Social and Emotional Learning in Middle Schools: Exploring How Middle Schools Use SEL Data to Support Student Needs

Hendershot, Miranda, Curriculum and Instruction - School of Education and Human Development, University of Virginia
Jewett, Anne, ED-CISE, University of Virginia

Recent trends in education indicate a greater emphasis on social and emotional learning (SEL) within schools (Allbright et al., 2019; Hamilton & Gross, 2021; Huck & Zhang, 2021). Research supports this trend in which SEL helps students build foundational skills to navigate life, such as self-knowledge, resilience, and collaborative problem-solving (CASEL, n.d.; Hamilton & Gross, 2021) while also preventing or reducing psychosocial problems in adolescents (van de Sande et al., 2019). One missing component of this research is SEL data, which is often overlooked or ignored despite its value. Within a suburban mid-Atlantic school district, schools have implemented new SEL programs as part of the return to learning following COVID-19 closures. These programs include SEL screeners, SEL instruction, and interventions for students with limited evaluation and evidence of their success. This qualitative study explores what SEL data are gathered by schools and how it is integrated into the decision-making processes. Inclusive of a survey of middle school SEL screener leads then a case study of three schools in which interviews and document reviews were conducted to gather qualitative data. Findings were used be used to inform next steps in SEL data use within schools for central office and school administration to better support students.

EDD (Doctor of Education)
social and emotional learning , middle school, SEL screener, data-driven decision-making, data-informed decision-making, social emotional learning, data use
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