2015

CASEL Guide

Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning


Description of the SELect Tables

Program Design
Implementation Support
Evidence of Effectiveness

Program Design Table Elements

Grade range covered. This column lists the full range of grade levels the program targets at the middle and high school level.

Grades Evaluated. This column specifies the grade levels of all students included in the program’s qualifying evaluation(s).

Approaches to Promoting SEL. This element contains four columns that represent classroom and school-based approaches to promoting SEL. The first three approaches infuse SEL throughout classroom teaching or the broader school environment. The fourth approach involves the use of free standing lessons. Some programs use more than one approach so they may have checks in multiple columns since they are not mutually exclusive. For this element programs were rated according to whether the particular method was used prominently.

  1. Teaching Practices. A program received a check in this column if it focused on training teachers to use at least two of the four categories of teaching practices included in the classroom setting level. These include specific instructional practices, pedagogies, and classroom management techniques that create a positive classroom climate that supports SEL or teaching practices that promote the generalization of SEL skills by students in applied settings. These teaching practices are designed to engage students actively in learning while also supporting students’ social and emotional development.
  2. In Academic Curriculum. Programs received a check in this column if they embed the teaching of social and emotional skills in a core academic subject. A program was considered infused in an academic curriculum when it had lessons that covered core academic content while also developing social and emotional competencies. For these programs the core academic subject area is noted.
  3. Organizational. Programs received a check in this column if their approach to SEL significantly reorganizes policies and organizational structures (e.g., leadership teams, advisories, schedules) throughout the school. This approach is equivalent to a school reform model and often requires a strong commitment on the part of schools and a high level of initial and ongoing professional development to be implemented with quality.
  4. Free Standing SEL Lessons. Programs received a check in this column if they included directly teaching SEL skills in free standing lessons. The content of these lessons typically focuses on skills that can be broadly applied to a variety of situations such as making friends, working cooperatively with others, coping with stress, making decisions about potentially risky behaviors, and resolving interpersonal conflicts.

Number of SEL Lessons. For programs that used (and received a check mark for) free-standing SEL lessons (described above under Approaches to Promoting SEL), this column presents the total number of free-standing lessons across the available years of the program.

Settings that Promote and Extend SEL

  1. Classroom. The rating in this column reflects the extent to which each program contains specific strategies that introduce and/or support SEL in the classroom setting including: classroom-based lessons that provide direct instruction and practice in SEL; instructional practices that create a learning environment that promotes student SEL); teaching practices to promote positive relationships with and among students; shared classroom agreements that involve all students developing norms or behavioral guidelines to create a positive and orderly classroom experience; guidelines for how to create SEL lessons that directly support teachers in developing SEL lessons on their own; classroom management procedures and strategies aimed at promoting responsible decision-making and intrinsic motivation to behave respectfully in the classroom. A program that included free-standing SEL lessons was eligible to receive credit for SEL generalization if it provided suggestions for ways in which teachers can reinforce social and emotional development by taking advantage of “teachable moments” beyond the SEL lesson in other curriculum areas.
  2. School. The rating in this column reflects the extent to which programs provided structures and strategies to extend the program throughout the school, including systemic support for SEL including structures to support SEL implementation and strategies for building a schoolwide sense of community; advisory structures; systemic integration of SEL and instruction which involves embedding program content or practices across multiple subject areas; cross-age or cross-subjects peer mentoring to enhance students’ sense of connection to school and to provide academic support; student support strategies for working with students at the Tier 2 and Tier 3 level (as described in the Response to Intervention framework).
  3. Family. The rating in this column reflects the extent to which programs had strategies for extending SEL to the family, including: a family program component with a manual for leading sessions with parents, or parent self-directed material, such as media; separate resources for parents, (e.g., about teens’ developmental needs); suggestions for how to involve parents in supporting student homework or actual homework assignments that require parental involvement; strategies for communicating with families about their children; and explicit strategies for engaging parents actively in the life of the school, such as enhancing general school-home communication, as well as encouraging families to come to the school.
  4. Community. The rating in this column reflects the extent to which a program works to promote SEL in students through connections to and involvement with the broader community, including suggestions for creating a community advisory board; guidelines for building connections with community partners outside the classroom; involving stakeholders in various roles (e.g., arranging outside visitors, soliciting financial support); and connecting students to individuals in the community who are willing to share their expertise or provide students with real-world experiences. Service-learning is an important way programs involve students in the community, and in making positive contributions to their community. In its simplest form service-learning involves creating activities in which students spend time engaged in school- or community-based volunteer work. More ambitious service-learning programs may include a module that offers practices, guidelines, and suggestions for how to connect SEL skills students are learning in school to real-life applications in service projects. In-class preparation for a service-learning project, and a process for reflection following the experience, are both integral to effective service-learning. At the highest level a program might provide strategies for community-based academic learning. The goal would be to provide students with the opportunity to apply their academic skills toward community improvement. In fieldwork students may become active investigators, applying research tools, techniques of inquiry, and standards of presentation used by professionals in the field.
    • Service-learning was implemented to varying degrees. These ranged from a basic community-based volunteer work to having guidelines on how to connect SEL skills students are learning to real-life applications in service projects. At the highest level service-learning was integrated with academics through academic field work that also contributed to the greater good (e.g., active investigators, applying research tools, and standards of presentation used by professionals in the field).

Implementation Support Table Elements


Evidence of Effectiveness Table Elements

Program Level

Evaluation Level