Growing Together: Looking Back and Moving ForwardEngage Inform
By: Dale Blyth, Teresa Borowski, and Roger Weissberg
Over three years ago our Assessment Work Group (AWG) of leaders in the field of social and emotional learning (SEL) came together to advance SEL assessment research and practice. As part of that work, AWG created the Measuring SEL Website and the variety of resources found there – including an Assessment Guide, framework briefs, yearly direct assessment design challenges, and a review of the current status and future directions for SEL assessment. Among those resources has been this weekly blog series about SEL and assessment going out to a growing number of Collaborator Network members and others internationally.
The purpose of the blog as described in its official launch was as follows:
Measuring SEL will host a series of weekly blogs that inform people about what is happening in the field, inspire new approaches through examples from the field, engage a wider range of collaborators through a growing network of people who share their views via surveys and comments, and connect people working in these areas with each other to enhance their individual and collective work.
During the last three years we produced 182 blogs by 148 authors from around the globe. Blogs covered topics from Creative Ways SEL Assessment Informs Curriculum Around the World to Promoting Equity with SEL Measurement, and much much more. We hope these blogs have succeeded in meeting our original intent and served to inform and inspire the field with ideas and illustrations of challenges and how they are actively addressed in practice. For a complete list of all the blogs and their authors you can go here.
As the number of blogs has grown, so too has the Collaborator Network of people interested in SEL and Assessment with the number of members doubled each year. The Collaborator network currently has over 3,700 active members from all 50 states and more than 60 countries, and over 4,100 people who have joined at one time or another. More than half of these members play critical roles in practice settings as well as with research.
But the Collaborator Network has not only grown, it has been engaged in ways that far exceeds national averages for reading and interacting with blog content. We averaged a 42% open rate (compared to a national average of 23%) and 22% click rate to read the full blog (compared to a 9% national average).
Funding for the AWG from the Funders’ Collaborative for Innovative Measurement formally ended in November of 2019. We have been fortunate to be able to continue the website and the blog for these many additional months. This, however, is the last of the Measuring SEL blogs.
You may have noticed that the Measuring SEL website looks a little different. Effective July 7, 2020, the website will focus on the SEL Assessment Guide to highlight for you and our network this interactive tool as you work to select and effectively use currently available assessments of students’ SEL competencies. All AWG resources previously on Measuring SEL website (e.g. reports, briefs, surveys) are now available on the new “SEL and Assessment” webpage on the CASEL website (https://casel.org/sel-assessment/).
As CASEL reflects on the impact of the Measuring SEL blog, we recognize the opportunity this channel offers to lift up best practices and strong insights from across the field. As a collaborative, CASEL is committed to continuing this effort and will be resuming a weekly blog this fall, offering a broader focus across SEL research, practice, and policy from experts across the field as well as CASEL.
The members of the AWG and CASEL are proud of all these efforts and thankful for the roles played by many in making the variety of Measuring SEL efforts happen over time. With respect to the blog, we are especially thankful for the key roles played by Dale Blyth and Teresa Borowski who co-edited the blog. We are also thankful to Pat Kyllonen who helped conceive and launch the blog series and seek out international contributions. Without them the series would have neither been possible nor of such high quality and rich diversity. In closing, we are grateful to all of you, our readers who have enabled this blog to grow and thrive. We are especially grateful for all the many authors who have allowed us to share their wisdom, perspectives, and challenges in ways that mattered and served to inform and inspire others. Perhaps it should not be surprising that we are concluding this phase of our work by asking you to complete a brief assessment with three questions: (1) How has the blog been helpful to you or impacted your thinking? (2) As CASEL explores doing a broader SEL blog moving forward, please share any suggestions or requests for topics? and (3) If you would personally like to contribute a blog for the future blog series, please indicate the topic. We firmly believe that assessment can help us continuously improve our efforts to advance SEL research, practice, and policy. We would love to hear from each of you to let us know how you have experienced this blog and what you look forward to in the future. You can offer reflections HERE.