Past Program

Dec 04 - Dec 09, 2016

Getting Smart: Measuring and Evaluating Social and Emotional Skills


Salzburg Global's multi-year series on Education for Tomorrow's World seeks to address systemic challenges and opportunities for re-shaping education to prepare for the societies and work of the future. New technologies and artificial intelligence are taking us faster towards a post-industrial world in countries at all stages of economic development, with standardized teaching systems and metrics increasingly called into question. Young people across the social spectrum urgently need skills and support networks to realize their potential throughout their life-paths, and to optimize their health and wellbeing as work patterns change. Such needs are most acute for marginalized groups at risk of exclusion across generations and for many young people with migrant or refugee backgrounds.

The 2016 session is the second international meeting in this interdisciplinary series, which supports collaborative action to advance the United Nations' 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It will build on the outcomes of Salzburg Global's 2015 session on 'Untapped Talent: Can better testing and data accelerate creativity in learning and societies?', which explored the need for new approaches in assessment science, practice and predictive analytics.

While most national educational systems appear to pay greater attention to academic, technical and vocational skills, emerging evidence in education, psychology, neuroscience and economics suggests that social and emotional (SEL) skills can also be measured and developed to help improve academic achievement, reduce negative behaviors, and enrich interpersonal relationships. More systematic approaches to cultivating SEL skills could therefore have long-term benefits for learners, schools and colleges, and workplaces. To put such approaches in place, reliable data and relevant standardized testing and assessment frameworks will be essential.

Now is a great moment to bring social and emotional learning back to the centre of learning, where it belongs. This may, however, require adjustments in our education systems which can only be effectively done through in-depth reflections on the evidence, mapping hurdles and opportunities on a global scale, and involvement of key stakeholders across sectors and scales.

Key Themes and Questions

  • What are the political, organizational and financial constraints that education leaders face in promoting social and emotional learning?
  • How strong is the evidence base for social and emotional learning? Where is further research most urgent?
  • How do we best measure social and emotional skills?
  • Which further practical tools are needed for scaled-up implementation?
  • What are the next steps that education leaders and other stakeholders can take to leverage opportunities for social and emotional learning and enhance support to children, particularly those in adversity?



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May 10, 2017

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Mar 10, 2017

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Jan 12, 2017

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Dec 19, 2016

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Dec 08, 2016

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Dec 08, 2016

Ayelet Giladi - SEL Is Important for Everyone

Dec 07, 2016

Should SEL Be Measured and Assessed? If So, How?

Dec 07, 2016

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Dec 06, 2016

Who Should Take the Lead and Be Responsible for Children's SEL Development?

Dec 06, 2016

Graham Robb – “You’re Giving a Language to Children to Think About Constructive Ways to Manage Their Conflicts or Turmoil”

Dec 05, 2016

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Dec 05, 2016

Hot Topic - What Is "Social and Emotional Learning" and from What Age Should It Be Developed?

Dec 04, 2016

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Dec 04, 2016

Getting Smart - Measuring and Evaluating Social and Emotional Skills

Session Report

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Session Videos

Session Newsletters

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Day 4

Days 1 to 4

Suggested Readings

Arney, Kat. "The Myth of Character Education." TES Investigation, 2016.

Burde, Dana et al. Phase One Outcomes Report: The Assessment of Learning Outcomes and Social Effects on Community-Based Education: A Randomized Field Experiment in Afghanistan. USAID, 2016. 

Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning. Casel Guide: Effective Social and Emotional Learning Programs. Middle and High School Edition, 2015.

Cefai, Carmel and Liberato Camilleri. Building Resilience in School Children: Risk and Promotive Factors Amongst Maltese Primary School Pupils. Malta: European Centre for Educational Resilience and Socio-Emotional Health, University of Malta, 2011.

Cefai, Carmel and Natalie Galea. Children’s Worlds: The Subjective Wellbeing of Maltese Children. Malta: Centre for Resilience and Socio-Emotional Health, University of Malta, 2016.

Cefair, Carmel et al. "From Pisa to Santander: A Statement on Children's Growth and Wellbeing." The International Journal of Emotional Education Vol 6, No 2, 2014.

Clark, Aleisha M., Silvia Morreale et al. What Works in Enhancing Social and Emotional Skills during Childhood and Adolescence? A Review of the Evidence on the Effectiveness of School-based and Out-of-school Programmes in the UK. Galway: WHO Collaborating Centre for Health Promotion Research, 2015.

Center for Innovative Assessments, Professional Examination Service. Tessera Comprehensive Theory of Action. 2016.

Cordero, Carolina Flores.Evaluacion y rendicion de cuentas con indicadores del desarrollo personal y social en el sistema educativo en Chile. Agencia de Calidad de la Educacion, 2016.

Cowie, Helen. “Cyberbullying and its Impact on Young People’s Emotional Health and Well-being.” The Psychiatrist 37 (2013).

Cowie, Helen & Pat Colliety. “Cyberbullying: Sanctions or Sensitivity?” Pastoral Care in Education 28, no. 4 (2010).

Cowie, Helen. “Peer Support as an Intervention to Counteract School Bullying: Listen to the Children.” Children & Society 25 (2011).

Cowie, Helen, Carmen Huser and Carrie-Anne Myers. “The Use of Participatory Methods in Researching the Experiences of Children and Young People.” Croatian Journal of Education 16, Sp. Ed. No. 2 (2014).

Cowie, Helen & Pat Colliety. “Who Cares About the Bullies?” Pastoral Care in Education 34, no. 1 (2016).

De Fruyt, Filip et al. Plasticity of Socio-Emotional Skills: Age Differences During Adolescence. Brazil: Instituto Ayrton Senna, 2014.

Duckworth, Angela and David Yeager. Measurement Matters: Assessing Personal Qualities Other than Cognitive Ability for Educational Purposes.Educational Researcher Vol 44 No 4, 2015.

Education Endowment Foundation. Social and Emotional Learning, 2016.

International Journal of Emotional Education.

Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies. INEE Background Paper on Psychosocial Support and Social and Emotional Learning for Children and Youth in Emergency Settings. New York: INEE, 2016.

Jennifer, Dawn and Helen Cowie. “Listening to Children’s Voices: Moral Emotional Attributions in Relation to Primary School Bullying.” Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties 12, no. 3-4 (2012).

Kaminski, Jennifer Wyatt et al. A Meta-analytic Review of Components Associated with Parent Training Porgram Effectiveness.Journal of Abnormal Psychology Vol 36, Is 4, 2008.

Lai, Emily R. and Michaela Viering. Assessing 21st Century Skills: Integrating Research Findings. Vancouver: National Council on Measurement in Education, 2012.

Lippman, Laura H., Renee Ryberg, et. al. Workforce Connections: Key "Soft Skills" that Foster Youth Workforce Success: Toward a Consensus Across Fields. Child Trends and USAID, 2015.

Lipnevich, Anastasiya A., et al. “Assessing Non-Cognitive Constructs in Education: A Review of Traditional and Innovative Approaches.” In The Oxford Handbook of Child Psychological Assessment. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.

Meleisea, Ellie (ed.). School and Teaching Practices for Twenty-first Century Challenges: Lessons from the Asia-Pacific Region. Paris: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, 2016.

Miyamoto, Koji et al. "Fostering Social and Emotional Skills for Well-Being and Social Progress." European Journal of Education Vol 50 No 2, 2015.

Muskin, Joshua. (2015, June 18). What will the sustainable development goals really mean for education? (Part I) [Blog post].

Muskin, Joshua. (2015, July 117). Quality and the SDGs: What will this mean for education? (Part II)[Blog post].

Naylor, Paul P., Helen Cowie, et al. “Impact of a Mental Health Teaching Programme on Adolescents.” The British Journal of Psychiatry 194 (2009).

Pellegrino, James W. and Margaret L. Hilton (eds.). Education for Life and Work: Developing Transferable Knowledge and Skills in the 21st Century. Washington: The National Academies Press, 2012.

Pelletier, Janette and Julaine Brent. Parent Participation in Children School Readiness: The Effects of Parental Self-Efficacy, Cultural Diversity and Teacher Strategies. IJEC Vol 34 Is 1, 2002.

Primi, Ricardo, Daniel Santos et al. Development of an inventory Assessing Social and Emotional Skills in Brazilian Youth. European Journal of Psychological Assessment 32, 2016, 5-16.

Primi, Ricardo, Daniel Santos et al. Mapping Self-Report Questionnaires for Socio-Emotional Characteristics: What do the measure? Paper presented at the symposium "Socioemotional characteristics in the United States and Brazil: Structure, measures, change, and school effects", Washington, D.C.

Primi, Ricardo, Cristian Zanon et al. Anchoring Vignettes: Can They Make Adolescent Self-Reports of Social Emotional Skills More Reliable, Discriminant, and Criterion-Valid? European Journal of Psychological Assessment 32, 2016, 39-51.

Restorative Justice Council. Restorative Practice in Schools. 2016.

Roberts, Richard D., et al. A Rosetta Stone for Noncognitive Skills: Understanding, Assessing, and Enhancing Noncognitive Skills in Primary and Secondary Education. Asia Society and the Professional Examination Service, 2015.

Santos, Daniel and Ricardo Primi. Desenvolvimento socioemocional e aprendizado escolar: Uma proposta de mensuração para apoiar políticas públicas. São Paul: Instituto Ayrton Senna, 2014.

Santos, Daniel, Karen Oliani et al (2016, April). Violence in the School Surroundings and Its Eddect on Social and Emotional Traits. Paper presented at the symposium "Socioemotional characteristics in the United States and Brazil: Structure, measures, change, and school effects", Washington, D.C.

Sloan, Seaneen, et al. The Impact and Cost-Effectiveness of Nurture Groups in Primary Schools in Northern Ireland. Belfast: Centre for Effective Education, 2016.

The British Council. 2016. Core Skills for Learning, Work and Society. N.P.

University of Malta. Centre for Resilience & Social-Emotional Health Publications.

Van Voorhis, Frances et al. The Impact of Family Involvement on the Education of Children Ages 3 to 8: A Focus on Literacy and Math Achievement Outcomes and Social-Emotional Skills. MDRC, 2013.