Social Emotional Learning: The basics

Social Emotional Learning: The basics

Many educators are talking about Social-Emotional Learning right now. At Metiri, we have been talking about it for years. Here are some of the basics.

There is no magic pill in education, no one thing that works but Social-Emotional Learning might be close.

Students with strong, social-emotional skills…

  • Have fewer behavior problems
  • Have positive attitudes toward themselves and others
  • Have less stress and anxiety
  • Have higher grades and test scores
  • Have better overall academic performance


Social-emotional learning (SEL) is a process by which students master the skills and knowledge necessary to participate, interact, and achieve.

SEL is the process of acquiring the knowledge and skills necessary to have…

  • positive relationships with others.
  • control of one’s emotions.
  • constructive goals.

SEL helps students gain the knowledge and skills they need to be able to…

  • make good decisions.
  • interact with others.
  • achieve personal goals.

Here is a visual of the many components of and contributors to SEL:

Social-Emotional Learning

Schools that have incorporated social emotional learning into daily activities have students who…

  • Have positive relationships with peers and teachers.
  • Have fewer behavior problems.
  • Have positive attitudes toward themselves and others.
  • Experience less stress and anxiety.

And, ultimately…

  • Improved academic outcomes, including better test scores and higher grades.

Available Measures

Metiri’s Social-Emotional Engagement instrument measures one outcome of SEL. It is based upon the following theory of action:

Social Emotional Learning

Social-Emotional Competence

Social-Emotional Engagement

Our measure of Social-Emotional Engagement has been used by:

  • Districts to report progress in Social-Emotional Engagement.
  • Districts to identify baseline data before working to improve Social-Emotional Engagement for all students.
  • Individual schools to identify progress overtime during and/or after professional development of focused efforts.
  • Researchers studying the impact of specific interventions aimed at improving Social-Emotional Engagement.
  • Private companies that are identifying different ways that their products and tools impact Social-Emotional Engagement for all students.

Metiri Group provides professional development, online courses, and effective measures of Social-Emotional Engagement. To learn more about our work, the valid and reliable measures that we have available, and our process for administrating those measures, please contact Cheryl Lemke.