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The Education Collaboratory at Yale advances the science and practice of social and emotional learning (SEL). Through intentional collaboration with students, educators, leaders, and organizations, we investigate, inspire, and address open questions in the Who, What, and How of inclusive and equitable SEL. Their approach emphasizes community partnerships and collaborative engagements with schools and communities, designed to balance rigor, relevance, and reality in SEL design, implementation, and evaluations to support all students, schools, and communities, to benefit. Under the direction of Dr. Christina Cipriano, the Education Collaboratory at Yale is leading the national discourse to evolve the definition of SEL alongside the burgeoning field; identifying promising practices for inclusive and equitable implementation and evaluation of SEL in school settings, undertaking critical evidence synthesis, and supporting the next generation of data practices through novel SEL assessments and community-based approaches to intervention science.

Resource spotlight

This storyboard and accompanying briefs show how the Education Collaboratory uses their tools to provide meaningful score profiles with and for youth and how putting data in the hands of youth promotes data-driven sustainable practices that are equity-focused, transparent, and inclusive (and what this can do for a school). Dive into these tools to learn how schools can shift paradigms of student assessments.

Background information

Researchers at Yale University work in partnership with school communities nationwide to identify, innovate, and evaluate discrete SEL assessments designed to address needs in SEL implementation and evaluation. These partnerships result in novel and realistic school-based tools with strong evidence of reliability, validity, and measurement equivalence. A critical component of all the tools they develop is the provision of data that is democratized – ie, the measures, scores, and profiles produced are delivered right back to the user who participated with community developed language and presentation to support what the data means and opportunities for applying the data to shift student, teaching, classroom, and school-level practices. 

1

The School Climate Walkthrough: A web-based school climate assessment tool for secondary schools that anchors in student assessments of their schools’ climate using observations and a checklist at key points throughout the school day. Students complete “the Walkthrough” in two parts over the course of a typical school day – 10 minutes in the morning, answering questions about their overall opinions of their school, and 15 minutes in the afternoon, completing a checklist of their observations from that day at school. The tool offers instantaneous scoring and a digital report covering nine domains of school climate including safety, relationships, teaching quality, and respect for diversity. Results of the survey are automatically displayed once all participants submit their responses and are interpretable by the students themselves. Interactive features of the report allow users to explore overall scores as well as any areas in which various demographic groups of students may be reporting significantly disparate experiences.

2

The Momentary Emotion Assessment (MEA): A tool used to track how students feel and how they respond to their emotions at school. This tool could be used by researchers and educators to understand momentary emotions and how they change, and to capture the effects of interventions designed to improve students’ experiences at school. In addition to assessing student emotions, the tool provides students with individual reports and in-the-moment feedback on improving their emotional experiences. Schools receive aggregated results to drive school-level analysis and decision-making with resources for supporting students.

3

The Student Emotion Regulation Assessment (SERA): The SERA is a direct assessment that measures students’ use of emotional regulation to deal with common emotional situations at school. Students are presented with computer-based, illustrated, age-appropriate vignettes and asked how they would respond. The purpose of the SERA is to (1) enhance educators’ awareness and understanding of their students’ emotion regulation strategy use and competency; (2) increase adolescent students’ awareness of their own emotion regulation strategy use and knowledge of effective emotion regulation strategies; and (3) provide guidance to educators on how to support their students’ development of effective emotion regulation strategies in classroom settings. There are two versions of the SERA: the SERA-P for use with students in grades 1-5 and the SERA-S for use with students in grades 6-12. In both versions, students are presented with age-appropriate vignettes (see examples below) and asked how they would respond in these situations. Both versions are computer-based, illustrated, and narrated to enhance student engagement and accessibility.

The EWB survey consists of three digital surveys delivered through Qualtrics survey software: The Affective Experiences Scale (AES) (a measure of teachers’ emotional experiences), the Sources of Well- Being Scale (SoW) (a measure of sources of educator well-being), and the Emotion-Focused Educator SEL Survey (EFESS) (a measure of teachers’ self-reported use of SEL practices). In total, all three sections take approximately 15 minutes to complete and we recommend to be administered twice per year. Educators complete the survey anonymously but provide their email on the last screen. De- identified data is aggregated and a school level report is provided.

Tools in development:

The SELOC-E

The SELOC-E will be an observation tool for elementary classrooms specifically designed to capture SEL pedagogy that enhances student learning. The SELOC-E will support practitioners and researchers to: (1) measure discrete theoretically-supported pedagogies fostered by effective SEL curricula; (2) identify key growth areas in practice to support teacher SEL instruction and promote best practice in the delivery of SEL curricula, and (3) understand how these practices are associated with student social, behavioral, and academic outcomes. The SELOC-E will directly assess SEL pedagogy in elementary schools (K-5) using a multi-method, multi-informant observational design.

The SELOC-E will be developed through a mixed-methods design grounded in action research to support the resulting tool’s immediate practical utility within school, state, and district assessment frameworks.

In Year 1 (2021-22)

In Year 1 (2021-22) we will engage in the following research activities to refine the SEL Pedagogy Framework and inform development of initial SELOC-E items. Conduct a content analysis of evidence-based elementary school SEL curricula to identify the key processes and activities of SEL pedagogy in elementary school classrooms

Conduct strategic classroom observations and interviews with 12 experienced SEL School Leaders (SLs) and 12 K-5 teachers from diverse school districts across the country.

Convene an advisory board of SEL experts.

In Year 3 (2023-24)

In Year 3 (2023-24) we will pilot the SELOC-E to establish initial evidence of psychometric properties and refine the observation tool and system alongside 50 SLs and 300 classrooms across the country. We will also conduct a cost analysis of SELOC-ES implementation to inform dissemination.

In Year 4 (2024-25)

In Year 4 (2024-25) we will work with the advisory panel and SLs to share the final tool for immediate adoption by schools and school districts to support effective SEL implementation and professional development.

The OAMM-T

The OAMM-T will be an objective self-report measure designed to measure teacher mindfulness and awareness within the classroom context. The OAMM-T will support researchers in better understanding the nature of teacher’s awareness of external (e.g., student, classroom) and internal (e.g., emotions, thoughts, body sensations) sources of information. Additionally, it will support research to explore how mindfulness and other social and emotional interventions change the nature of teacher’s awareness and how the nature of their awareness relates to their well-being, classroom behaviors, and their student’s experiences and success. With this increased knowledge, the OAMM-T will also be able to support teachers in recognizing changes in their own awareness, including feedback to support development of teacher’s awareness and mindfulness to enhance the classroom environment.

In Year 1 (2023)

In Year 1 (2023) we will collect teacher classroom recall data and, with a contemplative expert panel, we will develop a codebook and score the teacher recall data.

In Year 2 (2024)

In Year 2 (2024) we will conduct psychometric analysis and use natural language processing and machine learning to automate the scoring process.

In 2022, the Education Collaboratory began partnering with two community organizations – The Urban Assembly and Trajectory of Hope – to use these tools in schools to help identify how the data they produce and the process of implementing the tools can eliminate inequity, racism, and other exclusionary practices in partner school SEL research, programming, and policy.

Trajectory of Hope, The Urban Assembly, and Yale University have come together to ensure that social emotional learning, and the accompanying SEL assessment tools, are harnessed for good – to promote equity and to help identify and eliminate racism and other exclusionary practices in research, in programming, and in policy.

Contact Information

For more information on the Education Collaboratory at Yale, please contact educollab@yale.edu.

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