Policy brief
Working paper

Can We Measure Classroom Supports for Social-Emotional Learning?

Classroom Supports for Social-Emotional Learning
Robert H. Meyer
Education Analytics
Libby Pier
Education Analytics
Jordan Mader
Education Analytics
Michael Christian
Education Analytics
Andrew Rice
Education Analytics
Susanna Loeb
Stanford Graduate School of Education
Hans Fricke
Amazon.com, Inc.
Heather J. Hough
Policy Analysis for California Education, Stanford University


This brief applies value-added models to student surveys in the CORE Districts to explore whether social-emotional learning (SEL) surveys can be used to measure effective classroom-level supports for SEL. The authors find that classrooms differ in their effect on students’ growth in self-reported SEL—even after accounting for school-level effects. Results suggest that classroom-level effects within schools may be larger than school-level effects. However, the low explanatory power of the SEL models means it is unclear that these are causal effects that have appropriately controlled for student-level characteristics. Finally, there are generally low correlations between classroom-level growth in SEL and classroom-level growth in English language arts (ELA) or math, suggesting the SEL measures may capture growth not measured by academic test scores. Although results are preliminary, they indicate there might be measurable student growth in SEL impacted by the environment of classrooms within schools.

Suggested citationMeyer, R. H., Pier, L., Mader, J., Christian, M., Rice, A., Loeb, S., Fricke, H., & Hough, H. J. (2019, October). Can we measure classroom supports for social-emotional learning? [Policy brief]. Policy Analysis for California Education. https://edpolicyinca.org/publications/can-we-measure-classroom-supports-sel