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 Pub Number  Title  Date
REL 2021114 Using a survey of social and emotional learning and school climate to inform decisionmaking

The District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) has prioritized efforts to support students' social and emotional learning (SEL) competencies, such as perseverance and social awareness. To measure students' SEL competencies and the school experiences that promote SEL competencies (school climate), DCPS began administering annual surveys to students, teachers, and parents in 2017/18. DCPS partnered with the Mid-Atlantic Regional Educational Laboratory to study how the district could use these surveys to improve students' outcomes. The study found the following:

  • Students' SEL competencies and school experiences are the most favorable in elementary school and the least favorable in middle school and the beginning of high school. This pattern suggests that schools might provide targeted supports before or during grades 6-10 to promote SEL competencies and school experiences when students need the most support.
  • The trajectories of students' SEL competencies and school experiences differed in different schools, to a similar degree as trajectories in academic measures like test scores. To understand why changes in SEL competencies and school experiences differ across schools, DCPS could explore differences in practices between schools with better and worse trajectories. In addition, DCPS could provide targeted support to schools with lower levels of positive change.
  • Of the SEL competencies and school experiences in DCPS's survey, self-management—how well students control their emotions, thoughts, and behavior—is most related to students' later academic outcomes. Programs or interventions that target self-management might have the most potential for improving students' outcomes compared to those that target other SEL competencies or school experiences.
  • In statistical models designed to predict students' future academic outcomes, SEL competency and school experience data add little accuracy beyond prior academic outcomes (such as achievement test scores and attendance) and demographic characteristics. Prior academic outcomes and demographic characteristics predict later outcomes with a high degree of accuracy, and they may implicitly incorporate the SEL competencies and school experiences. These findings suggest that DCPS would not need to use SEL competencies and school experiences to identify whether or not students are at risk of poor academic outcomes.
  • Student, teacher, and parent reports on SEL competencies and school experiences are positively related across schools, but they also exhibit systematic differences, suggesting that some respondent groups may not be aligned in their view of SEL competencies and school experiences. These differences may serve as a tool to help DCPS target efforts to improve communication among students, teachers, and parents.
8/3/2021
REL 2021102 Associations between High School Students' Social-Emotional Competencies and Their High School and College Academic and Behavioral Outcomes in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
This study addressed the need expressed by education stakeholders in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands to better understand their high school students' social-emotional competencies and how those competencies might be associated with students' academic and behavioral outcomes in high school and college. Social-emotional competencies refer to the knowledge, beliefs, and behaviors that help students recognize and manage their emotions, build positive relationships, and make responsible decisions. In May 2019 grade 11 and 12 students who were enrolled in high schools within the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Public School System responded in May 2019 to survey questions regarding their self-management, growth mindset, self-efficacy, sense of belonging, and social awareness using a 5-point scale, with higher scores reflecting greater social-emotional competencies. The study found that high school students and high school students who went on to attend Northern Marianas College scored highest in self-management and lowest in self-efficacy. High school students with higher growth mindset or self-efficacy scores had higher high school grade point averages and grade 10 ACT Aspire math and reading scale scores. Higher self-efficacy scores were also associated with fewer days absent from high school. Students with higher social awareness scores had lower high school grade point averages. Among the high school students who went on to attend college at Northern Marianas College, higher growth mindset scores were associated with higher first semester college grade point averages, after student characteristics were controlled for. None of the four other social-emotional competency domains was associated with any of the college academic or behavioral outcomes.
7/29/2021
WWC 2021008 Promoting Alternative THinking Strategies (PATHS®)
PATHS® is delivered through short lessons given two to three times a week over the school year. The program is based on the principle that understanding and regulating emotions are central to effective problem solving. The lessons focus on five components: self-control, emotional literacy, social competence, positive peer relations, and interpersonal problem-solving skills.

Based on the research, the WWC found that PATHS® has no discernible effects on academic achievement, social interactions, observed individual behavior, or emotional status. The WWC based its conclusion on its review of two studies of PATHS® that met WWC group design standards. One study included 1,582 students in 45 schools in 10 districts in the United Kingdom. The second study included 133 students with disabilities in seven elementary schools in three school districts in the state of Washington.
4/8/2021
REL 2020010 A review of instruments for measuring social and emotional learning skills among secondary school students
This purpose of this resource is to support state and local education agencies in identifying reliable and valid instruments that measure collaboration, perseverance, and self-regulated learning among secondary school students. This resource, developed by the Regional Education Laboratory Northeast & Islands in collaboration with its Social and Emotional Learning Alliance, presents social and emotional learning instruments and the reliability and validity information available for those instruments. Specifically, this resource indicates whether psychometric information was available for reliability and seven components of validity—content, substantive, structural, external, generalizability, consequential, and fairness. To identify and review instruments, researchers conducted a literature search, determined the eligibility of instruments, reviewed the reliability and validity information available for eligible instruments; and determined whether the reliability and validity information provided met conventionally accepted criteria. In total, 17 instruments were eligible for inclusion in the resource. Eligible instruments included six measures of collaboration, four measures of perseverance, four measures of self-regulated learning, and three measures of both perseverance and self-regulated learning. With 12 instruments developed for use in research and 5 instruments developed for formative instruction, practitioners should use caution when using any measure for summative use that has not been developed and validated for that specific purpose. With schools and districts ramping up their efforts to measure social and emotional learning for formative and summative use, practitioners would benefit from the development of additional measures for these specific purposes. Among the 17 instruments eligible for inclusion in this resource, 16 instruments have information on reliability and at least one component of validity. The component of validity most commonly available for eligible instruments was content validity whereas only three instruments had information on fairness and no instruments had information on substantive validity. Practitioners should use caution when using instruments that lack information on substantive validity or fairness, since these measures may not be appropriate for all students that are evaluated.
10/16/2019
REL 2017226 Growth mindset, performance avoidance, and academic behaviors in Clark County School District
Previous research strongly suggests that beliefs regarding the nature of ability and the payoff to effort (academic mindsets) and the related actions (academic behaviors) play an important role in supporting student success. Not much is known about the distribution of these beliefs among teachers and students in different academic contexts. This study examined the distribution of reported academic mindsets and behaviors in Nevada’s Clark County School District. The analysis revealed that most students reported beliefs that are largely consistent with a growth mindset. However, reported beliefs and behaviors differed significantly depending on students' English learner status, race/ethnicity, grade level and prior achievement. For example, Black and Hispanic students reported lower levels of growth mindset than White students. English learner students reported significantly lower levels of growth mindset and higher levels of performance avoidance than their non-English learner counter parts. Lower achieving students reported significantly lower levels of growth mindset and significantly higher levels of performance avoidance than their higher achieving peers. Teachers reported greater beliefs in growth mindset than students, and their beliefs regarding growth mindset did not, for the most part, vary significantly depending on the characteristics of the students attending their schools.
4/5/2017
REL 2017263 Analyzing student-level disciplinary data: A guide for districts
The purpose of this report is to help guide districts in analyzing their own student-level disciplinary data to answer important questions about the use of disciplinary actions. This report, developed in collaboration with the Regional Educational Laboratory Northeast and Islands Urban School Improvement Alliance, provides information to district personnel about how to analyze their student-level data and answer questions about the use of disciplinary actions, such as whether these actions are disproportionately applied to some student subgroups, and whether there are differences in student academic outcomes across the types of disciplinary actions that students receive. This report identifies several considerations that should be accounted for prior to conducting any analysis of student-level disciplinary data. These include defining all data elements to be used in the analysis, establishing rules for transparency (including handling missing data), and defining the unit-of-analysis. The report also covers examples of descriptive analyses that can be conducted by districts to answer questions about their use of the disciplinary actions. SPSS syntax is provided to assist districts in conducting all of the analyses described in the report. The report will help guide districts to design and carry out their own analyses, or to engage in conversations with external researchers who are studying disciplinary data in their districts.
3/29/2017
REL 2017233 Stated Briefly: Postsecondary education expectations and attainment of rural and nonrural students
This "Stated Briefly" report is a companion piece that summarizes the findings from another report (REL 2017-257).This study examined rural–nonrural differences in postsecondary educational expectations and the attainment of expectations for grade 10 students attending rural and nonrural high schools in the Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Midwest region and how these differences compare with rural–nonrural differences in the rest of the nation. For grade 10 students who indicated that they did not anticipate attaining more than a high school education, the study also examined rural and nonrural students' reasons for not expecting to continue their education past the secondary level. Analyses drew on data from the Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 using descriptive statistics, chi-squared tests of association, and multinomial regression models with students nested in schools. The baseline model included only school locale, an indicator for region, and their interaction as predictors; subsequent models added student predictors, family characteristics, teacher expectations, and school contextual variables. Analyses reveal that rural students in the Midwest had lower educational expectations than their nonrural peers, yet similar levels of educational attainment after taking into account student, family, teacher, and school characteristics. For two-thirds of rural and nonrural students, educational attainment fell short of expectations. Importantly, participation in rigorous coursework, parent aspirations, and teacher expectations were more predictive of educational expectations and attainment than whether students grew up in rural areas in grade 10 in 2002. For grade 10 students who did not expect to go to college, both rural and nonrural students perceived financial barriers as the primary reason. Policymakers and other stakeholders in Midwestern states and the rest of the nation can use the results of this study to inform efforts to improve the educational attainment of rural students.
3/8/2017
REL 2017257 Postsecondary education expectations and attainment of rural and nonrural students
This study examined rural–nonrural differences in postsecondary educational expectations and the attainment of expectations for grade 10 students attending rural and nonrural high schools in the Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Midwest region and how these differences compare with rural–nonrural differences in the rest of the nation. For grade 10 students who indicated that they did not anticipate attaining more than a high school education, the study also examined rural and nonrural students' reasons for not expecting to continue their education past the secondary level. Analyses drew on data from the Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 using descriptive statistics, chi-squared tests of association, and multinomial regression models with students nested in schools. The baseline model included only school locale, an indicator for region, and their interaction as predictors; subsequent models added student predictors, family characteristics, teacher expectations, and school contextual variables. Analyses reveal that rural students in the Midwest had lower educational expectations than their nonrural peers, yet similar levels of educational attainment after taking into account student, family, teacher, and school characteristics. For two-thirds of rural and nonrural students, educational attainment fell short of expectations. Importantly, participation in rigorous coursework, parent aspirations, and teacher expectations were more predictive of educational expectations and attainment than whether students grew up in rural areas in grade 10 in 2002. For grade 10 students who did not expect to go to college, both rural and nonrural students perceived financial barriers as the primary reason. Policymakers and other stakeholders in Midwestern states and the rest of the nation can use the results of this study to inform efforts to improve the educational attainment of rural students.
3/8/2017
REL 2017248 A review of the literature on social and emotional learning for students ages 3-8: Outcomes for different student populations and settings (part 4 of 4)
This is the fourth in a series of four related reports about what's known about social and emotional learning (SEL) programs for children ages 3-8. The purpose of the report series is to summarize the benefits of SEL in early childhood, and identify the characteristics of SEL interventions that are effective in school contexts. Responding to a need expressed by the Early Childhood Education Research Alliance, the research team conducted a systematic review and synthesis of recent research reviews and meta-analyses on the topic of SEL. This report presents outcomes for the general student population and student subgroups, including students from low-income families, racial/ethnic minority students, male and female students, English learner students, and students from urban and rural locales. Results suggest that SEL programs positively affect social and academic outcomes for the general student population, such as increased academic motivation, self-efficacy, conflict resolution skills, emotion recognition, empathy, and bonding to school; reduced antisocial behaviors and behavior problems; and higher grades and test scores. The outcomes of SEL for student subgroups are mixed. While some successful strategies for implementing SEL with diverse populations have been identified, more research is needed.
2/23/2017
REL 2017247 A review of the literature on social and emotional learning for students ages 3-8: Teacher and classroom strategies that contribute to social and emotional learning (part 3 of 4)
This is the third in a series of four related reports about what's known about social and emotional learning (SEL) programs for children ages 3-8. The purpose of the report series is to summarize the benefits of SEL in early childhood, and identify the characteristics of SEL interventions that are effective in school contexts. Responding to a need expressed by the Early Childhood Education Research Alliance, the research team conducted a systematic review and synthesis of recent research reviews and meta-analyses on the topic of SEL. The sources reviewed for this report included a large body of evidence regarding individual teacher and classroom practices that promote SEL. This report identifies three classroom factors (other than using SEL curriculum) that impact social and emotional learning: classroom climate (physical space and materials, classroom management, emotional climate), instructional strategies (modeling, reacting, teaching), and teacher social and emotional competence. Teachers and administrators can use the strategies presented in this report either alongside, or in the absence of, a formal SEL program.
2/23/2017
REL 2017246 A review of the literature on social and emotional learning for students ages 3-8: Implementation strategies and state and district support policies (part 2 of 4)
This is the second in a series of four related reports about what's known about social and emotional learning (SEL) programs for children ages 3-8. The purpose of the report series is to summarize the benefits of SEL in early childhood, and identify the characteristics of SEL interventions that are effective in school contexts. Responding to a need expressed by the Early Childhood Education Research Alliance, the research team conducted a systematic review and synthesis of recent research reviews and meta-analyses on the topic of SEL. This report is a review of the literature on the implementation strategies that support SEL programming, including a cycle of continuous improvement. It also presents state and district policy supports for SEL programming, such as engaging stakeholders, assessing resources and needs, adopting evidence-based SEL programs, integrating SEL into teacher and administrator evaluation systems, and developing comprehensive, freestanding SEL learning standards.
2/23/2017
REL 2017245 A review of the literature on social and emotional learning for students ages 3-8: Characteristics of effective social and emotional learning programs (part 1 of 4)
This is the first in a series of four related reports about what's known about social and emotional learning (SEL) programs for children ages 3-8. The purpose of the report series is to summarize the benefits of SEL in early childhood, and identify the characteristics of SEL interventions that are effective in school contexts. Responding to a need expressed by the Early Childhood Education Research Alliance, the research team conducted a systematic review and synthesis of recent research reviews and meta-analyses on the topic of SEL. This report is a review of the literature on stand-alone, evidence-based SEL programs that are associated with positive student behaviors and/or academic performance. The literature reviewed for this report also includes programs that target executive functioning, with an understanding that many SEL approaches represent a hybrid of the two. To assist educators and policymakers, this report presents information on selecting an evidenced-based SEL program and provides recommendations from experts.
2/23/2017
REL 2017210 Short-term impacts of student listening circles on student perceptions of school climate and of their own competencies
The primary purpose of this study was to examine the short-term impacts of participation in a student voice facilitation strategy—a Student Listening Circle (SLC)—on student perceptions of their input into decisionmaking at school, their relationships with school staff and peers, school bonding, their competencies for improving the school, and academic self-efficacy. The study also examined adult participants' perceptions before and after the SLC and describes how SLCs are conducted in study schools. To investigate impacts of SLC participation on students, 90 of the 256 students who volunteered to participate in the study were randomly assigned to participate in the SLC (treatment group). The remaining 166 students did not participate directly in the SLC (control group). The study took place in 9 schools in California, with random assignment conducted within each school. Both groups of students completed surveys to ascertain perceptions of school climate and personal competencies 1 week before SLC implementation, 1 week after SLC implementation, and 12 weeks after SLC implementation. SLC impacts were estimated by comparing survey responses between the treatment group and the control group at 1 week and at 12 weeks after SLC implementation. The secondary component of the study used staff surveys to assess changes in adult SLC participants' perceptions of school supports and of student competencies after the SLC, and interviews to assess their perceptions of practices implemented as a result of the SLC. The main experimental results of the study found no discernible effects of the SLC on student participants' perceptions of school climate and personal competencies. Descriptive results indicated that participating school staff reported greater average perceptions of students' abilities to contribute to school improvement, trust in students, and perceptions of student opportunities for meaningful participation at school after the SLC than they did before the SLC. Moreover, schools that implemented SLCs followed through with most action steps generated during the SLCs and implemented multiple school improvement practices to address themes suggested during the SLC. The fact that this study found no short-term impacts of SLC participation on students' perceptions of school climate or of their competencies does not necessarily mean that there is no value in implementing SLCs. SLCs are intended to produce improvements in the overall school environment, including on such factors as school-wide governance and perceptions of adults and students who do not participate in the SLC. It is possible for the SLC to have no discernable impacts on student participants but to still have impacts on school climate.
2/1/2017
NCEE 20174008 Do Low-Income Students Have Equal Access to Effective Teachers? Evidence from 26 Districts
This report examines whether low-income students are taught by less effective teachers than high-income students and if so, whether reducing this inequity would close the student achievement gap. It also describes how the hiring of teachers and their subsequent movement into and out of schools could affect low-income students' access to effective teachers. The study includes fourth- to eighth-grade teachers over five school years (2008-2009 to 2012-2013) in 26 school districts across the country. Teacher effectiveness is measured using a statistical approach that estimates a teacher's contribution to student learning controlling for students' prior achievement and other characteristics. The study found small inequities in teacher effectiveness between low- and high-income students. However, in a small subset of districts, there is meaningful inequity in access to effective teachers in math where providing equal access to effective teachers over a five year period would reduce the math achievement gap by at least a tenth of a standard deviation of student achievement, the equivalent of about 4 percentile points. The report also finds patterns of teacher hiring and transfers that are consistent with small inequities in teacher effectiveness while teacher attrition is not.
10/27/2016
REL 2016153 Toolkit of Resources for Engaging Families and the Community as Partners in Education Part 4: Engaging all in data conversations
The Toolkit of Resources for Engaging Families and Community as Partners in Education provides resources for school staff to build relationships with families and community members and to support family well-being, strong parent-child relationships, and students' ongoing learning and development. Originally developed for the Guam Alliance for Family and Community Engagement in Education, the Toolkit is based on information from a variety of sources that address engagement in diverse communities. Part 4 of the toolkit provides tools and activities to help school staff understand what data is important to share with families and community members and how to share such data. Part 4 is divided into two sections: determining what student data are important to share with families and community members and presenting student data in meaningful ways. Each section includes an introduction, summary of key points and related research, and activities that can be used with school staff. The activities in Part 4 help staff simplify data language, investigate data available to them, identify data to share with families, and learn strategies for sharing data with parents and community members.
9/20/2016
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