Making SEL Assessment Work: Ten Practitioner Beliefs

Measuring social and emotional learning (SEL) provides crucial feedback about how adults employ practices and strategies to support SEL; how youth and adults are developing social and emotional competencies; and how agencies and organizations are systematically supporting social and emotional learning and development.

In the SEL field, multiple assessment issues—from the complexity, validity, and reliability of measures, to the use and interpretation of results—baffle even the most experienced researchers. But many leaders in schools and out-of-school time programs are already assessing SEL practice and social and emotional competencies, without waiting for research to catch up.

Through the National Practitioner Advisory Group on Using Data to Inspire SEL Practice (NPAG), AIR and the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) convened 28 practice leaders from across the country to understand how they are implementing, assessing, and refining their SEL practices. NPAG serves as a strong, practitioner-led, unified voice on SEL assessment and data. The group’s capstone was its consensus statement, Making SEL Assessment Work: Ten Practitioner Beliefs which offers practitioner-friendly guidance about how best to assess SEL and social and emotional competencies, as well as practitioner-identified promises and pitfalls in the use of assessment and data. The accompanying resource list offers further reading and resources.