Social and Emotional Learning

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Recent research has demonstrated the importance of helping students develop a broad range of competencies that include but are not limited to academic achievement. Educators are increasingly working to promote students' interpersonal competencies, such as collaboration and social awareness, and their intrapersonal competencies, such as emotion regulation and goal setting. The process through which these competencies are developed is often referred to as social and emotional learning (SEL). Research suggests that the development of SEL competencies while students are in school predicts a variety of later outcomes, such as participation in postsecondary education, success in the workforce, civic engagement, and personal well-being.

  • Report

    Anti-Bias Education in U.S. Public Schools

    Teaching students explicitly about issues of identity, diversity, equity, and bias can lead to positive outcomes. Nearly three in four K–12 teachers reported that they provide such anti-bias instruction, but more than half said that their school's or district's curriculum materials did not adequately address anti-bias topics.

    Feb 22, 2022

  • Report

    Skills for Success: Developing Social and Emotional Competencies in Out-of-School-Time Programs

    Out-of-school-time programs have long focused on children's social and emotional development as part of their mission of building a culture of connectedness and positive relationships between youth and adults. How do these programs incorporate social and emotional learning?

    Feb 27, 2023

Explore Social and Emotional Learning

  • Male high school student using laptop in class, photo by Monkey Business/AdobeStock

    Report

    High School Teachers' Perceptions and Use of Personalized Learning

    Technology-facilitated personalized learning approaches have become increasingly common in K–12 schools across the United States. How are high school teachers using personal learning practices? And which supports and resources do they need to use them effectively?

    Aug 10, 2020

  • Female high school teacher standing by student table teaching lesson, photo by Monkey Business/AdobeStock

    Report

    Social Studies Teachers' Perspectives on Key Civic Outcomes in 2010 and 2019

    High school social studies teachers play an important role in fostering the civic knowledge, skills, and dispositions that students need to thrive after graduation. How have these teachers' perspectives on student civic development changed from 2010 to 2019?

    Aug 3, 2020

  • Jennifer Panditaratne helps Hazeline with her reading assignments as she is homeschooling in Broward County, Florida, U.S. May 29, 2020. Picture taken May 29, 2020, photo by Maria Alejandra Cardona/Reuters

    Report

    Parents Need Help During School and Child Care Center Closures

    The COVID-19 pandemic has been particularly challenging for parents since schools and child care centers closed or switched to distance learning in the spring. Parents with children in different age groups and those under financial stress need the most support.

    Jul 27, 2020

  • Kids playing soccer, photo by FatCamera/Getty Images

    Commentary

    California Could Develop Guidance to Reopen Youth Sports

    There is growing evidence that long-term isolation from school closures has negative impacts on kids' physical and mental health and social development, with impacts potentially lasting for years. Youth sports can help to offset many of these negative impacts. California public health officials could prioritize the development of guidelines that would allow youth sports to reopen safely.

    Jul 22, 2020

  • High school students with hands raised during lesson in classroom, photo by Chris Ryan/KOTO/AdobeStock

    Report

    How Teachers Use Civics Instructional Materials

    Teachers' instructional materials provide a window into civic education in schools. Where are public-school social studies teachers getting most of their instructional materials? And how are they using these materials to teach civics?

    Jul 13, 2020

  • Classmates preparing for exams in the library, photo by Prostock-Studio/Getty Images

    Report

    Understanding Media Use and Literacy in Schools

    Schools can play a key role in fighting Truth Decay—the diminishing role of facts in U.S. public life—by teaching media literacy to students. How much emphasis do teachers and schools put on this subject?

    Jun 29, 2020

  • Oakes McClenahan, 7, watches his teacher's recorded lesson on a computer at home, Seattle, Washington, March 27, 2020, photo by Jason Redmond/Reuters

    Report

    How Are Educators Teaching and Leading Through the Pandemic?

    U.S. teachers and principals shifted quickly to support students with distance learning during the early weeks of the coronavirus crisis. But unfortunately, the pandemic is likely to make existing inequalities worse.

    Jun 22, 2020

  • Laptop displaying many graphs, photo by tadamichi/Getty Images

    Report

    Data Access and Use Among Middle and High School Principals

    School principals make countless decisions that could benefit from access to data in electronic data management systems. During the 2018–2019 school year, what kinds of student data did principals have access to through these systems? Were the data disaggregated by student race, ethnicity, and income?

    Jun 11, 2020

  • A group of teachers looking at data, photo by SolStock/Getty Images

    Report

    Teachers Find Value in National Educator Survey Data

    More than 80 percent of teachers reported that their peers' responses to surveys about topics like social and emotional learning and curriculum would be useful. Those in higher-poverty schools were more likely to report that data on many topics would be useful for improving their instruction.

    Apr 15, 2020

  • A teacher trying to resolve a conflict between two elementary students

    Report

    Are Educators Setting Goals for Social-Emotional Learning?

    Evidence shows that social and emotional skills predict long-term life outcomes of students. Interventions that improve social and emotional learning (SEL) can also boost academic achievement. Many teachers and principals are setting goals for SEL growth in their schools, but 40 percent of them are not.

    Apr 7, 2020

  • Chrissy Brackett and grandson Caidence Miller learn to navigate an online learning system at her home in Woodinville, Washington, March 11, 2020, photo by Lindsey Wasson/Reuters

    Q&A

    Schools Pivot Online in Wake of COVID-19: Q&A with RAND Experts

    Nearly all school-age children in the United States are no longer in the classroom as districts shut down to reduce the spread of the new coronavirus. RAND education researchers discuss how this situation might exacerbate educational inequities, how districts and teachers are innovating and what they need, and what parents can do.

    Apr 2, 2020

  • A girl doing schoolwork on a laptop computer, photo by ijeab/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Online Doesn't Have to Mean Impersonal

    Children's needs extend beyond the purely academic. It is important that their social and emotional well-being is supported as instruction moves online during the COVID-19 pandemic. A whole-child view of what students need could benefit them now more than ever.

    Apr 2, 2020

  • Boy wearing headphones while using laptop during homework at home

    Multimedia

    The Impact of COVID-19 on the U.S. Education System

    In this Call with the Experts podcast, in response to the COVID-19 crisis RAND experts discuss K–12 education issues, potential income-based gaps, social and emotional learning matters, and resources for students and parents. The experts also consider actions that can be taken to facilitate learning while meeting social distancing goals.

    Mar 31, 2020

  • Research Brief

    Research Brief

    Four Lessons Learned from Implementing a Social and Emotional Learning Program to Enhance School Safety

    This brief describes the implementation of Tools for Life®, a social and emotional learning program, in elementary and middle schools in Jackson, Mississippi, and evaluates the program's effects on school climate and safety.

    Mar 17, 2020

  • Report

    Report

    Social and Emotional Learning, School Climate, and School Safety: A Randomized Controlled Trial Evaluation of Tools for Life® in Elementary and Middle Schools

    This report describes the implementation of Tools for Life®, a social and emotional learning program, in elementary and middle schools in Jackson, Mississippi, and evaluates the program's effects on school climate and safety.

    Jan 9, 2020

  • Report

    Report

    Learn Together Surveys: 2019 Technical Documentation and Survey Results

    This report provides additional information about the sample, survey instrument, and resultant data for the 2019 Learn Together Surveys that were administered to principals and teachers via the RAND Corporation's American Educator Panels.

    Dec 31, 2019

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Walking a Fine Line: School Climate Surveys in State ESSA Plans

    As state survey systems mature, states will be able to improve how they use surveys and explore other nonacademic indicators of school performance, recognizing the breadth of ways that schools help students succeed.

    Dec 12, 2019

  • A happy teacher calls on a student in her elementary school classroom, photo by skynesher/Getty Images

    Report

    Measuring School and Classroom Climate

    Features of a learning environment, also called school and classroom climate, are associated with higher student achievement. What do educators need to assess these features—and to help create positive, safe, and inclusive environments for students?

    Dec 11, 2019

  • Teacher helps students resolve conflict, photo by SDI Productions/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Restorative Justice Isn't a Panacea, but It Can Promote Better Relationships Among Students

    Restorative practices aren't necessarily a cure-all. But if implemented well, they can contribute to an overall solution. Teaching children to treat one another with respect has the potential to make schools safer and to help kids get along better throughout their lives.

    Oct 21, 2019

  • Elementary school teacher helping pupils as they work at desk in classroom, photo by Monkey Business/AdobeStock

    Report

    Teacher Perspectives on Social and Emotional Learning in Massachusetts

    Teachers are largely responsible for implementing social and emotional learning (SEL) programs and policies. How do teachers in Massachusetts feel about the importance of SEL? And what are their opinions on approaches to and support for SEL instruction?

    Oct 2, 2019

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