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Two New Big SEL Studies – & Neither Are Particularly Useful

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Social Emotional Learning (SEL) continues to generate more and more interest. Unfortunately, not all of this interest is particularly positive.

Two new big studies on SEL have recently been released, and while one is pretty much a rehash of older studies on it, the other is the same rehash along with a potentially damaging call for SEL tests and “accountability.”

The Character Factor: Measures and Impact of Drive and Prudence is from Brookings. Anyone familiar with SEL will be able to skim through it quickly. You won’t find anything new in it, but if you’re looking for another summary of research that shows why it’s important, you’ll find that there.

The more damaging report comes from The New America Foundation in a report on Skills For Success (it’s the same as SEL, and I’m not sure why they used this other term). There, you’ll find a similar review of old studies, and the damaging part comes when they start proposing tests and accountability for teachers, students and schools to ensure that they are teaching/learning these skills, including the infamous KIPP report card on character (see Why schools should not grade character traits).

I’m adding this post to The Best Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Resources — not because they’re great, but because I suspect the second one is particular is going to be quoted a lot and it’s important for educators to know about it.

Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.

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