discussed the value of research-practice partnerships and how this report is informing the measurement of SEL in the district. View event details.

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
Jeff Evans Director of Learning and Innovations Champlain Valley School District Vermont
Jennifer Hart School Psychologist Wakefield Public Schools Massachusetts
Carole Kerkin Assistant Director, Open Choice Capitol Region Education Council Connecticut
Carri Manchester Associate in Educational Planning and Evaluation, Office of Student Support Services New York State Education Department New York
Fern Seiden School Counselor Merrimack School District New Hampshire
Matt Sloane Principal Middleburgh Jr./Sr. High School New York
Heather Tartaglia Assistant Director, Student Services Capitol Region Education Council Connecticut
Alice Woods Education Specialist, Office of Student, Community & Academic Supports Rhode Island Department of Education Rhode Island