Pedagogy Market Research | Review #11


Capturing The Social/Emotional World Of Students

By David Naff and Jesse Senechal

Review Summary by Diya Jaishankar
Grade XI Student, Market Research Intern, Adaptive Instruction

Diya Jaishankar is a eleventh grade student in Bangalore. She is curious and observant and enjoys playing the piano, watching crime shows, solving puzzles and chatting with her friends.

This is a summary of a research paper by David Naff and Jesse Senechal published by the Metropolitan Educational Research Consortium at VCU. Towards the goal of figuring out if it was possible to use student social emotional measures in K-12 schools, this paper discusses the concept of social emotional measures, examples of them, and their effects on student improvement processes and student success at various levels of the education system.

What is Social Emotional Learning (SEL)

Social emotional learning involves the evaluation of various social emotional constructs such as engagement, grit, and mindset. These constructs were first classified as non-cognitive, then traits, skills and eventually classified under the domain of social emotional learning, which deals with 5 key concepts.

  1. Self-awareness – by identifying one’s emotions and thoughts, and their effects on behaviour
  2. Self-management – by controlling one’s emotions, thoughts, and reactions to various situations
  3. Social awareness – by accepting varying opinions and empathizing with people from varying backgrounds, adhering to social ethics
  4. Relationship skills – by creating and continuing healthy and rewarding relationships with diverse persons
  5. Responsible decision making – by making constructive and thoughtful decisions about behaviour towards people in social settings, keeping in mind consequences of one’s actions, safety hazards, and ethics

Social Emotional Constructs

  • Engagement

Engagement may be behavioral, involving attentive participation, positive conduct, and school attendance. It may be emotional, relating to the sense of belonging in the school owing to a positive attitude towards it. It may also be cognitive, dealing with self-learning and related strategies. This construct can be measured using various surveys and polls discussed later in this summary.

It is also found that more emotional engagement is linked to a higher academic achievement, the promotion of engagement can be done by increasing the presence and engagement of the staff and students.

  • Grit

Grit is defined as making consistent efforts to achieve long term goals in the face of hardship, failure, or difficulties. This construct is applicable in various spheres such as education, military, and business. It is measured by the grit scale, which contains multiple items in the form of statements that one may agree or disagree with, to varying extents. It has been observed that the grittier a person is, the greater effort and persistence they have towards their goals, which is associated with a greater probability of achievement of these goals. Grit can be promoted by providing encouragement to students to develop goals and to maintain their efforts to achieve them in the face of difficulties.

  • Mindset

A growth mindset is characterized by the belief that one’s intelligence can be improved with more and persistent efforts. Evaluation of whether one has a growth mindset or not can be done using a scale homologous to the grit scale. This construct can be promoted by appreciating the hard work of students as opposed to observed inherent smartness.

Social Emotional Measures

  • ACT Engage

This is a measure of one’s motivation, social engagement, and self-control. It can be used to discover a student’s emotional strengths or weaknesses and provide interventions accordingly.

  • Gallup Student Poll (GSP)

This is a measure of a student’s financial literacy, wellbeing, engagement, and entrepreneurial aspirations. Based on the results of the GSP, school improvement processes can be altered at various levels of the education system.

  • High School Survey of Student Engagement (HSSSE)

This survey evaluates the extent of student engagement in schoolwork and linkage between school and the community of middle school and high school students.

  • Survey of Academic and Youth Outcomes (SAYO)

SAYO focuses on measuring the social emotional development of young students in out-of-school programs, providing a novel view to the academic growth of students.

Usage of Social Emotional Measures

  • Inform Curriculum and Instruction

Results of social emotional measures can be used to introduce a curriculum that aids the development of students’ SEL. One requirement is that the collection of data be continuous for effective progress planning.

  • Professional Development

Teachers can be guided in implementing techniques that better SEL in the classroom

  • Strategic Planning

Students’ social emotional data can be kept in mind while making strategic plans for school program improvement.

  • Continuous improvement efforts

Networked Improvement Communities (NICs) have school-based teams that discuss problems in learning communities, find solutions, and analyze their effectiveness. NICs may utilize social emotional measures while assessing the impact of the action taken against a problem.

  • Evaluation of existing programs

School programs that target specific social emotional competencies can be evaluated to check on their effectiveness in the presence of social emotional data.

  • Community Conversations and Collective Impact

Academic learning is positively associated with quality of education while social emotional learning is affected by out-of-school programs, domestic life, religious communities, and forms of media the student is exposed to. So, social emotional data can be used to attract parents and the students’ communities in discussion about student development and their impact on learning.

In conclusion, Social Emotional Learning is an important concept that is directly related to a student’s academic learning and performance. Various outcomes involved in this concept such as grit, engagement and mindset have been studied in this research paper, along with ways in which they are measured and their applications. However, further studies can be undertaken into the possibilities that lie within Social Emotional Learning and policies of the education system can be changed taking this concept under consideration.

Link to the publication:
Capturing The Social/Emotional World Of Students