About SEL Assessments

Schools are already using SEL assessments to collect info about student growth in non-academic skills, but how they are using the data is as, if not more, important than the data collection itself. Informed student feedback must be the goal to help develop student-driven learning of themselves, each other, as well as an increasing capacity for academic success.

There are three popular assessment practices for SEL in schools today. (1) Self-assessment surveys, (2) performance observation feedback, and (3) direct assessment of SEL knowledge.


Internal Reflection. Self-assessment surveys are most popular but offer only a single perspective of the self and interactions based on the point-of-view of the person answering the survey. With guidance, this survey data can be helpful to the individual when there it's explained that this survey data serves only to inform that individual of their own growth over time (i.e. avoid extrinsic motivation for self-assessment surveys).


External Observation. A person observing SEL growth of another is limited by that person's own knowledge of SEL Competencies and developed biases and extrinsically motivated expectations. This data is useful in connection with self-assessment and direct assessment data in identifying gaps in an institution's expectations versus its reality, helping to distinguish potential improvements to the environment for promoting student SEL growth.