Download eBook for Free

Full Document

FormatFile SizeNotes
PDF file 1.5 MB

Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 10 or higher for the best experience.

Intervention Summaries

FormatFile SizeNotes
PDF file 1.4 MB

Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 10 or higher for the best experience.

تدخلات التعلم الاجتماعي والعاطفي بموجب قانون "كل طالب ينجح" مراجعة الأدلة

Arabic language version

FormatFile SizeNotes
PDF file 2.4 MB

Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 10 or higher for the best experience.


Purchase Print Copy

 Format Price
Add to Cart Paperback154 pages $22.00

Research Questions

  1. How does ESSA address SEL?
  2. What SEL interventions appear to satisfy ESSA's evidence requirements?
  3. What grade levels do these interventions target, and what outcomes do they seek?

The reauthorization of the U.S. Elementary and Secondary Education Act, referred to as the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), emphasizes evidence-based interventions while giving states and districts new flexibility on the use of federal funds, including funds that could be used to support social and emotional learning (SEL). The authors review recent evidence on U.S.-based SEL interventions for K–12 students to better inform the use of SEL interventions under ESSA. This report discusses the opportunities for supporting SEL under ESSA, the standards of evidence under ESSA, and SEL interventions that meet the standards of evidence and might be eligible for federal funds through ESSA. Federal, state, and district education policymakers can use this report to identify relevant, evidence-based SEL interventions that meet their local needs. A companion volume (available on the website) catalogues these interventions in more detail and outlines the research that has examined them.

Key Findings

ESSA Supports SEL Through Several Different Funding Streams

  • The funding stream most directly relevant for SEL is Title IV (21st Century Schools).
  • Titles I (Improving the Academic Achievement of the Disadvantaged) and II (Preparing, Training, and Recruiting High-Quality Teachers, Principals, or Other School Leaders) also provide opportunities to support SEL.

Numerous SEL Interventions Across Grade Levels Meet ESSA Evidence Requirements

  • In general, ESSA has three tiers of evidence ranging from Tier I (strong evidence) to Tier III (promising). An additional tier (IV) involves interventions that lack evidence to date but seem likely to succeed and are currently undergoing evaluation.
  • The authors identified 60 SEL interventions evaluated at U.S.-based K–12 schools that met evidence requirements for Tiers I–III.

Educators in Elementary Schools and Urban Communities Have the Most Options of SEL Interventions that Meet ESSA Evidence Requirements

  • The majority of the 60 interventions were evaluated at the elementary school level and in urban communities.
  • A substantial number of interventions have been validated with samples that mostly consist of students who come from low-income families or from racial/ethnic minority groups.

Interpersonal Competencies are the Most Common Outcomes Positively Impacted in Studies of Evidence-Based Interventions

  • Most of the interventions reported positive results on building students' interpersonal competencies (e.g., prosocial behaviors, interpersonal communication, and social problem-solving skills), followed by intrapersonal competencies (e.g., attention, emotional regulation, and resilience).
  • Several interventions also demonstrated positive results on school climate and safety, academic achievement and attainment, disciplinary outcomes, and civic attitudes and behaviors.


  • Use this review to find SEL interventions meeting ESSA evidence Tiers I–III.
  • Take advantage of Tier IV flexibility for interventions with no empirical research.
  • Address local conditions to facilitate effective intervention implementation.
  • Look beyond explicit interventions when designing approaches to promote SEL.
  • Provide professional development and other supports to build educators' capacity to gather and use evidence.
  • Continue to improve SEL measurement.
  • Provide feedback on remaining ambiguities of evidence tier requirements.

The research described in this report was commissioned by The Wallace Foundation and conducted by RAND Education.

This report is part of the RAND research report series. RAND reports present research findings and objective analysis that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors. All RAND reports undergo rigorous peer review to ensure high standards for research quality and objectivity.

This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit

RAND is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.