2015

CASEL Guide


Effective Social and Emotional Learning Programs


Middle and High School Edition


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About This GuideDownload PDF

Evidence-based programs designed to promote positive outcomes and prevent problem behavior in students are increasingly being used in educational settings. They have evolved out of different traditions including education, public health, psychology, prevention science, positive youth development, character education, and social and emotional learning (SEL). The 2015 CASEL Guide: Effective Social and Emotional Learning Programs—Middle and High School Edition identifies school-based programs that have been evaluated with middle and high school students and that promote students’ personal and social competence.

The 2015 CASEL Guide applies a systematic framework for assessing the quality of SEL programs. Specifically, the Guide identifies and rates well-designed, evidence-based SEL programs with potential for broad dissemination to schools across the United States. The main purpose of the Guide is to give educators information for selecting and implementing SEL programs in their districts and schools. The Guide also describes the significant advances the SEL field has made in the past decade, establishes new definitions of SEL at the secondary level, provides suggestions for future research and practice in SEL, and describes innovative approaches to educational practice (e.g., programs that promote mindful awareness) that may also contribute to students’ social and emotional development.

We are grateful to 1440 Foundation, the Einhorn Family Charitable Trust, and NoVo Foundation for their generous support of this effort. We also thank the many SEL program developers and researchers who have generously and graciously shared their evaluation reports, curriculum materials, and professional learning strategies during our extensive review process. And we express our sincere appreciation to the CASEL board of directors and the team of colleagues at CASEL and the University of Illinois at Chicago Social and Emotional Learning Research Group who produced this guide.


Definition of SELDownload PDF

Social and emotional learning (SEL) is the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions. Social and emotional skills are critical to being a good student, citizen, and worker, and many risky behaviors (e.g., drug use, violence, bullying and dropping out) can be prevented or reduced when multiyear, integrated efforts are used to develop students' social and emotional skills. This is best done through effective classroom instruction, student engagement in positive activities in and out of the classroom, and broad parent and community involvement in program planning, implementation, and evaluation.

SEL Wheel

SEL programming is based on the understanding that the best learning emerges in the context of supportive relationships that make learning challenging, engaging and meaningful. Effective SEL programming begins in preschool and continues through high school.

CASEL has identified five interrelated sets of cognitive, affective, and behavioral competencies. The definitions of the five competency clusters for students are:

Self-Awareness: The ability to accurately recognize one’s emotions and thoughts and their influence on behavior. This includes accurately assessing one’s strengths and limitations and possessing a well-grounded sense of confidence and optimism.

Self-Management: The ability to regulate one’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviors effectively in different situations. This includes managing stress, controlling impulses, motivating oneself, and setting and working toward achieving personal and academic goals.

Social Awareness: The ability to take the perspective of and empathize with others from diverse backgrounds and cultures, to understand social and ethical norms for behavior, and to recognize family, school, and community resources and supports.

Relationship Skills: The ability to establish and maintain healthy and rewarding relationships with diverse individuals and groups. This includes communicating clearly, listening actively, cooperating, resisting inappropriate social pressure, negotiating conflict constructively, and seeking and offering help when needed.

Responsible Decision-Making: The ability to make constructive and respectful choices about personal behavior and social interactions based on consideration of ethical standards, safety concerns, social norms, the realistic evaluation of consequences of various actions, and the well-being of self and others.

The five CASEL competencies reflect intrapersonal and interpersonal domains (National Research Council, 2012). Self-awareness and self-management are consistent with the intrapersonal domain whereas social awareness and relationship skills represent dimensions within the interpersonal domain. Responsible decision-making is both an individual and social process and therefore overlaps both domains.



SEL for Secondary Students

SEL for Secondary StudentsDownload PDF

Social and emotional competence provides a foundation for academic success (Zins et al., 2004). Although research suggests that course completion and grades in middle school are the strongest predictors of high school performance and graduation (Farrington et al., 2012), there is increasing evidence that social and emotional competence is also critically important. Interventions that promote SEL promote academic performance (Durlak et al., 2011). Several recent publications on college and career readiness, deeper learning, and 21st-century skills cite personal and social competencies, often called “noncognitive skills,” as fundamental to students’ level of engagement in middle and high school, their post-secondary performance and completion, and their workplace success (ACT, 2014; National Research Council, 2012).

Recognition of the unique needs of students aged 10-15 began with the advent of the “middle school movement” and continues today (Association for Middle Level Education, 2010). Current best practice guidelines for education at the middle-school level recognize the diverse developmental needs of this age group and the importance of promoting both academic and personal development, including social and emotional competence. The importance of SEL for high school is also growing in light of its link to college and career readiness and dropout prevention.

The knowledge, skills, and attitudes within the CASEL five competency clusters are especially critical during adolescence because youth at this stage are going through rapid physical, emotional, and cognitive changes. These changes create unique opportunities for personal and social skill development. Adolescents also engage in more risky behavior than younger students and face a variety of challenging situations, including increased independence, peer pressure, and exposure to social media. Longitudinal studies have shown that increased social and emotional competence is related to reductions in a variety of problem behaviors including aggression, delinquency, substance use, and dropout.



Learning Environments for SEL

Learning Environments for SELDownload PDF

Middle schools and high schools can be viewed as systems with multiple levels that influence students’ social and emotional development (Eccles & Roeser, 2011; Roeser, Eccles, & Sameroff, 2000). This is reflected in the concentric circles surrounding the competency domains. At the classroom level the quality of teacher-student interactions is one of the most important predictors of student academic performance and adjustment (Hamre & Pianta, 2007; Mashburn & Pianta, 2006). Students who report feeling listened to by teachers, involved in decisions that affect their lives, provided with opportunities to exert autonomy, and accepted by peers are more motivated and perform better in school than those who lack these positive experiences. Interpersonal and organizational factors at the school level also influence students’ academic performance and adjustment, in part through their effect on school climate (National School Climate Council, 2007).

The quality of the relationships students have with teachers and peers, the clarity and consistency of school rules, and the physical safety of the school are important dimensions of school climate. Students who perceive a positive climate in their school demonstrate higher levels of social competence and report fewer personal problems. Positive school climate in middle and high school is associated with academic achievement, decreased absenteeism, and lower rates of suspension (Thapa et al., 2013). Leadership practices and organizational structures also influence the climate of a school, thereby indirectly influencing student outcomes. In schools characterized by supportive relationships, common goals and norms, and a sense of collaboration, students perform better academically and have fewer behavior problems (Bryk & Schneider, 2002; Payne et al., 2003). Finally, it is important to recognize that students’ social and emotional development is influenced by the interactions they have outside of school with family and community members. Learning experiences in school can be facilitated or undermined by the nature of the partnerships that schools develop with these important individuals.



Approaches to Promoting SEL

Approaches to Promoting SELDownload PDF

As shown in Figure 1 of the Outcomes Associated with SEL Programming section, schools can help students develop personal and social competence through several types of approaches. These include (1) infusing SEL in teaching practices to create a learning environment supportive of SEL, (2) infusing SEL instruction into an academic curriculum, (3) creating policies and organizational structures that support students’ social and emotional development, and (4) directly teaching SEL skills in free-standing lessons. These approaches are not mutually exclusive. At the middle and high school level SEL programming can happen in the context of regular curriculum and instruction activities, but it can also take place through activities such as health promotion and character education, or through prevention efforts such as those that target violence, substance use, or dropout.

Research on SEL implementation suggests that the most effective strategies include four elements represented by the acronym SAFE: (1) Sequenced—connected and coordinated activities to foster skills development; (2) Active—active forms of learning to help students master new skills; (3) Focused—containing a component that emphasizes developing personal and social skills; and (4) Explicit—targeting specific social and emotional skills (Durlak et al., 2010, 2011).

Interactions with adults and peers are essential for promoting students’ personal and social competence and can take place in multiple settings throughout the school. Research suggests that school-based strategies designed to promote student SEL yield the most successful outcomes when they are embedded into the day-to-day curriculum and connected with other school activities (Greenberg et al., 2003). This is especially important given the fact that in middle and high school students make multiple transitions between classrooms each day. As students acquire knowledge or learn new skills, it is important that they have opportunities to practice and apply the skills in everyday situations and be recognized for using them across a variety of settings. The importance of practice for skill mastery and the influence of adults and peers outside the school on students’ development is a reason to coordinate classroom and school efforts with those in family and community settings. Regardless of the approach, many SEL programs incorporate schoolwide practices that are designed to promote more positive and supportive relationships among teachers, students, and families and/or practices that facilitate integration and support to extend the impact of social and emotional learning programs beyond the classroom.

Adopting an evidence-based SEL program is not enough to ensure positive outcomes. The success of a program depends on high-quality implementation. Poor program implementation can undermine a program’s success and its impact on student outcomes. Initial training is an important strategy associated with high levels of implementation, but research has also demonstrated that ongoing support beyond an initial training (e.g., coaching, follow-up training) enhances both the quality of teaching and student performance. Schoolwide factors also influence the implementation of evidence-based programs. When schools support high-quality program implementation, the impact of evidence-based programs is strengthened (Durlak et al., 2011). Research suggests that administrators support the effective implementation of SEL programs by setting high expectations and allocating resources for programming. School leaders who model the use of SEL language and practices and endorse the use of SEL practices throughout the school building create a climate in the building that supports SEL.



Outcomes of SEL Programming

Outcomes of SEL ProgrammingDownload PDF

Depending on the nature of the approach, SEL programs can lead to three types of program outcomes: (1) promoting knowledge or skills related to the five competency clusters, (2) creating positive learning environments that are safe, caring, engaging, and participatory, and (3) improving student attitudes and beliefs about self, others, and school. Changes in these individual and contextual factors promote improvements in positive social behaviors and peer relationships, reductions in conduct problems, reductions in emotional distress, and improvements in academic performance (Durlak et al., 2011; Durlak et al., 2015; Flemming et al., 2005; Greenberg et al., 2003; Zins et al., 2004). Research supports this conceptual model and that SEL can have a positive impact on school climate and promote a host of academic, social, and emotional benefits for students. Durlak, Weissberg et al.’s meta-analysis of 213 rigorous studies of SEL in schools demonstrated that students receiving quality SEL instruction had:

  • Better academic performance: achievement scores an average of 11 percentile points higher than students who did not receive SEL instruction.
  • Improved attitudes and behaviors: greater motivation to learn, deeper commitment to school, increased time devoted to schoolwork, and better classroom behavior.
  • Fewer negative behaviors: decreased disruptive class behavior, noncompliance, aggression, delinquent acts, and disciplinary referrals.
  • Reduced emotional distress: fewer reports of student depression, anxiety, stress, and social withdrawal.

Programs that include free-standing SEL lessons are often based on the assumption that improvements in knowledge and skills promote positive behavior changes. Programs that focus primarily on changing some aspect of the classroom or school learning environment to improve student outcomes may be more likely to cultivate attitudes rather than skills. Unfortunately, few studies measure all of these factors, and very few have gathered empirical evidence to determine how their impacts were achieved. For this reason, Figure 1 (below) includes arrows linking all of the approaches to all three of the program targets and the student outcomes.

Figure 1. SEL Programming and Outcomes.

Program Outcomes


History of Program Reviews

History of CASEL Program ReviewsDownload PDF

Safe & Sound

CASEL shared its first review of SEL programs in 2003 with the publication of Safe and Sound: An Educational Leader’s Guide to Evidence-Based Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Programs (CASEL, 2003). In addition to demonstrating how SEL programs contribute to the mission of our nation’s schools, the publication summarized the status of outcome research on SEL programs and provided educators with practical information on the features of different programs that could help them select a program both relevant and suited to their particular needs. Safe and Sound presented information on 80 different programs and was the most comprehensive research and practical survey of SEL programs available at the time.

2013 CASEL Guide

CASEL updated its review of evidence-based programs when it released the 2013 CASEL Guide: Effective Social and Emotional Learning Programs—Preschool and Elementary School Edition. The 2013 Guide was more developmentally oriented than Safe and Sound in focusing on the preschool and elementary grades. It also reflected several advances in the field of SEL. These included a growing evidence base of effective interventions in early childhood; the development of new approaches to fostering academic, social, and emotional learning; and increased interest in going beyond classroom-based implementation of a single SEL program to coordinated, systemic schoolwide and districtwide SEL programming. This 2015 Guide is a companion to the 2013 Guide. It provides information similar to the 2013 Guide but for programs that target students in middle and high school.

In Safe and Sound CASEL identified “SELect” programs that met rigorous evaluation and design criteria including comprehensive coverage of the five CASEL SEL competency clusters and positive impacts on behavioral student outcomes. The 2013 CASEL Guide continued this practice and featured SELect programs only. The 2015 Guide: Effective Social and Emotional Learning Programs—Middle and High School Edition creates three categories of programs: SELect, Complementary, and Promising.



Inclusion Criteria

Inclusion CriteriaDownload PDF

To be included in the 2015 Guide programs have to be universal, that is for use with all students, and be conducted in regular secondary education settings. They must be designed for students in middle or high school (between grades 6 and 12) and be delivered during the school day. Programs are also required to have written documentation of their approach to promoting students’ social and emotional development and provide a sufficient level of detail in order to ensure the consistency and quality of program delivery.

SELect Programs

To be designated as SELect, programs have to meet criteria with respect to their (a) overall design, (b) implementation, and (c) research evaluations of program impact described below. These criteria were derived from empirical research and CASEL’s model of systemic SEL.

  • A program’s design must: (a) intentionally and comprehensively promote students’ development across the five social and emotional competency clusters, (b) engage students in their own social and emotional development by promoting awareness (e.g., through discussion or reflection) and providing opportunities for practice, and (c) offer programming over multiple years.
  • In terms of implementation, a program must offer training and ongoing support to interested schools or districts.
  • In terms of evaluation impact, we require at least one carefully conducted evaluation that (a) includes a comparison group, (b) is based on pre- and post-test measurement, and (c) demonstrates a positive impact on a student behavioral outcome reflected by statistically significant main effects (p < .05) between the treatment and comparison groups when controlling for outcome pretest. Analytic methods must be described with sufficient clarity and not include any serious threats to validity. If a qualifying evaluation includes a program effect that favors the comparison group then the program is ineligible to be SELect.

SELect programs are summarized in the tables included in this Guide. For each one we have included a program description page.

Complementary Programs

Not all SEL programs offer comprehensive programming, but many are aligned with CASEL’s conceptual model of SEL. These evidence-based programs include effective strategies and can play an important role in a school’s SEL efforts, but they may not be comprehensive enough to serve as the primary SEL program. We classified these programs as complementary, and we recommend that they be used in combination with other evidence-based programs to create a comprehensive approach.

Complementary programs meet our research criteria, but by definition they do not meet all of the design criteria. A program might be designated complementary for two main reasons:

  1. If the program does not provide broad coverage of all five competency clusters (e.g., focusing primarily on one cluster or focusing on the personal or social domain only).
  2. If the program is designed to be implemented in a single school year and does not provide sequenced programming across multiple years.

Programs that teach social and emotional skills in a narrow way (i.e., in the context of one topic such as dating violence or smoking prevention, or without adequate generalization) were excluded.

Promising Programs

Some programs are well-designed and provide comprehensive SEL programming but for various reasons lack adequate research evidence of their effectiveness.

By definition, promising programs meet our design criteria but do not meet the full research criteria. A program might be classified as promising:

  1. If a qualifying evaluation shows a positive impact favoring the intervention group on an nonbehavioral outcome such as attitudes (e.g., feelings of connectedness to school) or a specific social or emotional skill (e.g., emotion recognition or decision-making).
  2. If a qualifying evaluation includes a significant outcome that favors the comparison group on an outcome that is substantively important to the program’s theory but the program has an additional qualifying evaluation with an independent sample that demonstrates positive effects.

If a qualifying evaluation includes a significant outcome that favors the comparison group on an outcome that is substantively important to the program’s theory but the program does not have an additional evaluation, then the program is excluded.

Promising programs are eligible to become SELect once an additional study with an independent sample finds effects favoring the intervention group on the same outcome that was previously found to favor the comparison group.

Complementary and Promising programs do not appear in the rating tables but do have program description pages.



The Review Process

The Review ProcessDownload PDF

Search and Call for Programs. In preparation for developing the 2015 Guide, CASEL cast a broad net and issued a national call for nominations of programs at the middle and high school level. A diverse set of programs from the fields of education, public health, psychology, and prevention science were nominated. At the same time, CASEL conducted a systematic search of national databases and published reviews to identify school-based programs and approaches for middle and high school populations (i.e., grades 6-12). This process identified 380 programs.

Evaluation Review. We developed a detailed evaluation coding system to review up to two reports the program developer identified as their program’s “strongest” evaluation(s) based on criteria we defined. At this stage of the review process 130 programs submitted materials and 90 met our screening criteria. Evaluations were independently reviewed by a team of highly experienced research psychologists and methodologists who then met to resolve discrepancies and come to consensus regarding ratings of the programs’ evidence of effectiveness.

Design Review. We worked with practitioners, developmental and educational psychologists, and experts in research and practice to develop an understanding of high-quality education in SEL at the secondary level. Based on the theoretical framework we developed, we created a questionnaire for program providers that asked them to classify and describe their intervention components across classroom and other school settings as well as in family and community domains. For programs that met the full evaluation review and that appeared to meet design criteria based on the questionnaire, we then conducted a full review of each program’s design. Program materials including manuals, student materials, and other resources were reviewed independently by two highly experienced reviewers. The two reviewers then met to reconcile any discrepancies in their ratings and to complete a final consensus summary form for each program. At the end of the process the program providers were given an opportunity to review the setting categories that were identified for each program. When they felt there were gaps or omissions, they were asked to provide additional materials documenting their program’s content and practices.

Professional Development and Implementation Supports. The review process also involved an assessment of professional development available to support the implementation of the program. Telephone interviews (typically one hour) that followed a standard protocol were conducted with program representatives.



Ratings & Tables Description

Ratings & Tables DescriptionDownload PDF

Three sets of tables in this Guide present information about the program design features, training and additional implementation supports, and evidence of effectiveness for each SELect program. Additional detail about each program is also available on a separate program description page.

The middle and high school tables are presented separately. Placement on a table was based on whether a program demonstrated positive effects for middle or high school students. Because of this, programs could be listed on both tables. Further, although some programs included in this Guide also provide programming for preschool and elementary students, the current review was limited to the materials used with students at middle and high school.

Each table uses a standard set of symbols to present information and ratings. A check mark (X) indicates whether some elements are present in the program or not. Other elements are rated on a four-point scale in which an empty circle (Minimal) indicates the element is not present. A quarter circle (Quarter) indicates minimal coverage of that particular element. A half circle (Adaquate) indicates adequate coverage. And a full circle (Extensive) indicates that the element can be found extensively in the program. Programs are presented in alphabetical order.



SELect Tables: Middle School
Effective SEL Programs for Middle School
  • Program Design
  • Implementation Support
  • Evidence of Effectiveness

Program Design

The program design tables provide information about five topics: (1) the grade range covered by the program, (2) the grades at which the program has documented an impact, (3) the approach used by the program to promote student SEL (categories are not mutually exclusive), (4) the total number of lessons in the program (only relevant to programs that include free-standing SEL lessons), and (5) the extent to which the program included strategies that promote student SEL in the classroom, school, family, and community settings. Additional details about the design of each program are provided in the program description page.

Program Name Grade Range Covered Grades Evaluated Approaches to Promote SEL Number of SEL Lessons Settings
Teaching PracticesIn Academic CurriculumOrganizationalFree Standing SEL LessonsClassroomSchoolFamilyCommunity
EL Education 6th - 12th 6th - 8th X X
Language Arts
X N/A Extensive Extensive Extensive Extensive
Facing History and Ourselves 6th - 12th 7th - 10th X X
Social Studies
N/A Extensive Extensive Quarter Adaquate
Lions Quest, Skills for Adolescence 6th - 8th 6th, 7th X 108 Adaquate Quarter Extensive Extensive
Responding In Peaceful and Positive Ways 6th - 8th 6th, 7th X 48 Adaquate Minimal Minimal Minimal
Second Step: Student Success Through Prevention for Middle School 6th - 8th 6th X 40 Adaquate Quarter Quarter Minimal
Student Success Skills 6th - 12th 7th, 9th, 10th X X 8 Extensive Quarter Adaquate Minimal
Wyman's Teen Outreach Program (TOP) 7th - 12th 7th, 9th - 12th X 120 Extensive Minimal Minimal Extensive

Implementation Support

The implementation support table presents information about four topics: (1) the program training model, (2) the format of the training, (3) the technical assistance and additional supports offered by the program, and (4) whether the program provides a “train the trainer” option.

Program NameRecommended Training ModelFormatTechnical Assistance & Impl. SupportsTrain the Trainer
Onsite In-personOnsite VirtualOff-SiteAdmin. SupportCoachingPLCFidelity Measures
EL Education School-wide focus: 2-3 summer weeks plus total of 30-40 days onsite and same offsite. X X X X X X
Facing History and Ourselves 2-5 days X X X X X X
Lions Quest, Skills for Adolescence 2 days X X X X X X
Responding In Peaceful and Positive Ways 3 days X X X X
Second Step: Student Success Through Prevention for Middle School 4 modules -- 30-60 min /each. X X X X
Student Success Skills 1 day X X X X X
Wyman's Teen Outreach Program (TOP) 5 days X X X X X X

Evidence of Effectiveness

The evidence of effectiveness tables describe and compare details (including outcomes) of evaluations that met our inclusion criteria for each of the programs and that were coded for this review. Within these tables review findings are presented at two levels: (1) the Program Level, i.e., a summary of the evaluation findings from all studies that met our inclusion criteria, and (2) the Evaluation Level, i.e., characteristics of each individual evaluation.

The program level of the evidence of effectiveness table presents a summary of findings from each program’s qualifying evaluations. Review findings at the program level are presented in three sections: (1) program and evaluation information, (2) study design, and (3) outcomes demonstrating effects. The evaluation level of the evidence of effectiveness tables presents a snapshot of each qualifying evaluation that supported the effectiveness of a program. Review findings at this level are organized into nine columns: (1) citation, (2) study design, (3) grades evaluated, (4) geographic location, (5) race/ethnicity, (6) study sample size, (7) % reduced lunch, (8) post-test effects, (9) follow-up effects.

Program NameStudy DemographicsStudy DesignOutcomes Demonstrating Effects
Grades Evaluated Race/ Ethnicity RCT QE Improved Academic Performance Improved Positive Social Behavior Reduced Problem Behaviors Reduced Emotional Distress Improved SEL Skills & Attitudes Improved Teaching Practices
EL Education
[+] Show
6th - 8th Black, Hispanic X(1) X
Facing History and Ourselves
[+] Show
7th-10th Black, Hispanic, Multiracial X(1) X X X
Lions Quest, Skills for Adolescence
[+] Show
6th, 7th Black, Hispanic, White X(1) X(1) X X
Responding In Peaceful and Positive Ways
[+] Show
6th, 7th Black, Hispanic, White X(1) X(2) X X X
Second Step: Student Success Through Prevention for Middle School
[+] Show
6th Black, Hispanic, Multiracial, White X(1) X
Student Success Skills
[+] Show
7th, 9th, 10th Hispanic, White X(1) X X
Wyman's Teen Outreach Program
[+] Show
7th Black X(1) X X

SELect Tables: High School
Effective SEL Programs for High School
  • Program Design
  • Implementation Support
  • Evidence of Effectiveness

Program Design

The program design tables provide information about five topics: (1) the grade range covered by the program, (2) the grades at which the program has documented an impact, (3) the approach used by the program to promote student SEL (categories are not mutually exclusive), (4) the total number of lessons in the program (only relevant to programs that include free-standing SEL lessons), and (5) the extent to which the program included strategies that promote student SEL in the classroom, school, family, and community settings. Additional details about the design of each program are provided in the program description page.

Program Name Grade Range Covered Grades Evaluated Approaches to Promote SEL Number of SEL Lessons Settings
Teaching PracticesIn Academic CurriculumOrganizationalFree Standing SEL LessonsClassroomSchoolFamilyCommunity
Consistency Management & Cooperative Discipline® 6th - 12th 9th X N/A Extensive Quarter Adaquate Minimal
Facing History and Ourselves 6th - 12th 7th - 10th X X
Social Studies
N/A Extensive Extensive Quarter Adaquate
Project Based Learning by Buck Institute for Education 6th - 12th 12th X N/A Adaquate Adaquate Adaquate Extensive
Reading Apprenticeship 6th - 12th 9th, 11th X X
Reading, History, Science
N/A Extensive Quarter Minimal Minimal
Student Success Skills 6th - 12th 7th, 9th, 10th X X 8 Extensive Quarter Adaquate Minimal
Wyman's Teen Outreach Program (TOP) 7th - 12th 7th, 9th - 12th X 120 Extensive Minimal Minimal Extensive

Implementation Support

The implementation support table presents information about four topics: (1) the program training model, (2) the format of the training, (3) the technical assistance and additional supports offered by the program, and (4) whether the program provides a “train the trainer” option.

Program NameRecommended Training ModelFormatTechnical Assistance & Impl. SupportsTrain the Trainer
Onsite In-personOnsite VirtualOff-SiteAdmin. SupportCoachingPLCFidelity Measures
Consistency Management & Cooperative Discipline® 1 summer day plus six 90-min workshops over academic year. X X X X X X
Facing History and Ourselves 2-5 days X X X X X X
Project Based Learning by Buck Institute for Education Core package: 3 days plus 2 f/u coaching days. X X X X X X X X
Reading Apprenticeship 7-10 days over 12-14 months. X X X X X X
Student Success Skills 1 day X X X X X
Wyman's Teen Outreach Program (TOP) 5 days X X X X X X

Evidence of Effectiveness

The Evidence of Effectiveness tables describe and compare details (including outcomes) of evaluations that met our inclusion criteria for each of the programs. Within these tables, review findings are presented at two levels: (1) the Program Level that summarizes characteristics of all of the evaluations that met our inclusion criteria, and (2) the Evaluation Level (click "Show" to reveal) that presents characteristics of each of the evaluations that were coded for this review. The program level of the Evidence of Effectiveness Table presents a summary of findings from each program’s qualifying evaluations. Review findings at the program level are presented in three sections: (1) Program & Evaluation Information, (2) Study Design, and (3) Outcomes Demonstrating Effects.

Program NameStudy DemographicsStudy DesignOutcomes Demonstrating Effects
Grades Evaluated Race/ Ethnicity RCT QE Improved Academic Performance Improved Positive Social Behavior Reduced Problem Behaviors Reduced Emotional Distress Improved SEL Skills & Attitudes Improved Teaching Practices
Consistency Management & Cooperative Discipline®
[+] Show
9th Black, Hispanic X(1) X
Facing History and Ourselves
[+] Show
7th-10th Black, Hispanic, Multiracial X(1) X X X
Project Based Learning by Buck Institute for Education
[+] Show
12th Hispanic, White X(1) X
Reading Apprenticeship
[+] Show
9th, 11th Black, Hispanic, White X(1) X(1) X X
Student Success Skills
[+] Show
7th, 9th, 10th Hispanic, White X(1) X
Wyman's Teen Outreach Program
[+] Show
9th - 12th Black, White X(1) X(1) X X


Program Descriptions

Program Descriptions

Below are the programs that met criteria for one of the three CASEL review designations: SELect Program, Complementary Program, or Promising Program. The programs are organized first by designation and then alphabetically within designation category. Click on any program name to view the full description of that program. An index of all program descriptions can also be found on our Program Description page.


CASEL Designation: Complementary Program

Program Design

Building Assets, Reducing Risks (BARR) is an organizational approach to promoting students' social and emotional learning. BARR is designed to be implemented in grades 6 through 10. The program organizes each grade level into teams. Each team is led by three teachers from core academic subjects (i.e., math, English, sciences, or social sciences) who are responsible for 80-120 students. Teachers on each team continually monitor the academic achievement and behavioral adjustment of the students assigned to them. The members of each team meet as a group to reflect on these ratings and to identify students at-risk. Teams also meet with school support staff on a weekly basis to develop plans for those at-risk students. This process requires daily teacher time and time in the schedule for team meetings. BARR also provides a set of activities for relationship building between teachers and students called "I-Time." BARR is designated as a Complementary program because there is a limited emphasis on the promotion of students' personal competence.

Schools implementing BARR hold an orientation for parents on the topic of the developmental needs of adolescents. Parents are also invited to serve on a parent advisory council.

Implementation Support

According to the program's recommended implementation model, BARR's professional development takes place over three years. During that time BARR offers a total of six days of onsite training (two days per year) with additional monthly phone calls for technical assistance with each school's assigned BARR educator/trainer as well as two additional onsite technical assistance and coaching visits each year. In the first year's training, which in most schools takes place early in the fall of the ninth-grade year, an administrator, a school counselor, and the core subject teachers for ninth grade attend an initial two-day training. These are always onsite trainings with two trainers, a current BARR educator assigned to work with the school across its full implementation period and a professional trainer from the program's publisher, Hazelden. The content of this initial training is the overall BARR approach. In the following two years BARR provides four days of onsite training, usually two days per year. Schools may choose based on their needs among such topics as trauma-informed classrooms, substance use, equity, and effective team meetings, to name a few of the offerings.

BARR provides significant ongoing support following the initial training. The assigned BARR educator calls once a month to check on implementation progress and offer technical assistance on barriers to implementation and other issues as needed. The "BARR coordinator" for the school facilitates the team meetings and acts as the primary liaison with the BARR educator and the school's administration. For onsite technical assistance in the first year BARR recommends two day-long visits from the school's assigned BARR educator, with the first one spaced 6-8 weeks after the initial training and the second typically taking place toward the end of the year. During these visits, the BARR educator observes core aspects of the program's implementation, interacts with administrators and teachers, reviews structural components, and assesses program fidelity. This is followed by a detailed coaching report identifying areas in need of improvement or more attention and debriefs with the school's BARR coordinator and a school administrator. In the subsequent two years BARR offers one day-long onsite visit of a similar nature. A Train the Trainer model is available in which the BARR coordinator can be trained as a trainer to provide ongoing support for the program.

Evidence of Effectiveness

Results of a 2013 randomized control trial evaluation supported the effectiveness of Building Assets-Reducing Risk. This evaluation was conducted on a sample of 548 adolescents in grade 9 (Hispanic = 37%, White = 52%, Other = 11%). It found that students who participated in the program reported more academic credits earned, higher standardized test scores in math, and higher standardized test scores in reading (nine months after baseline), compared to students from the control group and controlling for baseline differences in outcome.

References

Evans, J. & Sharma, A. (2013). BARR Program Performance Evaluation Report.

CASEL Designation: Promising Program

Program Design

CHARACTERplus Way uses an organizational approach to promote students' social and emotional learning. The program works at the district level with a leadership team established at the beginning of a three-year implementation process. The leadership team includes the superintendent, two principals, two teachers, a counselor or social worker, and two parents or community members.

In the first year the leadership team meets regularly to develop a character education policy, to prioritize desirable character traits, to organize data-based planning and evaluation, and to plan staff professional development. They also develop strategies and guidelines for building community involvement. In the second year the program is introduced to schools through trainings with staff conducted by the leadership team. In the third year the leadership team introduces the staff to four classroom and schoolwide strategies based on the Caring School Community program (used with permission).

At the classroom level CHARACTERplus Way focuses on helping teachers to create classroom environments in which students feel safe and where their opinions and concerns are taken seriously. The program makes instructional activities highly interactive and also emphasizes cooperative learning strategies. Students participate in meaningful conversations in order to develop positive class norms, work with others, engage in meaningful relationships, and feel connected to school. Teachers are also responsible for implementing the character development activities developed by the leadership team, with input from the whole school community, across the curriculum.

At the classroom and school level the program promotes a positive climate through activities such as pledges, mottoes, and codes of honor. Additional schoolwide strategies include providing students with opportunities to participate in school and district committees and to serve in leadership roles as peer role models, mentors, and advisors for classmates. CHARACTERplus Way resources include guidelines for organizing meetings with parents regarding their engagement in their child's school life and more generally about parenting practices. Also, an experiential learning component strengthens connections between classroom learning and the real world and encourages involvement of a broad range of community stakeholders.

Implementation Support

CHARACTERplus Way employs a train-the-trainer model. Once the leadership team is identified, a required schoolwide or districtwide climate assessment survey is used to identify strengths, weaknesses, and areas for growth or improvement. The survey is repeated annually, and data are used to identify goals and drive program activities for the subsequent year. A three-day training for the leadership team includes a review of the survey results, development of an initial action plan based on those results, and training in the content and implementation of the program. Leadership training takes place either at the program's St. Louis headquarters, another central location, or onsite. Following the training, the leadership team goes back to the schools, where teachers, parents, and students vote on the schoolwide and communitywide character traits they want to prioritize. The leadership team then trains the staff in its school buildings.

The first session, a three-hour orientation, is followed by six hours of customized training to integrate CHARACTERplus Way approaches throughout the school or district. The focus is on building student leadership and community engagement and implementing character and other agreed-upon goals across both the school and home settings. The program provides another 23 hours of training and other types of ongoing support through offsite trainings and networking to create professional learning communities. Networking is a strong emphasis of the program, as is coaching of the leadership team both on and offsite. Also, the leadership team attends regional and national trainings as part of the networking process. The program's detailed facilitator guide provides a core set of materials for networking, group training sessions, and the development of professional learning communities.

Evidence of Effectiveness

Results of a 2011 randomized control trial evaluation supported the effectiveness of CHARACTERplus Way. This evaluation was conducted on a sample of students in grades 8 and 11 from 31 Missouri public schools. Participants from schools that received the intervention reported better school climate and culture, had more prosocial behavior, and had higher rates of proficiency in Communication Arts (after four years of implementation), compared to students from control schools that did not receive the intervention, controlling for baseline differences in outcomes.

CHARACTERplus Way is designated as promising because although the overall effects of the program evaluations are positive, there was one study in which outcomes favored the comparison group over the intervention group.

References

The CharacterPlus Way Missouri State-Wide Research. Unpublished research report.

Consistency Management & Cooperative Discipline®

http://cmcd.coe.uh.edu/
CASEL Designation: CASEL SELect SELect

Program Design

Consistency Management & Cooperative Discipline® Setting Ratings
= Extensive = Adequate Quarter = Minimal Minimal = Not Present
Setting: Classroom
Setting: School Quarter
Setting: Family
Setting: Community Minimal

Consistency Management & Cooperative Discipline® (CMCD®) is a teacher training program designed to enhance students' social, emotional, and academic learning through the use of teaching practices. The program provides a series of seven brief professional development workshops that focus on teacher-student interactions, classroom environment, and classroom management. The workshops are organized around the following topics: Creating a positive learning environment (and preventing classroom problems), Creating a caring community, Taking a stand against bullying (face-to-face and cyber-bullying), Managing cooperative groups, Energizing curricula with active learning and higher order questions, Effective use of time and learning from each other, Managing disruptive behaviors/building positive relationships, Make and Take (to create resources to use in the program). The teacher training workshops provide a broad array of strategies and methods with varying levels of implementation direction. An important emphasis of CMCD® is citizenship in the classroom. Students become classroom "managers" with a large number of roles. In addition, there are guidelines for how to develop shared classroom rules. The program encourages teachers to provide positive reinforcement to encourage student conduct and provides mostly intrinsic with some extrinsic strategies. CMCD® includes a workshop for school leaders that supports schoolwide implementation of the program by providing guidance in supporting teachers and using data for data-based decision-making. In terms of family involvement, the program suggests strategies for building relationships and communicating with parents, leading effective parent-teacher meetings, and conducting a parent workshop.

Implementation Support

The developers of CMCD® suggest a two-year implementation and professional development process to ensure high-quality implementation. The program uses a sequence of training that starts with a one-day training for teachers and principals, preferably in the summer. This is followed by six 90-minute workshops over the course of the school year. The six sessions provide teachers with information that is relevant using a "just in time" approach such that CMCD® trainings align with issues students are likely to be dealing with at a particular time in the semester. All training is provided onsite and in person. Principals are required to attend the first day-long training. Additional training for administrators is available and recommended but not required.

CMCD® also includes two years of individual or group coaching. In the second year the focus includes identifying the "best implementing" teachers, who are then trained to become "Teacher Implementation Pioneers" (TIP teachers) in a train-the-trainer model that helps address sustainability of CMCD® over time within that school or district. CMCD® also provides fidelity monitoring, specifically an assessment called the Walkabout TM that provides feedback to teachers in a nonevaluative framework and also helps to identify challenges that can be addressed by coaching.

Evidence of Effectiveness

Results of a 2011 quasi-experimental evaluation supported the program's effectiveness. This evaluation was conducted with 344 students who had repeated grade (29.5% Black; 69% Hispanic). Students participating in the program achieved higher standardized test scores for reading and math when compared to students in the control group. Group differences were statistically significant when assessed 12 months after the baseline while controlling for outcome pretest scores.

References

Freiberg, J. H., Husinec, C. A., Rubino, C., Johnson, J., Borders, K., Williams, L., & Alexander, R. (2011). Unpublished manuscript presented at the Annual International Meeting of the American Educational Research Association.

EL Education

http://elschools.org/
CASEL Designation: CASEL SELect SELect

Program Design

EL Education Setting Ratings
= Extensive = Adequate Quarter = Minimal Minimal = Not Present
Setting: Classroom
Setting: School
Setting: Family
Setting: Community

EL Education is an organizational approach to social and emotional learning that also promotes students' development through teaching practices and infusion in academic curricula. The program offers an open-source English Language Arts curriculum that focuses on building cultural sensitivity and appreciation for diversity. The whole-school transformation needed to become an EL Education school requires a multiyear commitment from leaders and staff. The first step in this process is for staff to identify a set of character traits and behaviors for themselves and students. Students are expected to grow as individuals, build character, and make genuine contributions to the world. The program emphasizes both relational character (e.g., kindness, honesty, integrity) and performance character (e.g., organization, perseverance, craftsmanship) in students and staff. Each school articulates its performance character traits by defining "habits of scholarship." In EL Education schools, teachers create a classroom climate where students are excited about the opportunity and challenge of work, feel accountable to the group for deadlines, and take pride in doing a better job than they thought they could. Teachers are asked to identify specific developmentally appropriate behaviors associated with the habits as learning targets that are taught and that students are held accountable for. The habits of scholarship also guide the school's approach to learning and the culture created within the building. Teachers plan opportunities to develop character through collaborative work that takes place in learning "expeditions" and community-building activities. Students participate in service-learning to foster relational character and to make meaningful contributions to the community. Service-learning is also viewed as an integral part of academic work and an opportunity to gain academic skills.

A major goal of EL Education is that every student will be known and cared for. Consistent practices promote respect for all and aim at preventing bullying and discrimination. The program uses an advisory structure referred to as "crew meetings," i.e., small groups, to build relationships between staff and students and to create a positive school culture. Meetings of these groups are expected to occur regularly and to involve significant amounts of time. The meetings help students and teachers get to know each other well. They also provide an opportunity to promote student's social and emotional skill development. Schools are encouraged to develop lessons to directly teach skills such as conflict resolution, problem-solving, and communication that align with their priorities and the needs of their students. EL Education does not provide standardized lessons but offers guidelines and a structure for developing lessons.

The program works to incorporate families in the life of the school by using strategies to make them feel welcome and engage them actively in the school. These include regular communication with families about students' progress and accomplishments, an annual calendar of events that involve families, using data on family participation, and making action plans to maximize family involvement. EL Education also encourages schools to invite community members to participate in the life of the classroom. The program engages community stakeholders on advisory boards and in community meetings. Students serve as ambassadors when community members visit the school and when the students represent the school in the community.

The service-learning model of EL Education teaches students that the skills they learn in school can be put to use to build a better community. Teachers and students research service opportunities to ensure that service-learning projects provide a real benefit to the community, and service-learning is a prime vehicle to teach and take action centered on social justice. Teachers also support student appreciation and stewardship of the natural world through experiences, projects, and products that emerge from authentic service-learning, not just discussion.

Implementation Support

EL Education takes four to five years to implement, using a whole-school transformation approach. Given the degree of change and commitment required, only a small number of schools expressing initial interest are selected by the developers. The program's professional development is conducted primarily through a coach assigned to the school and takes place over multiple years in order to support the levels of change occurring across all of the school's systems--structurally, socially, and pedagogically. Interested schools begin EL Education with a one-year contract. A pre-planning year is required in order for schools to explore whether they are ready to make the required commitment to the model. During the pre-planning year participants visit other EL Education schools and attend trainings in order to learn about the requirements of this demanding approach. Once the mutual decision (between the program and the school) has been made to become an EL Education school, school staff spend two to three weeks with an EL Education coach during the summer on site at the school.

As part of the EL Education process, the school rebuilds social and professional structures, and develops a "code of character." This is then shared with others in the school community, including parents and students, who provide input so there is widespread stakeholder agreement on the final statement. The EL Education program is not prescriptive. Rather, the school drives the process by developing a unique and individualized work plan that changes each year based on its unique strengths, weaknesses, needs, and goals.

The EL Education coach serves as a model for how the program's approach is implemented over time and provides support through individual meetings with staff and professional learning communities. The coaching process is cyclical so that participants identify topics to discuss, work with the coach to generate solutions to challenges, report on how these practices worked, and refine solutions.

The program offers a variety of separate trainings for teachers and administrators (onsite and off) throughout the year to address a variety of needs. It encourages the development of leadership cohorts to facilitate change by networking with other schools implementing EL Education. The program also offers two-day site seminars to their model schools. These visits include opportunities to network, observe in-class implementation, and interview students. EL Education asks schools to create a contract to send teachers to these and other off-site trainings for a total of 30-40 days (for all teachers, leaders, and staff) each year. The program also provides tools for monitoring fidelity.

Evidence of Effectiveness

Results of a 2013 quasi-experimental evaluation supported the effectiveness of EL Education. This evaluation was conducted on a sample of 3,016 adolescents in grades 6-8 (Black = 21.2%; Hispanic = 52.1%; 71% qualified for free or reduced lunch). It found that students who participated in the program achieved higher standardized test scores in reading one year after baseline, two years after baseline, and three years after baseline compared to students in the comparison group. Program students also achieved higher standardized test scores in math two years after baseline and three years after baseline compared to students in the comparison group. These differences were statistically significant while controlling for baseline differences in outcome along with other relevant covariates.

References

Nichols-Barrer & Haimson (2013). Impacts of five Expeditionary Learning middle schools on academic achievement. Unpublished evaluation Report.

Facing History and Ourselves

https://www.facinghistory.org/
CASEL Designation: CASEL SELect SELect

Program Design

Facing History and Ourselves Setting Ratings
= Extensive = Adequate Quarter = Minimal Minimal = Not Present
Setting: Classroom
Setting: School
Setting: Family Quarter
Setting: Community

Facing History and Ourselves is an educational program that uses teaching practices to promote students' social and emotional learning. These practices are infused in an academic curriculum that can be used in History, Social Studies, or English language arts. The program focuses on historical periods of intergroup conflict that involved racism and prejudice. Through its academic content, the program promotes deep awareness and respect of diversity in students and teachers. The pedagogical approach is designed to help teachers create a supportive and democratic classroom environment that promotes positive youth development in the form of social and ethical reflection and civic learning. The curriculum highlights examples of individual and collective efforts to preserve and strengthen civil society during times of unrest. The program's instructional methods emphasize reflection, interaction, cooperation, deliberation, and discussion of complex and meaningful social and civic issues. They are designed to produce in-depth understanding of historical processes and events, personal connections to the subject matter, and ways of linking the past to current social and civic issues. Social and emotional learning and academic learning are promoted and infused across all Facing History lessons. Classroom strategies teach students to be listeners as well as contributors. Students participate in creating positive norms for class discussions, as well as rules for respectful conversations. For example, students are encouraged to use "I" rather than "you" statements. The program also provides students with extensive practice in discussions and conversations, as well as in perspective-taking. These activities often begin with journaling so that students have an opportunity to clarify their own views. Facing History and Ourselves is working with individual classroom teachers. Additionally, the organization that is providing the program has developed an "innovative school" network that emphasizes a whole-school model. Although individual teachers can implement the program in their own classrooms, the whole-school model includes school-wide strategies to create a culture and shared vocabulary of tolerance and respect, to instill a sense of agency in students and prevent bullying, and to promote academic integration. Schools in the program's Innovative School Network receive strategies for encouraging family and community involvement; inviting scholars, Holocaust survivors, writers, and artists to make classroom presentations and participate in Community Conversations; and facilitating student-led teach-ins for families. These schools are also developing opportunities for service-learning and models for restorative justice.

Implementation Support

The program recommends beginning with an intensive training model of two-five days (or several weeks online), followed up with two to three days of onsite coaching, as well as virtual support, during the school year. However, professional development for the program can be accomplished through a hybrid of in-person and online training. Administrators are encouraged to attend the training along with the teachers. Schools implementing Facing History school-wide take part in faculty-wide onsite professional development, while Facing History staff provide the administrators in the Innovative Schools Network with focused sessions and a biannual conference for principals and lead teachers from all ISN schools.

The program offers conferences for districts and regions focused on specific topics. It also creates relevant community-based events, e.g., a speaker on racism in the aftermath of the police shooting of a local youth.

Among the many implementation supports provided by Facing History and Ourselves are a website featuring many digital resources, including streaming video and documentaries, microsites focused on core content (with primary sources, lessons and teaching strategies, audio, etc.), and other resources. Once teachers receive the training, they become part of the program's "educator network" and have access through the website to a free lending library of classroom sets of books, DVDs, curriculum units, and other materials they can borrow for their classrooms. Also offered are webinar-based professional learning communities and coaching options, particularly important when the program is implemented schoolwide. The program also includes fidelity guidelines (based on their outcomes research) that assist teachers in implementing successfully in the classroom and coaches to observe teachers to advice on implementation.

The program emphasizes that they will work with any school that is committed to implementing their approach and that funding should not be an obstacle. Facing History pursues grant support for its core work, and can help a district or school leverage funding to support implementation.

Evidence of Effectiveness

Results of two randomized control trial evaluations (2014 & 2015) supported the effectiveness of Facing History and Ourselves. In sum, these evaluations were conducted with 1867 students in grades 7 through 10 (10% Asian, 26% Black, 31% Hispanic, 10% Multi-Racial, and 24% White) and found that participants that received the intervention reported more prosocial behavior, greater ability to take others' perspective (empathy), better classroom climate, greater civic self-efficacy, greater "political tolerance", better academic achievement (historical understanding performance measure) and fewer conduct problems at post-test, compared to students from the control group. Students in the intervention group also reported that their teachers used more practices that promoted an "open" classroom climate and provided opportunities for "civic engagement", compared to students in the control group.

References

Domitrovich, C.E., Syvertsen, A., Cleveland, M., Moore, J.E., Jacobson, L., Harris, A., Glenn, J., & Greenberg, M.T. (2014). The effects of the facing history and ourselves on classroom climate and middle school students’ social cognition and behavior. Unpublished Manuscript.

Barr, D.J., Boulay, B., Selman, R.L., McCormick, R., Lowenstein, E., Gamse, B., Fine, M., and Leonard, M.B. A Randomized Controlled Trial of Professional Development for Interdisciplinary Civic Education: Impacts on Humanities Teachers and Their StudentsTeachers College RecordVolume 117 Number 4, 2015.

keepin' it REAL

http://www.kir.psu.edu/
CASEL Designation: Complementary Program

Program Design

keepin' it REAL is a substance use prevention program that consists of ten free-standing lessons to promote social and emotional learning primarily in grade 7, but may also be taught in grades 6 and 8. Each lesson requires one 45-minute class period. keepin' it REAL uses a decision-making model to encourage students to make good decisions and also emphasizes social awareness and relationship skills. Because the program does not focus on self-management, it is designated complementary.

The primary strategy of keepin' it REAL is to teach students ways of dealing with peer pressure using the acronym REAL: Refuse, Explain, Avoid, and Leave. Students also learn how to recognize risk, value their perceptions and feelings, and make choices that support their values. The program integrates real stories from middle school youth throughout the curriculum through role plays, decision making scenarios, and a series of videos produced by high school youth.

Implementation Support

The recommended model of professional development for the teacher implemented version of keepin' it REAL is a two-day training offered by the program developers and their staff. This is typically an in-person training delivered onsite at the school or district. The training can take one of two forms. The first model is a direct training of up to 25 teachers in a school or district in 1 or 2 days. The second is a Train the Trainer model in which a smaller group of teachers or counselors is identified and trained over a full two days and who can then go on to train new teachers in the school or district to create program sustainability. This two-day TOT training includes a practicum with live observations of the new trainers training others. Administrators are encouraged to attend a two-day training but are not required. Training is not offered online. In addition, while some of the materials are available through the publisher without the training, both the developers and CASEL strongly discourage using the program without training.

Evidence of Effectiveness

Results of a randomized control trial and a quasi-experimental study conducted between 2006 and 2010 supported the effectiveness of keepin' it REAL delivered by teachers. The two evaluations included 4,426 students in grade 7 (93% FRL of those who reported). They found that students participating in the program reported lower levels of substance use and lower rates of increase in substance use 14 months after pretest when compared to students in the comparison group. Results also indicated that students participating in keepin' It REAL reported lower levels of substance use and lower rates of increase in substance use 21 months after baseline.

References

Hecht, M. L., Graham, J. W., & Elek, E. (2006). The drug resistance strategies intervention: Program effects on substance use. Health Communication, 20(3), 267-276.

Marsiglia, F. F., Kulis, S., Yabiku, S. T., Nieri, T. A., & Coleman, E. (2011). When to intervene: Elementary school, middle school or both? Effects of keepin’ it REAL on substance use trajectories of Mexican heritage youth. Prevention Science, 12(1), 48-62.

Lions Quest, Skills for Adolescence

http://www.lions-quest.org/skillsadol.php
CASEL Designation: CASEL SELect SELect

Program Design

Lions Quest, Skills for Adolescence Setting Ratings
= Extensive = Adequate Quarter = Minimal Minimal = Not Present
Setting: Classroom
Setting: School Quarter
Setting: Family
Setting: Community

Lions Quest is a skills promotion program available for students in Kindergarten through twelfth grade. Lions Quest Skills for Adolescence is the middle school version of the program. It uses free-standing lessons to promote students' social and emotional learning. The activities and step-by-step instructions provide coverage for self-awareness, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making. The focus on self-management, though present, is more limited. Skills for Adolescence is designed to establish a caring, participatory, and well-managed learning environment. It includes a diverse set of instructional practices to be used during the lesson, including pair-share, cooperative group work, discussions, peer teaching, problem-solving scenarios, and group reflection. The program includes worksheets that are assembled into student workbooks that need to be purchased each year for participating students. The 108 lessons in Skills for Adolescence are designed to be implemented over the course of three years. The full curriculum may be too long for some schools, but the program includes suggestions for implementation formats that use fewer lessons. The program materials include guidance for ways teachers can integrate the curriculum content into academic subjects and make the program culturally relevant to diverse students. The program can also be used in Tier 2 and 3 settings with the Response to Intervention model.

Skills for Adolescence creates a leadership team for planning, offers a separate workshop for administrators, and provides guidelines and activities for developing positive school climate. A separate book titled Strengthening Family Relationships offers guidelines for involving families. Family involvement is also promoted through shared homework, workshops for parents, instructions for family involvement in program activities, a book for parents (The Surprising Years) and a guide for leading four parent meetings. In addition to a service-learning component, the program offers guidelines for connecting to the community.

Implementation Support

Skills for Adolescenceoffers two days of initial training as their standard professional development model. These workshops are typically provided on site but regional trainings are also available. The regional trainings are offered several times each year and are open to individuals from multiple schools. The initial training can be reduced to one day but CASEL does not endorse this approach given 3-days of training were provided to teachers when the program was evaluated. Administrators are encouraged (but not required) to attend the initial training. The program also offers an optional administrator workshop. The initial training is considered introductory. Follow-up training for teachers beyond the introductory level is typically content- and school-specific and is called a "Re-Quest." Re-Quest workshops are provided upon request. Skills for Adolescence provides technical support online and by phone. In addition, the website offers extensive resources to support implementation, including sample lessons, implementation guidelines, consulting and booster sessions, and possible funding sources. Two types of Training-Of-Trainer models are available to support sustainability. An intensive national trainer workshop qualifies a trainer to offer the professional development to any school. Alternatively, a less-intensive affiliate trainer model enables teachers from a district or region to be trained to offer training within their own system.

Evidence of Effectiveness

Results of a randomized control trial and a quasi-experimental evaluation conducted between 2003 and 2007 supported the effectiveness of Lions Quest Skills for Adolescence. The two evaluations included 6,326 students in grades 5-7 (Black = 18%; Hispanic = 34%; White = 26% of reporting participants). The evaluations found that students who participated in the program reported lower levels of drug use, more positive self-perceptions of their own self-efficacy to refuse offers of drugs and alcohol, and more positive perceptions of their own social skills compared to students participating in the control group at a post-test 12 months after baseline. Two of these effects - lower levels of drug use and more positive self-efficacy for refusing offers of drugs and alcohol - were shown to persist at a follow-up interval one year after the post-test. All of these effects were statistically significant when controlling for outcome pretest as well as other relevant covariates.

References

Eisen, M., Zellman, G. L., & Murray, D. M. (2003). Evaluating the Lions-Quest "Skills for Adolescence" drug education program: Second-year behavior outcomes. Addictive behaviors, 28(5), 883-897.

Malmin, G. (2007). It Is My Choice (Lions Quest) evaluation part 5 of the report: The impact on the behavior of the students. Unpublished evaluation report.

CASEL Designation: Complementary Program

Program Design

Michigan Model for Health™ is a health education curriculum that uses free-standing SEL lessons to promote students' social and emotional learning. The program originated in Michigan but is appropriate for use in any state. The middle-school version, designed for use in grades 7 and 8, is comprised of five units (6-15 lessons on average per unit). Lessons are approximately 45 minutes long. The first unit (15 lessons) focuses on teaching SEL skills and is considered the foundation of the curriculum. It is followed by units on healthy eating and physical activity, smoking prevention, alcohol and other drug use prevention, and STI/HIV education. The goal of the lessons in the SEL unit is to help students understand diversity and create an atmosphere of acceptance and belonging. As part of bullying prevention, students learn to take action to walk away and get help. The curriculum also engages students in advocacy projects.

The program includes a crosswalk with the National Health Education standards, and there is a rubric for student assessment. It offers family resource sheets and other materials that provide information to parents on what is being taught, as well as encouragement to use the skills at home. Family activities include interviews with parents to learn about their views. The program also offers an instructional module devoted to service-learning at the middle-school level.

Michigan Model for Health™ is designated as a Complementary program because most of the SEL programming is contained in a single unit presented in one year.

Implementation Support

Michigan Model for Health™ uses two different models of professional development for schools and districts in and out of the state of Michigan. Within the state there is a network of regional school health coordinators that are certified to deliver training to local schools or districts, often with state funding support. This training is typically one to two days long but can be extended to accommodate teachers' or participants' schedules, if necessary. Michigan Model for Health™ does not typically provide extensive follow up to schools or districts once they are trained but support is available if needed. For schools or districts outside Michigan, onsite training is not available but the program offers annual summer regional Train the Trainer workshops. The format of these is a hybrid of two days of online training followed by three days of in-person training at the regional location. Following participation in a workshop, trainers are prepared to return to their home school or district and train their own teachers. The time period of that training varies and is largely up to the individual school or district. The training model for schools outside of Michigan has not been evaluated.

The format for how the Michigan Model for Health™ is implemented in schools varies. Typically the program recommends starting with the SEL module and then doing additional modules (many of which are topic-specific) with the recommendation that the five core modules always be covered.

Evidence of Effectiveness

Results of a 1996 quasi-experimental evaluation supported the program's effectiveness. This evaluation was conducted with a sample of 442 adolescents in grades 6 and 7. It found that compared to students in the comparison group students who participated in the program reported lower frequencies of using drugs and alcohol at post-test. These effects were assessed 21 months after baseline, and group differences were statistically significant while controlling for baseline differences in the outcome measure.

References

Shope, J. T., Copeland, L. A., Marcoux, B. C., & Kamp, M. E. (1996). Effectiveness of a school-based substance abuse prevention program. Journal of Drug Education, 26(4), 323-337.

My Teaching Partner

http://www.mtpsecondary.net/
CASEL Designation: Complementary Program

Program Design

My Teaching Partner is a professional development program delivered exclusively through coaching that is designed to improve teaching practices (i.e., the quality of teachers' interactions with students) as a way to promote student's social and emotional development. An important element of the program is its use of the theoretically and empirically-based CLASS framework that organizes teacher-student interactions into three broad domains: Emotional Support, Classroom Organization, and Instructional Support (citation). Within these three domains are distinct dimensions: reflecting teacher behavior, student behavior and teacher-student interactions. The dimensions that reflect aspects of students' personal and social competence arePositive Climate, Teacher Sensitivity and Regard for Adolescent Perspectives, Instructional Learning Formats, and Analysis and Problem Solving.

Coaching to help increase the frequency of targeted student-teacher interactions is delivered to teachers across a series of cycles. For example, the coaching method encourages teachers to practice responding to student ideas and to use methods such as argumentation and peer dialogue to promote this skill. In each cycle coaches observe teachers' interactions with students using the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (Pianta, Hamre, & Mintz, 2011) and then provide feedback following a standard protocol. The coaching encourages teachers to reflect and set goals for how they intend to adjust their practice to promote student's learning. The cycle is repeated every three to four weeks over the course of an academic year. MTP is designated as a Complementary program because its primary emphasis is on the teachers' role in promoting student social and emotional development. The approach places less emphasis on building student awareness or providing students with strategies to actively engage in their own skill development.

Implementation Support

My Teaching Partner (MTP) recommends a three-year implementation process. To make wider dissemination feasible, the program is transitioning to solely a Training of Trainers (TOT) model, but direct coaching of teachers by MTP is still available. The original coaching by MTP is the training model that was evaluated, and hence the one that CASEL recommends until the TOT model has also been tested. In the TOT model MTP provides an intensive two-day training to designated mentors, beginning with initial training and intensive ongoing coaching of the mentors in the first year. Over the next two years MTP moves into a supportive role, helping the school/district transition into a fully internalized training model in which the mentors implement the training. The MTP coaching is typically provided via Web-based video and phone calls, but the coach also works onsite three to four times during the first year. MTP also meets with administrators at the beginning of the first year to outline the program and maintains contact with them as needed.

Evidence of Effectiveness

Results of two randomized control trials conducted in 2011 supported the effectiveness of My Teaching Partner. Evaluations included 2,056 students in grades 6-12 (Black=23%; White=71%; approximately 36% of participants in the two trials qualified for free or reduced lunch) and found that participants who received the program exhibited more prosocial behavior (according to observation) and had higher academic achievement at post-test (nine months after baseline) compared to students from the control group, controlling for baseline differences in outcome. The results indicated that the program group's improvement in academic achievement was mediated by improved student-teacher interactions.

References

Allen, J. P., Pianta, R. C., Gregory, A., Mikami, A. Y., & Lun, J. (2011). An interaction-based approach to enhancing secondary school instruction and student achievement. Science, 333(6045), 1034-1037.

Mikami, A. Y., Gregory, A., Allen, J. P., Pianta, R. C., & Lun, J. (2011). Effects of a teacher professional development intervention on peer relationships in secondary classrooms. School psychology review, 40(3), 367.

Project Based Learning by Buck Institute for Education

http://bie.org/
CASEL Designation: CASEL SELect SELect

Program Design

Project Based Learning by Buck Institute for Education Setting Ratings
= Extensive = Adequate Quarter = Minimal Minimal = Not Present
Setting: Classroom
Setting: School
Setting: Family
Setting: Community

The Buck Institute for Education (BIE) model of project-based learning uses teaching practices to promote students' social and emotional learning. This instructional approach is designed to help teachers make learning highly engaging and developmentally appropriate for secondary students. It trains teachers how to design projects that engage students in collaborative learning within all single and multi-subject areas. The approach does not provide specific guidelines about working with different cultures but is sensitive to the linguistic needs of students and includes guidelines for teachers for adapting projects for English Language Learners. The BIE approach is powerful but demanding. It requires teachers to master a complex array of methods and strategies.

Project-based learning (PBL) establishes a creative and supportive classroom climate with well-thought-out and explicit structures to organize student work around completing group projects. It emphasizes student autonomy and collaboration, including how to work effectively in groups to manage projects, meet deadlines, present information, think critically, solve problems, and use technology wisely. It provides students with opportunities to practice communication and group process skills such as listening and conflict resolution. The approach also gives students experience in goal setting, problem-solving, and self-management. At the core of the BIE approach is a rigorous instructional method that engages students in a process of inquiry focused on complex, authentic questions and problems. Students have "voice and choice" over their own learning and are encouraged to work independently. The program also relies on feedback, revision, and peer evaluation. As part of the BIE approach, students create high-quality products and performances which they present to a public audience. BIE also provides guidelines for creating academic lessons and rubrics for assessing student competencies and presentations. It includes structures for teachers to develop student projects that align with learning standards and provides methods for developing challenging questions, assessing student work, mapping out projects, and managing the process.

Teachers trained by BIE to use project-based learning in the classroom are encouraged to involve parents by supporting students as they work on projects outside of school, lending expertise they might have, and sometimes by being the audience for presentations. The approach also connects students with community experts and supporters. The program recommends creating a community advisory board and helping students to become ambassadors in the community. In addition to promoting academic learning, the BIE approach is designed to build relationships among students and teachers and with the broader community.

Implementation Support

BIE offers three types of professional development for its model of project-based learning. The basic training package begins with three consecutive days of an introductory "core" workshop conducted on site. Administrators are encouraged but not required to attend. Schools must also contract separately for a minimum of two day-long onsite sustained support (coaching) visits.

The second professional development package is for districts implementing the program systemically in multiple schools. This systemic model includes the three-day core training along with ongoing structured implementation support over a minimum of three years. This model also includes an implementation planning workshop, a leadership development strand, a capacity-building program that prepares district staff to conduct training workshops and provide coaching in part through a Train the Trainer model and a partnership coach assigned to the district. The partnership coach manages all logistics and provides regular onsite and phone coaching in addition to other implementation supports. When districts use the systemic model, multiple teachers participate from individual schools.

The third level of professional development is offered through a BIE-organized annual international conference (PBL World) and regional training institutes (PBL Academies) that offer additional training opportunities. Examples of this are leadership academy and coaching academy workshops, as well as the core three-day training for individual teachers who may want to attend but do not have institutional support.

Evidence of Effectiveness

Results of a 2010 randomized control trial evaluation supported the effectiveness of the BIE model of Project-Based Learning when conducted in the context of an economics curriculum. This evaluation of the professional development and curriculum content was conducted on a sample of 3,752 twelfth-graders (39.5% Hispanic and 40.7% White). It found that students who received the program outscored their control group peers on a test of economic literacy and on a problem-solving assessment task (17 weeks after baseline), compared to students from the control group and controlling for baseline differences in outcome.

References

Finkelstein, N., Hanson, T., Huang, C., Hirschman, B., and Huang, M. (2010). Effects of problem based economics on high school economics instruction. (NCEE 2010-4002). Washington, DC: National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education.

CASEL Designation: Complementary Program

Program Design

Pure Power is a mindful movement curriculum for students in kindergarten through twelfth grade that promotes students' social and emotional learning through free-standing lessons. The middle and high school curriculum consists of five units that build on one another, entitled Power to Shine, Power of Mindfulness, Power of the Brain-Body Connection, Power of a Balanced Life, and Toolkit for a Balanced Life. Students learn strategies for managing stress, responding versus reacting, acting with compassion, and setting goals. Pure Power is designated as complementary because there is a single set of lessons for the middle and secondary level that is not sequenced across these grade levels, and because the lessons primarily emphasize self-awareness and self-management but have limited coverage of other social-emotional competencies.

There are eight to ten lessons in every unit. Each lesson includes guiding reflective questions, guidance for keeping students engaged, a mindful movement practice, and breathing exercises to relax and refocus. Each lesson closes with tips for using skills at home.

Implementation Support

Pure Edge provides tailored support to districts through a flexible professional development model. Ideally, the district commits to naming one person on the administrative team to manage and support implementation. This may be a Health and Wellness Coordinator, Student Services Administrator, or other position depending on district preferences. This manager may field questions from program implementers, connect the program to district priorities, and manage communications, among other tasks. The program itself may be implemented by teachers, counselors, P.E. teachers, and/or outside providers.

Pure Edge offers initial five-day trainings. This training teaches mindful movement postures and basic mindfulness for school-based personnel. When school systems elect to use implementers from outside the school system (e.g., a community partner), sessions on classroom management are also available. After the initial training, Pure Edge offers a variety of supports including site visits. These visits are tailored to meet the needs of schools. During this time trainers may visit classrooms, provide professional development, and meet with implementers. Classroom observation tools are also available to support implementation, and they can be used by trainers and program managers to provide feedback on content delivery and fidelity. Finally, the Pure Edge website includes a resource library with downloadable articles about mindfulness from a neuroscience perspective and additional program materials.

Evidence of Effectiveness

Results from a randomized control trial conducted in 2013 supported the effectiveness of the Pure Power program for high school students. This evaluation included 112 students in one school who were in 9-11th grades (Hispanic = 59%, Black = 22%). The study found that high school students who participated in the program had higher average GPAs compared to students in the control group (outcomes reported one year after baseline while controlling for outcome pretest and student participation).

References

Hagins, M. & Rundle, A. (2016). Yoga improves academic performance in urban high school students compared to physical education: A randomized controlled trial. Mind, Brain, and Education, 10(2), 105â-116.

Reading Apprenticeship

http://readingapprenticeship.org/
CASEL Designation: CASEL SELect SELect

Program Design

Reading Apprenticeship Setting Ratings
= Extensive = Adequate Quarter = Minimal Minimal = Not Present
Setting: Classroom
Setting: School Quarter
Setting: Family Minimal
Setting: Community Minimal

Reading Apprenticeship is an educational program that uses teaching practices to promote students' social and emotional learning. The program trains teachers on how to infuse these practices into academic curricula with a primary emphasis on tackling the reading of complex texts typical of academic subject areas. The program's instructional framework provides guidance across subject areas and grade levels from middle school to college with a focus on the knowledge and practices to engage students in rigorous academic literacy while also building their social and emotional competence. The program was developed in urban classrooms where linguistically, culturally, racially, and economically diverse populations were the norm.

Teacher practices in Reading Apprenticeship are designed to create a positive classroom environment and a "community of readers." Students engage in activities that help them get to know each other and learn how to have academic conversations with one another. The program relies heavily on working collaboratively in pairs and small groups. Students explore life goals and learn skills to help them achieve those goals. They learn to set goals around reading, as well as how to monitor their progress toward achieving those goals. They also learn a variety of methods and practices to enhance their reading and reading comprehension, including ways to think about texts, how to mark a book, metacognition techniques, and "think aloud" strategies. The program emphasizes "authentic" reading that supports a student's individual interests and strengths. Students think about who the audience of a text is and how different audiences might respond to texts. The program also emphasizes diversity and different cultures. Although the program focuses specifically on reading, it establishes routines of writing and talking with classmates about the academic materials they read and sharing how they made sense of them.

Reading Apprenticeship is designed to help students become persistent in the face of challenges, socially active around reading tasks, and strategic—setting goals, self-monitoring understanding, reasoning in valued and discipline-specific ways, and coordinating different comprehension strategies to control the reading process, all of which relate to self-management while remaining specific to reading academic materials that are challenging. Through ongoing "metacognitive conversations" in the community of readers the goal is that students will learn that reading requires problem solving and that efforts to make sense of texts will increase comprehension.

The program is organized according to four dimensions:

  1. Social. Reading Apprenticeship focuses on building community and developing a safe environment. Together students agree on class norms and rules so students can share ideas.
  2. Personal. The program helps students develop identity and self-awareness as readers. This includes personal goals for reading improvement as well as strategies such as metacognition to develop reading fluency, stamina, confidence, motivation, and range .
  3. Cognitive. The program develops readers' mental processes, including problem- solving. Students learn to monitor their own comprehension, break down tasks into manageable steps, and apply problem-solving strategies to the process.
  4. Knowledge-Building. Students expand their knowledge through interaction with texts.

A curricular component called Reading Apprenticeship Academic Literacy (RAAL) includes three separate units for reading in different subject areas, each with structured lessons that teach the Reading Apprenticeship processes and strategies in a particular area: Reading Self and Society (20 lessons in 10 weeks), Reading History (16 lessons in 10 weeks) and Reading Science (14 lessons in 11 weeks).

The curriculum is designed to be taught as a stand-alone course, but it can also be implemented in other ways, such as integrating units into relevant subjects (e.g., integrating Reading Science into the science curriculum). In each unit students learn the reading strategies and methods in the structured lessons and then continue to apply those strategies as they progress.

Reading Apprenticeship could be implemented schoolwide or in multiple subject areas depending on how many teachers participate in the professional development.

Implementation Support

The training model for Reading Apprenticeship is flexible. If teachers cannot participate in training during the summer, the program can provide the initial training at the beginning of the school year aided by ongoing coaching. Reading Apprenticeship recommends a total of 7-10 days of professional development over the course of the first 12-14 months. Typically participating teachers receive 3-4 initial days of professional development in the summer, followed by 3-4 days during the following school year, divided between the fall and spring. Schools that choose the full 10-day training model receive 3 days of training the following summer as well. The program recommends that principals attend the initial training and offers an optional online course for administrators that provides implementation support.

The program provides coaching over the course of the year. Reading Apprenticeship coaches lead the teacher groups and also provide classroom coaching. The ongoing coaching is also designed to build capacity, allowing teachers to become Reading Apprenticeship facilitators/trainers for their school. The program is not considered a full training of trainer model, however, because Reading Apprenticeship facilitators work only within their own schools. Teacher groups (professional learning communities) are encouraged to meet independently as well as with the coach. Each group chooses a teacher leader who convenes the group and helps to keep the group on track using materials provided by the developers. Reading Apprenticeship recommends a multiyear professional development process that takes approximately two years for a teacher to becoming a facilitator capable of providing training.

Ideally several teachers in a school will participate in Reading Apprenticeship, but the program also provides training to teachers from a single subject area.

Evidence of Effectiveness

Results from a randomized control trial and a quasi-experimental evaluation conducted between 2010 and 2011 supported the effectiveness of Reading Apprenticeship. These evaluations included 5,595 students in ninth grade as well as 47 classrooms of eleventh-graders (Black = 23.3%, Hispanic = 31.8%, Other = 17%, White = 22.6%; FRL = 67% for those who reported). Students in ninth grade who participated in the program earned higher grade point averages, achieved higher standardized test scores in English language arts and math, and had lower rates of office referrals when compared to students in the control group. These outcomes were statistically significant and were assessed approximately nine months after baseline and accounted for outcome pretest scores. For eleventh-grade classrooms that participated in the program, higher scores were achieved on standardized test scores for History, and teachers in those classrooms self-reported using teaching practices that promote SEL to a higher degree than teachers in the comparison group. Both of these outcomes were statistically significant, and outcomes related to teaching practices were assessed 12 months after baseline while accounting for outcome pretest scores.

References

Greenleaf, C., Hanson, T., Herman, J., Litman, C., Rosen, R., Schneider, S., & Silver, D. (2011). A study of the efficacy of Reading Apprenticeship Professional Development for High School History and Science Teaching and Learning. Unpublished report.

Somers, M. A., Corrin, W., Sepanik, S., Salinger, T., Levin, J., and Zmach, C. (2010). The Enhanced Reading Opportunities Study Final Report: The Impact of Supplemental Literacy Courses for Struggling Ninth-Grade Readers (NCEE 2010-4021). Washington, DC: National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education.

Responding in Peaceful and Positive Ways

http://www.nrepp.samhsa.gov/ViewIntervention.aspx?id=59
CASEL Designation: CASEL SELect SELect

Program Design

Responding in Peaceful and Positive Ways Setting Ratings
= Extensive = Adequate Quarter = Minimal Minimal = Not Present
Setting: Classroom
Setting: School Minimal
Setting: Family Minimal
Setting: Community Minimal

Responding in Peaceful and Positive Ways (RiPP) is a violence prevention program that uses free-standing lessons to promote students' social and emotional learning. RiPP is designed to be implemented in grades 6th, 7th and 8th with 16 sessions in each. RiPP is typically taught on a weekly basis during social studies, health, or science and is designed to be implemented by a prevention facilitator rather than a teacher. RiPP is aligned with the developmental changes taking place during the middle school years, when young people often report feeling less safe and are more likely to report being victimized at school. The program places a heavy emphasis on teaching social problem-solving and conflict-resolution skills. In sixth grade students learn that they have nonviolent options when conflicts arise. In seventh grade they learn that friendships are the place to work on resolving conflicts before testing these skills in the larger community. In eighth grade students are encouraged to see high school as a chance to imagine the future, set goals, make new friends, practice forgiveness, work hard in school, and apply for a job. The program emphasizes practice within the classroom and includes strategies for calming down. RiPP also uses games and group work to teach students a social problem-solving system. It also uses team building, repetition, mental rehearsal, and practice.

Implementation Support

RiPP professional development is designed for a designated program specialist who delivers the curriculum to all students in the school. The professional development for these individuals includes 3 days of training regarding 6th grade program implementation, and one and a half days each regarding 7th and 8th grade program implementation. Coaching involves a monthly phone call to check in and offer technical assistance. The program specialist also receives training in how to supervise unloading of buses in the morning, loading of buses in the afternoon, and in how to monitor lunches. There are concerns about the capacity of this small organization to support large-scale implementation given its current infrastructure.

Evidence of Effectiveness

Results of a randomized control trial and two quasi-experimental evaluations conducted between the years 2001 and 2003 supported the effectiveness of Responding in Peaceful and Positive Ways. In sum the three evaluations included 1975 students in the 6th grade and 7th grade (Black = 31%; Hispanic = 17%; White = 49%; approximately 65% of reporting participants qualified for free or reduced lunch) and found that participants that received the program reported less drug use (4 months after baseline); fewer interpersonal problems (4 months and 21 months after baseline); less victimization (12 months after baseline), and fewer conduct problems (4 months, 7 months, and 21 months after baseline). Additionally, significant program impact was sustained at follow-up for life satisfaction (both 4 months after post-test).

References

Farrell, A. D., Valois, R. F., Meyer, A. L., & Tidwell, R. P. (2003). Impact of the RIPP violence prevention program on rural middle school students. Journal of Primary Prevention, 24(2), 143-167

Farrell, A. D., Valois, R. F., & Meyer, A. L. (2002). Evaluation of the RIPP-6 violence prevention program at a rural middle school. American Journal of Health Education, 33(3), 167-172.

Farrell, A. D., Meyer, A. L., & White, K. S. (2001). Evaluation of Responding in Peaceful and Positive Ways (RIPP): A school-based prevention program for reducing violence among urban adolescents. Journal of clinical child psychology, 30(4), 451-463.

Second Step: Student Success Through Prevention for Middle School

http://cfchildren.org/second-step/middle-school.aspx
CASEL Designation: CASEL SELect SELect

Program Design

Second Step: Student Success Through Prevention for Middle School Setting Ratings
= Extensive = Adequate Quarter = Minimal Minimal = Not Present
Setting: Classroom
Setting: School Quarter
Setting: Family Quarter
Setting: Community Minimal

"The Second Step Program" is a skills promotion program for students in preschool through eighth grade. The middle school version uses free-standing lessons to promote students' social and emotional learning. The program uses a variety of interactive strategies that include direct instruction, video modeling, partner and group discussion, behavioral skill practice, and interactive homework assignments. Every lesson includes videos that are visually appealing to youth and support program delivery. During the lessons students learn how to work together in groups to practice empathy, communication, and problem-solving, and to further explore lesson topics. Included in the program materials are DVDs that illustrate or elaborate on concepts or provide video models of the skill practice activities. Grade 6 has 15 lessons, grade 7 has 13 lessons, and grade 8 has 13 lessons. The program includes lessons on bullying prevention and substance abuse prevention. There is extensive practice in the lessons and beyond (e.g., reflective writing about skill use). "The Second Step Program" also includes teacher practices designed to reinforce the content outside of the lesson. It also provides suggestions for integrating the program content into other academic subjects. Online resources are available to support planning, implementation, and sustainability. For families the program offers suggestions for family-based activities, including interactive homework assignments that require the involvement of an adult.

Implementation Support

"The Second Step Program" provides highly structured and directive training. It consists of four modules that use a video-based, online format. Each module lasts between 30 to 60 minutes and is accompanied by written materials. The first module provides an overview of the program for all school staff and the administrators. The other three modules are for teachers who will be teaching the curriculum. These videos are intended to be watched in a group setting (not by individual teachers), because practice in small groups is an integral part of the training experience. One person in the training group is asked to serve as a "facilitator" whose role is to arrange the room, manage the video, and facilitate discussion, group work, and activities. The online group training modules (as well as other resource materials including lesson preparation videos) are available with the activation key that comes with the program's purchase. At a minimum, administrators and all school staff are strongly encouraged to participate in the training session for the first module. The program also offers a two-day leadership institute held in Seattle each June for district leaders to form a professional learning community across multiple implementing school districts. Each yearly cohort typically consists of 15-20 leaders from around the country and they continue to meet through regular structured web-based meetings throughout the year. Many other kinds of trainings and implementation supports are available with "The Second Step Program". Lesson preparation videos that walk teachers through the process of preparing for each lesson during each of the middle school years are also very popular. In addition, the program offers optional professional development opportunities for diverse stakeholders, as well as checklists and observational tools to monitor the fidelity of implementation.

Evidence of Effectiveness

Results of a 2013 randomized control trial supported the effectiveness of "The Second Step Program". This evaluation was conducted on a sample of 3,616 adolescents in sixth grade (Black = 35.2%; Hispanic = 26.1%; Multiracial = 14.8%; White = 24%). It found that students who participated in the program reported lower levels of physical aggression at post-test compared to students in the control group. These effects were assessed approximately nine months after baseline, and group differences were statistically significant while controlling for baseline differences in the outcome measure.

References

Espelage, D. L., Low, S., Polanin, J. R., & Brown, E. C. (2013). The Impact of a middle school program to reduce aggression, victimization, and sexual violence. The Journal of Adolescent Health, 53(2), 180-186.

CASEL Designation: Complementary Program

Program Design

Step Up is a middle school program adapted from the Camp MakeBelieve Kids 8-Step SEL elementary school program. Step Up includes free-standing SEL lessons that can be implemented as a stand-alone course during an advisory period or health class. The Step Up curriculum teaches 8 specific sets of concepts, skill-sets, and strategies designed to promote healthy interactions and safe regulation of feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. These 8 concepts, called "steps", are: Social Connections, Understanding and Expressing Feelings, Respecting Boundaries, Building Empathy, Mood Control, Stopping Manipulation, Self-Regulation, and Motivation. The steps are intentionally sequenced so that each steps' messages and skills build on the next. There are a total of 16 lessons (two for each of the eight steps), and each lesson is designed to last 25 minutes. Each lesson begins with a goal-directed "Breath-Work" strategy that is designed to promote physical relaxation, reduce stress, and re-focus energy on the upcoming lesson. A student journal accompanies the curriculum that allows students to reflect on the lessons outside of class and review information for clarity. Parents are included through informational memos called "Keeping Parents in the Loop." Step Up is designated as complementary because when the materials are broken out across multiple years they do not provide comprehensive coverage of the five SEL domains.

The original version of this curriculum is a universal prevention program that includes components related to suicide prevention. The curriculum was adapted for the CASEL program review process because CASEL does not review suicide prevention programs. The Step 6 lessons focus on teaching students to recognize manipulation strategies and associate the behaviors with illustrations of trash can characters, known as the "Trashy Tricks." The intent of these lessons is to teach students that methods of manipulation are not acceptable, should not be practiced, and that students should be conscious to ensure they are not being manipulated themselves. Given the developmental literature on the power of adolescent norms, it is important for schools using this program to think carefully about the risks involved in having students practice negative behaviors, and the norms that may be established. Guidelines about how this content should be used is addressed in the curriculum and training.

Implementation Support

Prior to designing a specific training model for schools, school administrators are invited to attend a virtual conference with the program developer. Following the introductory session, the most basic training format for Tier 1 instructors is a two-day, in-person, on-site workshop with a minimum of 10 and a maximum of 50 participants. There is one trainer for every 20 participants. Participants are provided with the program overview, key strategies, practice opportunities, important trainer tips, and resources that allow them to deliver the lesson plans with fidelity. They also receive curriculum-based assessment tools which consist of student self-report measures, student post-tests, as well as tools for parents & teachers to measure changes in observed behavior. In addition, instructors may participate in a total of six bi-monthly virtual conference calls for support and technical assistance. A Train the Trainer workshop is offered to instructors who have attended the basic training and have successfully implemented the program for at least one cycle.

Evidence of Effectiveness

Results of a 2014 quasi-experimental evaluation provided evidence for the effectiveness of Step Up. The evaluation was conducted on a sample of 64 students in four 8th grade classrooms. The evaluation found that compared to students in the comparison group, students who participated in the program were rated by their teachers to have demonstrated higher levels of self-regulation, social-competence, empathy, and responsibility. These effects were assessed after the students in the intervention group had participated in the program for two years and group differences were statistically significant while controlling for baseline differences in the outcome measure.

References

Grob, K., Kadlubek, R., & Canivez, G. (2014). STEP UP Curriculum Longitudinal Study: Evaluation Report. Unpublished evaluation report.

Student Success Skills

http://www.studentsuccessskills.com/
CASEL Designation: CASEL SELect SELect

Program Design

Student Success Skills Setting Ratings
= Extensive = Adequate Quarter = Minimal Minimal = Not Present
Setting: Classroom
Setting: School Quarter
Setting: Family
Setting: Community Minimal

Student Success Skills is a skills promotion program that uses teaching practices and free-standing SEL lessons to support social and emotional learning. It is designed to be implemented in a regular class where the teacher delivers five lessons that provide students with strategies for (1) setting goals, monitoring progress, and sharing success; (2) building a caring, supportive, and encouraging environment; (3) developing and practicing memory and cognitive skills; (4) calming anxiety and managing emotions; and (5) developing healthy optimism. The stress reduction techniques include mindfulness strategies such as muscle relaxation. The dosage is one lesson per week with three booster sessions, one for each of the following months. After completing the five lessons teachers are expected to cue and coach students to apply the appropriate skills and strategies during academic lessons throughout the year to master the curriculum and develop a healthy and supportive classroom climate.

In addition to the universal program, Student Success Skills offers a group counseling format for students who need it. The program also includes a four-session parent workshop that provides parents with an overview of the skills and strategies their children are being taught as well as strategies to improve communication, problem-solving skills, and positive parenting.

Implementation Support

The professional development recommended by Student Success Skills consists of one full day of training. This is done in person and can be provided on site or regionally at a professional conference. Teachers may also attend a summer training institute. Each teacher receives a classroom manual as part of the training. After the training participants are provided videotapes of trained teachers or counselors. Access to a trainer is available to support ongoing implementation. Student Success Skills has developed a Train the Trainer model in which group of teachers can attend a regional training or summer institute and then implement the program in their school and be observed via videotapes they send back to Student Success Skills for review. If teachers meet criteria they can be certified by Student Success Skills as trainers. There is also training for counselors to support the small-group format. Other implementation supports include consultations with district leaders before and after training to aid high-quality implementation, consultation for an implementation evaluation, and coaching. In addition, the program offers a DVD with PowerPoint lessons for teachers as well as a 20-minute overview of the program for both teachers and administrators that reviews some lessons, key goals and components, and the program's evidence base. The program also offers rating scales and observational tools to monitor the fidelity of implementation.

Evidence of Effectiveness

Results from an randomized control trial (in press) and a quasi-experimental evaluation conducted in 2011 supported the effectiveness of Student Success Skills. The two evaluations included 545 students in grades 7, 9, and 10 (Hispanic = 73.6%, White = 19.7%; FRL = 81% of those who reported). These evaluations found that middle school students who participated in the program achieved higher standardized test scores in reading and math as well as more positive perceptions of their own social and emotional skills when compared to middle school students in the control group (outcomes achieved three months after baseline while controlling for outcome pretest). High school students who participated in the program achieved higher standardized test scores in reading and math when compared to high school students in the control group (outcomes achieved 12 months after baseline while controlling for outcome pretest). For both of these evaluations, the program was facilitated by a school counselor in a regular classroom setting. Of note is that the high school evaluation assessed effects of the Spanish translation of this program.

References

Lemberger, M.,Selig, J., Bowers, H., & Rogers, J. (2015). Effects of the student success skills program on the executive functioning skills, feelings of connectedness, and academic achievement in in a predominantly Hispanic, low-income middle school district. Journal of Counseling and Development, 93, 25-36.

Urbina, I. (2011). The effects of student participation in the cultural Spanish translation of the Student Success Skills program on high school student achievement. (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from ProQuest. (3496460)

CASEL Designation: Complementary Program

Program Design

TestEdge is a stress reduction program that consists of five free-standing lessons to promote social and emotional learning in high school. The program is delivered in the classroom via video in which teenage actors present the information. The five video lessons are each broken down into several shorter segments. In between the segments, the teacher leads a discussion based on provided prompts and questions. The program is designated complementary because of its limited focus on social awareness and relationship skills, and because it is designed to be delivered in a single school year.

The primary strategy of TestEdge is to teach students ways of dealing with daily stress by using breathing relaxation tools. Three tools are taught in sequence of complexity. The first tool's purpose is to help students calm down when they experience strong negative emotions. The second is aimed at changing a feeling or attitude from negative to positive. The third is designed for solving problems by becoming calm and using intuition. All three tools incorporate deep breathing techniques.

The program encourages frequent practice of the offered techniques. Additionally, each video lesson includes printed materials for students, which provide the opportunity to review and learn more about the information presented in the video lesson, as well as for reflection and practice.

Implementation Support

TestEdge recommends a half-day training. There are two options - on site and virtual. The on-site training is not required but is recommended because it is in-person and includes time to practice applying skills and linking them to specific classroom experiences. TestEdge will send one of their own staff members or an educational consultant to instruct teachers and/or school counselors. This training covers relevant aspects of neuroscience, reviews the manual, and reviews videos presented on the TestEdge CD-ROM (which is provided as part of the training). For each video, the training follows a sequence of: watch, review, apply/practice - the same pattern teachers are encouraged to follow with their students in a social collaborative classroom framework.

The alternative virtual training involves the TestEdge CD-ROM along with a 90-minute webinar. The live webinar covers the same content as the on-site training but in a more condensed format. The TestEdge CD-ROM takes teachers through the step-by-step process of implementing this program and includes the training videos, the manual, and all the student lessons in PDF format.

Ongoing training or coaching is not offered but TestEdge provides free follow-up phone consultations. There are no dedicated administrator trainings and no fidelity measures.

Evidence of Effectiveness

Results of a 2007 randomized control trial supported the effectiveness of Test Edge. This evaluation was conducted on a sample of 749 adolescents in 10th grade (White = 43%; Hispanic = 36%; Other = 21%; approximately 14.3% of participants qualified for free or reduced lunch) and found that students participating in the intervention reported lower levels of test anxiety, negative affect, emotional discord, and interactional difficulty at post-test compared to students from the control group. The posttest occurred four months after baseline and analyses controlled for baseline differences in the outcome measure.

References

Bradley, R. T., McCraty, R., Atkinson, M., Arguelles, L., Rees, R. A., & Tomasino, D. (2007). Reducing test anxiety and improving test performance in America's schools: Results from the TestEdge National Demonstration Study. Unpublished evaluation report.

CASEL Designation: Complementary Program

Program Design

The Fourth R is a health education curriculum for students in ninth grade that includes free-standing SEL lessons that promote students' social and emotional learning. It is comprised of three units with seven lessons in each. All the lessons are designed to be implemented for 75 minutes or divided into two shorter lessons. The three units cover personal safety and injury prevention, healthy growth and sexuality, and substance use and abuse. The lessons in the first unit focus on teaching relationship skills, social awareness and self-awareness, and decision-making skills, with a strong emphasis on practice of communication skills supported by elaborate role plays. The program materials include short video clips with teen actors demonstrating different types of communication. Also offered are guidelines on schoolwide implementation of the program. The Fourth R is considered complementary because the majority of the SEL programming is contained in a single unit presented in one year. It also does not include instruction around self-management.

Implementation Support

The Fourth R offers a five-hour training usually conducted in-person and onsite, although an online version is also available. This training covers the curriculum content, videos on how to teach role-playing, and practice of skills. The program recommends the in-person training whenever a school or district intends to train ten or more teachers (with a maximum of 60). In most cases schools or districts are encouraged to request a site license for the Fourth R that allows them to use the materials repeatedly and have free access to the online training. The online training is identical to the in-person training, with content and practice offered through slides and videos. It is recommended when only a few teachers from a single school need to be trained. Online training is free for anyone who purchases the materials for the Fourth R or receives the in-person training. Although the program does not offer regional trainings, they do ask interested schools if teachers from nearby regions can attend a planned training in order to maximize the opportunity for other schools to receive it. As-needed technical assistance from the Fourth R is available. Coaching is not typically offered, but the program has created a Web-based "community of practice" that includes updated materials, webinars, and other content.

Another option is a Train the Trainer model to develop what the Fourth R calls "master trainers." This is appropriate for schools that have implemented the Fourth R and have teachers who have already delivered it at the classroom level. In this model Fourth R returns to a school district for a two-day training and trains a few of the experienced teachers to be trainers for future teachers in the district or the nearby region. On the first day a master trainer leads the training. The participants use the second day for practice and presentations of the program to either fellow teachers or teachers new to the Fourth R program. This training includes a master trainer manual and ongoing technical support.

Evidence of Effectiveness

Results of a 2009 randomized control trial evaluation supported the effectiveness of Fourth R. This evaluation was conducted on a sample of 1,722 adolescents in ninth grade (predominantly white). It found that participants who received the intervention reported lower rates of physical dating violence at post-test (30 months after baseline) compared to students from the control group, controlling for baseline differences in rate of dating violence.

References

Wolfe, D. A., Crooks, C., Jaffe, P., Chiodo, D., Hughes, R., Ellis, W., & Donner, A. (2009). A school-based program to prevent adolescent dating violence: A cluster randomized trial. Archives of pediatrics & adolescent medicine, 163(8), 692-699.

Wyman's Teen Outreach Program (TOP)

http://wymancenter.org/top/
CASEL Designation: CASEL SELect SELect

Program Design

Wyman's Teen Outreach Program (TOP) Setting Ratings
= Extensive = Adequate Quarter = Minimal Minimal = Not Present
Setting: Classroom
Setting: School Minimal
Setting: Family Minimal
Setting: Community

Wyman's Teen Outreach Program (TOP) uses free-standing SEL lessons and community service to promote students' social and emotional development. The TOP curriculum includes lessons that address content on adolescent development: skill-building, connections with others, and learning about one's self. Within each area of content, the curriculum includes foundational, intermediate, and advanced lessons that are designed to meet the developmental needs of young people in grades 6 through 12. Each of the 120+ lessons is written for a 45 minute time period with an additional extension activity available if time allows. The TOP curriculum is designed to allow for sequenced programming over multiple years (e.g., as part of a whole-school middle school approach), with a minimum duration of 9 months.

In addition to the curriculum lessons, a major component of the program is a minimum of 20 hours of community service each year. The community service component has four phases: preparation, action, reflection, and celebration. Most of the time is spent in action, with reflection happening continuously throughout the community service experience. Service can involve direct action (e.g., tutoring, building a playground or garden), indirect action (e.g., bake sales, blood drives), and civic action for older students (e.g., voter registration, public speaking, educational theatre and awareness programs). There is a process through which students are able to choose the specific type of service they want to engage in.

Implementation Support

This program uses a Training of Trainers (TOT) model, partnering with school districts or community organizations who implement TOP in schools and other settings. The TOT training is offered quarterly in St. Louis, Missouri. In some cases with large school districts, Wyman will offer the training onsite at schools. The TOT training is five days long and is facilitated by two TOP trainer instructors. The first 2.5 days cover the facilitator training, during which participants learn how to directly implement TOP in the classroom with students in 6th - 12th grade. The next 2.5 days focus on teaching participants how to train others in TOP and structure their TOP implementation to ensure quality programming within their home organization.

Wyman provides technical assistance that can be facilitated onsite or offsite depending on each partner organization's needs, and may consist of calls to Wyman trainers, coaching, or webinars on special topics. In addition, data collection and reporting are supported through Wyman Connect, the TOP data system. An onsite visit is also included as part of the quality assurance process and typically takes place at the end of the first year of implementation. Additional onsite visits are conducted regularly thereafter.

Additional two-day trainings are offered during each summer in different cities, and are open to all partners within the Wyman National Network. These include booster trainings for in-class facilitators, as well as topics selected based on partners' needs, such as trauma-informed positive youth development training, special topics in SEL, community service learning, and understanding group dynamics. Wyman also offers Learning Exchanges for program leadership to promote implementation fidelity and to address other topics that emerge as critical within the National Network.

Evidence of Effectiveness

Results from a randomized control trial published in 1997 and two quasi-experimental evaluations published in 2001 and 2016 respectively supported the effectiveness of Wyman's Teen Outreach Program for middle and high school students. In sum, these evaluations included 4,160 students who were in 7th and 9th - 12th grades (Black = 59%, White = 28%, Hispanic = 12%). Two of these evaluations found that high school students who participated in the program were less likely to report failing a course, being suspended, or becoming pregnant compared to students in the control group (outcomes reported 9 months after baseline while controlling for outcome pretest). One quasi-experimental evaluation found that middle school students who participated in the program were less likely to report failing grades or skipping class compared to students in the comparison group (outcomes reported 9 months after baseline while controlling for outcome pretest).

References

Allen, J. P., & Philliber, S. (2001). Who benefits most from a broadly targeted prevention program? Differential efficacy across populations in the Teen Outreach Program. Journal of Community Psychology, 29(6), 637-655.

Allen, J. P., Philliber, S., Herrling, S., & Kuperminc, G. P. (1997). Preventing teen pregnancy and academic failure: Experimental evaluation of a developmentally based approach. Child Development, 68(4), 729-742.

McBride, A. M., Chung, S., & Robertson, A. (2016). Preventing academic disengagement through a middle school-based social and emotional learning program. Journal of Experiential Education, 39(4), 370-385.

Selecting An SEL ProgramDownload PDF

When school and district planning teams oversee the careful selection and effective implementation of evidence-based social and emotional learning programs, the students they serve benefit socially, emotionally, and academically. This page links to guidelines SEL teams can follow to ensure they ultimately adopt the best programs for their particular school community.

To begin, three key principles support the effective selection, implementation, impact, and sustainability of evidence-based SEL programs.

Principle 1: School and district teams—rather than an individual—should engage diverse stakeholders in the program adoption process to identify shared priorities.

Principle 2: Implementing evidence-based SEL programs within systemic, ongoing district and school planning, programming, and evaluation leads to better practice and more positive outcomes for students.

Principle 3: It is critical to consider local contextual factors (e.g., student characteristics, programs already in place) when using the CASEL Guide and gathering additional information in order to make the most effective decisions about which programs to implement.

Some schools may prefer to develop their own approach to SEL, rather than adopting one of the evidence-based SELect programs identified in this Guide. We believe it is better to start from a foundation that is evidence-based. A SELect program can serve as a base from which to coordinate schoolwide SEL, school-family partnerships, and community programming. The benefits of using programs that embody years of scientific program development, evaluation, and evidence are worth the effort.



SEL-Related Approaches

Systemic SELDownload PDF

CASEL advocates the use of evidence-based SEL programs within the context of a systemic approach at both the district and school level. Based on strong scientific evidence about the impact of social and emotional factors on students’ academic learning and school success, CASEL believes that developing the capacity to support high-quality, evidence-based SEL must be an essential part of districts’ improvement efforts.

Social and emotional learning can serve as an organizing principle for coordinating all of a school’s academic, youth development, and prevention activities. It provides a common language and coordinating framework for communicating not just about SEL but about a wide range of programs and teaching approaches that schools normally provide. When systemic social, emotional, and academic learning becomes the overarching framework for a district or school, the result is an organization whose integrated programming activities are greater than the sum of its parts.



SEL-Related Approaches

SEL-Related ApproachesDownload PDF

Several current innovative perspectives on educational practice are aligned with SEL or create opportunities for SEL.

College and Career Readiness. The transition to high school is an important developmental milestone of adolescence. Although efforts to promote college and career readiness begin in the middle grades, they are prominent at the high school level, where the pressures to increase high school graduation levels, rates of post-secondary education completion, and workplace readiness are greater. Several recent publications on college and career readiness, deeper learning, and 21st-century skills cite social and emotional skills as central to success (ACT, 2014; National Research Council, 2012). An emerging educational trend is the movement toward restructuring high schools into career and interest-themed “academies.” These smaller learning communities allow students to get to know their teachers and peers as individuals and help them feel more connected to the school. The academy structure increases student motivation because it aligns learning with students’ personal interests. This approach can create meaningful learning experiences that provide students with technical knowledge and that teach them the academic and social-emotional skills they need to be successful in college, career, and life. Career academies often create active links to businesses in the community, and this has been an effective way to facilitate genuine school-community partnerships.

Mindfulness. A growing movement in education today is to promote mindful or contemplative awareness in students as well as teachers. Mindfulness has been defined as “…a way of paying attention that is intentional, trained on the present moment, and maintained with an attitude of nonjudgment (Kabat-Zinn, 1994 as cited in Broderick & Metz, p. 37). School-based programs that promote mindful awareness in students often include yoga, breathing, brief meditations, and other strategies designed to help students focus attention and regulate emotions. The research on universal contemplative education programs to support students’ mindful awareness is at an early stage (Greenberg & Harris, 2011), although there is some preliminary evidence suggesting that school-based approaches to promote mindful awareness in students may have promise. Nevertheless, important research questions are as yet unanswered, including (1) the developmental appropriateness of strategies at different ages, (2) the needed intensity and duration necessary to improve student functioning, and (3) whether there is a lasting effect at least one or two years following these interventions. Given the early state of progress of research and practice in this area and the fact that the skills and attitudes promoted through mindful awareness practices are not currently included in the definition of the CASEL five competency clusters, these programs are best seen as supplements to SEL programs that may have the potential to facilitate SEL.

In the process of conducting our review, four programs (.b, Kripalu Yoga, Learning to Breathe, and Transformative Life Skills) designed to promote mindful awareness met CASEL’s research criteria.

Student-Centered Practices. A recent trend in education to improve a range of academic outcomes including achievement, graduation, and college and career readiness is the use of student-centered practices. Several of the SELect high school programs included in this Guide include student-centered practices. This approach is appropriate for all students but is considered essential to address the opportunity gap created by No Child Left Behind for students of color living in under-resourced communities (Darling-Hammond, Friedlaender, & Snyder, 2014; Friedlaender, Burns, Lewis-Charp, Cook-Harvey, & Darling-Hammond, 2014). Student-centered practices include rich and relevant curricula, teaching that promotes deeper learning, authentic assessments that inform practice, and personalized learning that includes instructional supports (Darling-Hammond et al., 2014). Given the fact that human relationships are at the core of student-centered practices, they have the potential to create more positive classroom and school climates that facilitate SEL. Both career academies and “small schools” use student-centered practices to personalize education and support students’ needs. The small school approach to secondary school reform involves restructuring large schools, often high schools, into smaller schools in an effort to increase students’ feeling of connectedness to school and the staff’s ability to meet the individual needs of students (Allen & Steinberg, 2005). The research regarding the effectiveness of this approach is mixed but results of a recent evaluation are positive (Bloom & Unterman, 2012).

Career Academies. Another emerging educational trend is the movement toward restructuring high schools into career and interest-themed “academies.” These smaller learning communities allow students to get to know their teachers and peers as individuals and help them feel more connected to the school. The academy structure increases student motivation because it aligns learning with students’ personal interests. This approach can create meaningful learning experiences that provide students with technical knowledge and that teach them the academic and social-emotional skills they need to be successful in college, career, and life. Career academies often create active links to businesses in the community, and this has been an effective way to facilitate genuine school-community partnerships.

Early Warning Systems. Longitudinal studies have shown that social and emotional competence is related to reductions in a variety of problem behaviors including aggression, delinquency, and substance use. Many different risk behaviors (e.g., drug use, violence, bullying, and dropout) dropout can be prevented or reduced when interventions promote students’ personal and social development. Schools are developing early warning systems based on this research. When identifying potential indicators, it is important to consider students who are resilient and thrive developmentally despite being exposed to risk factors. Social-emotional competence is relevant to individual resilience. Assessments of student social and emotional competence may offer a positive indicator that has the potential to create more balanced systems to identify whether students are on track to graduate or at risk for dropout.

Technology. Since the advent of the Internet, the use of online learning has been expanding rapidly, and the trend toward using this technology is growing in K-12 school systems. Empirical studies of this educational approach are limited. Findings from meta-analyses on the effectiveness of online learning practices suggest that outcomes for online education and face-to-face education are comparable (Cavanaugh 2001; Bernard et al., 2004). This research has implications for SEL that may be enhanced by the wise use of technology. For example, the Internet can deliver up-to-date and accurate communication to a worldwide audience and thus help in the dissemination and adoption of SEL programs. Webinars can bring various stakeholders together and foster the development of coalitions among like-minded groups that can drive powerful grassroots initiatives. Interactive video conferencing has the potential to reduce the cost of implementation training and delivering ongoing support. Indeed, several of the SELect programs included in this Guide incorporate some use of online training. Schools are using Web-based software to collect ongoing data about student functioning or program implementation with the goal of providing feedback for continuous improvement. Computer-based applications and the use of smart phones can support real-time assessments that can aid in both implementation and program evaluation efforts. As new technological innovations appear, so will ideas about how they can be used most effectively in SEL programming.


Systemic SEL

Summary of Lessons LearnedDownload PDF

Research on SEL has made significant advances in the past decade, and, as this Guide demonstrates, there is a growing evidence base for SEL programming at the middle and high school levels. However, more work is needed to ensure districts and schools will be able to implement the most effective programs. This is particularly true at the secondary level. Below we summarize important findings from this 2015 CASEL Guide regarding the research, design, and implementation supports of the SELect programs and the implications of these findings for future research and practice with adolescents.

Study design. Using strong evidence-based programs is critically important in fostering students’ social and emotional development. Although this Guide includes data from both quasi-experimental studies and randomized controlled trials (RCTs), findings from RCTs are generally considered more reliable because their design is more rigorous. At the middle school level five of the six SELect programs were evaluated with at least one RCT. At the high school level four out of six were evaluated using that design. It is important for programs to demonstrate positive effects in more than one study with an independent sample. Only a small number of the SELect programs have replications (five out of 11 programs). The outcomes across these studies were generally consistent with one another, which lends confidence to the validity of the findings. One goal for the future is that SELect programs not only have multiple evaluations, but that these evaluations be conducted by independent research teams. Another way to improve the SEL program evidence base is to have more studies follow participants over time and demonstrate the sustainability of their impacts. Only two of the 11 SELect programs showed positive program effects at a time after post-test. Educational researchers interested in noncognitive factors have noted that longitudinal research is important to determine how skills in nonacademic domains are related to academic performance (Farrington et al., 2012).

Assessment of outcomes. Across the SELect programs many evaluations demonstrated beneficial effects on students. These included improvements in social and emotional competence, reductions in problem behavior, and improved academic performance. Interestingly, the positive effects of SELect programs on academic performance were most evident at the high school level, where all five programs showed positive effects on this outcome. At the middle school level only two of the six programs documented this effect. Given the current climate of accountability in educational settings and the priorities of federal funding agencies, researchers should assess academic outcomes in future evaluations of SEL programs. Overall the program outcomes at the middle school level were more diverse than those at the high school level. At least one program impacted each of the four behavior domains at the middle school level, whereas at the high school level not one of the SELect programs had a positive impact on a behavioral student outcome.

Student populations. For some SELect programs the grade levels of the sample in the evaluation studies were not representative of the full grade range of students covered by the program. In the future researchers should take this into consideration when designing studies and making choices about which students should participate.

SEL approaches. SEL programs at the elementary level have traditionally used free-standing SEL lessons to teach social and emotional skills explicitly. In terms of SELect programs, this approach was still practiced at the middle school level, with four out of the six programs taking this approach, but only one of the SELect programs at the high school level utilized this method. Although the use of free-standing lessons requires time in the academic schedule, structures like advisories provide an ideal setting in which to embed SEL program content. An important contribution of this review and the resulting Guide has been to expand perspectives on evidence-based approaches that promote SEL. One common SEL approach at both developmental levels was to use specific teaching practices to create classroom environments that foster social and emotional learning. Another is to integrate SEL instruction into an academic subject. This approach was found at both the middle and high school level, and in all cases programs that took this approach also placed a heavy emphasis on teaching practices. At the high school level two programs focused exclusively on teaching practices without any curricular content. One important focus of future research should be to investigate the unique contribution of each of the different SEL approaches to improving student outcomes and whether it is possible to have stronger impacts when multiple approaches are used together (Domitrovich et al., 2009).

Systemic SEL. Social and emotional learning is more powerful when it is reinforced in all the contexts that affect young people’s learning and development (Greenberg et al., 2003). It was common for SELect programs at the middle and high school levels to include strategies at the classroom and school level but less common for programs to include family components or programming that linked students to the community. Future research should clarify the independent and combined effects of classroom, schoolwide, and family- and community-oriented SEL programming.

Implementation quality. The quality of SEL program implementation is greatly influenced by how prepared schools are when they adopt an SEL program, the process through which programs are chosen, and the extent to which all staff members are involved in that decision. Once a program is adopted, training and ongoing support become the critical factors for program success because of the impact these factors have on the quality of program implementation. All programs in the Guide had to provide training and ongoing support. Interestingly ten of the 11 SELect programs provide coaching to practitioners and eight have some materials or structures to support the creation of a professional learning community. Several of the programs (six out of 11) offered specific training to members of the school administration to support implementation by school staff, and nine of the programs provided some measures of program fidelity that practitioners could use to monitor implementation. Although we know much more now about effective implementation procedures than we did a decade ago, more research is needed to provide schools with the information and tools to implement evidence-based programs successfully. Cost-effective and efficient models of professional development and program evaluations are also needed that use these methods of training in order to validate that they produce student outcomes as strong as those that use intensive models of support (Durlak et al., 2015).



The Future of SEL

The Future of SELDownload PDF

SEL facilitates students’ intrapersonal, interpersonal, and cognitive skills and prepares them to meet the challenges they will inevitably face in today’s world. As a result of the expanding research base, SEL should now be considered a scientifically established, practical method that can improve the social, emotional, and academic performance of middle and high school students throughout the country. It deserves a prominent place in the education of all children.

In the earlier days of SEL, programs were usually started in only a few schools to test their impact. Knowing, as we do now, that several different types of SEL initiatives can be successful on a small-scale basis, we need information on how SEL programming can be incorporated systemically on a districtwide basis to offer comprehensive services simultaneously to multiple schools and student bodies. Our hope and expectation is that CASEL’s Collaborating Districts Initiative, currently operating in eight large urban school districts across the country, along with similar efforts elsewhere, will yield useful information on how to take SEL programming successfully to scale.

On the policy front, several state boards of education have developed preschool to grade 12 learning standards related to SEL that may eventually become part of everyday educational practice (Dusenbury et al., 2011). These standards should motivate more schools to investigate and integrate social and emotional learning into practice. At the federal level, opportunities to promote SEL nationwide are offered by the pending Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning Act of 2015 and in the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

All of these advances in the SEL field can be enhanced by the wise use of technology. For example, the internet can deliver up-to-date and accurate communication to a worldwide audience and thus help in the dissemination and adoption of SEL programs. CASEL plans to update this Guide on a continual basis as new information becomes available. Webinars can bring various stakeholders together and foster the development of coalitions among like-minded groups that can drive powerful grassroots initiatives. Interactive video conferencing has the potential to reduce the cost of implementation training and ongoing support substantially. Indeed, several of the SELect programs included in this Guide incorporate some use of online training. Some schools are using web-based software to collect ongoing data about student functioning or program implementation with the goal of providing feedback for continuous improvement. Computer-based applications and the use of smartphones can support real-time assessments of behaviors, feelings, and attitudes that can aid in both implementation and program evaluation efforts. As new technological innovations appear, so will ideas about how they can be used most effectively in SEL programming. In general, technology can be a vehicle that can dramatically improve the cost-effectiveness of SEL programming.

Our hope is that researchers and educators will work closely together to advance evidence-based SEL practice. Each has much to offer the other. For example, researchers can continue to clarify the short- and long-term benefits of SEL programs, reasons why programs produce their desired outcomes, and the parameters associated with maximum program impact for different student populations. At the same time, school staff who administer programs and consultants offering implementation supports can discover ways to adapt programs effectively for different situations and identify training methods that are most helpful to practitioners. These developments should, in turn, shape better research studies.

The current status of school-based SEL programming is bright. If recent developments in research, practice, and policy are any indication, the future is even brighter. We at CASEL will continue to stay informed about the central SEL issues in the context of shifting education priorities and actively communicate our findings.


References

ReferencesDownload PDF

ACT. (2014). Broadening the definition of college and career readiness: A holistic approach. Retrieved from http://www.act.org/research/researchers/reports/pdf/ACT_RR2014-5.pdf Association for Middle Level Education. (2010). This we believe: Keys to educating young adolescents. Westerville, Ohio: Author.

Bloom, H. S., & Unterman, R. (2012). Sustained positive effects on graduation rates produced by New York city’s small public high schools of choice. Policy Brief (January). New York: MDRC.

Broderick, P. C., & Metz, S. (2009). Learning to BREATHE: A pilot trial of a mindfulness curriculum for adolescents. Advances in School Mental Health Promotion, 2, 35–46.

Bryk, A.S. & Schneider, B. (2002). Trust in schools: A core resource for improvement. New York: Russell Sage.

Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning. (2003). Safe and sound: An educational leader’s guide to evidence-based social and emotional learning (SEL) programs. Chicago, IL: Author.

Darling-Hammond, L., Friedlaender, D., & Snyder, J. (2014). Student-centered schools: Policy supports for closing the opportunity gap. Stanford, CA: Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education.

Domitrovich, C. E.. Bradshaw, C. P., Poduska, J. M., Hoagwood, K., Buckley, J. A. Olin, S., Romanelli. L. H., Leaf, P.J., Greenberg, M. T. & Ialongo, N. S. (2008). Maximizing the implementation quality of evidence-based preventive interventions in schools: A conceptual framework. Advances in School Based Mental Health Promotion, 1. 6-28.

Domitrovich, C. E., Bradshaw, C. P., Greenberg, M. T., Embry, D., Poduska, J. M., & Ialongo, N. (2010). Integrated models of school-based prevention: The logic and theory. Psychology in the Schools, 47, 71-88.

Durlak, J. A. (2015). What everyone should know about implementation. In J. A. Durlak, C. E. Domitrovich, R. P. Weissberg, & T. P. Gullotta (Eds.), Handbook of social and emotional learning: Research and practice. New York: Guilford.

Durlak, J. A., Weissberg, R. P., & Pachan, M. (2010). A meta-analysis of after-school programs that seek to promote personal and social skills in children and adolescents. American Journal of Community Psychology, 45, 294-309.

Durlak, J. A., Weissberg, R. P., Dymnicki, A. B., Taylor, R. D., & Schellinger, K. B. (2011). The impact of enhancing students’ social and emotional learning: A meta-analysis of school-based universal interventions. Child Development, 82, 405-432.

Dusenbury, L., Zadrazil, J., Mart, A., & Weissberg, R. P. (2011). State learning standards to advance social and emotional learning. Chicago, IL: CASEL — Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning.

Eccles, J. S., & Roeser., R.W. (2011). Schools as developmental contexts during adolescence. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 21(1), 225-241.

Farrington, C. A., Roderick, M., Allensworth, E., Nagaoka, J., Keyes, T. S., Johnson, D. W., & Beechum, N. O. (2012). Teaching adolescents to become learners – The role of noncognitive factors in shaping school performance: A critical literature review. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research.

Friedlaender, D., Burns, D., Lewis-Charp, H., Cook-Harvey, C. M., Zheng, X., & Darling-Hammond, L. (2014). Student-centered schools: Closing the opportunity gap. Stanford, CA: Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education.

Greenberg, M., & Harris, A. (2011). Nurturing mindfulness in children and youth: Current state of research. Child Development Perspectives, pp. 1-6.

Greenberg, M. T., Weissberg, R. P., O’Brien, M. U., Zins, J. E., Fredericks, L., Resnik, H., & Elias, M. J. (2003). Enhancing school-based prevention and youth development through coordinated social, emotional, and academic learning. American Psychologist, 58(6 & 7), 466-474.

Hamre, B. K., & Pianta, R. C. (2007). Learning opportunities in preschool and early elementary classrooms. In R. Pianta, M. Cox, & K. Snow (Eds.), School readiness & the transition to kindergarten in the era of accountability (pp. 49-84). Baltimore, MD: Brookes.

Kabat-Zinn, J. (1994). Mindfulness meditation for everyday life. New York: Hyperion.

Mashburn, A. J., & Pianta, R. C. (2006). Social relationships and school readiness. Early Education and Development, 17, 151-176.

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Roeser, R. W., Eccles, J. S., & Sameroff, A. J. (2000). School as a context of early adolescents’ academic and social – emotional development: A summary of research findings. The Elementary School Journal, 100(5), 443-471.

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Zins, J. E., Weissberg, R. P., Wang, M. C., & Walberg, H. J. (Eds.). (2004). Building academic success on social and emotional learning: What does the research say? New York, NY: Teachers College Press.