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Office of Planning and Research

Social and Emotional Learning Indicator System (SELIS) Survey Pilot Project: Year 1


The Social and Emotional Learning Indicator System (SELIS) pilot project is a partnership between DESE and 10 Massachusetts districts. The districts represent all regions of Massachusetts and vary from small to large in size. 82 schools and 16,039 students in grades 3 through 12 participated in the project. SELIS is a strength-based assessment of students' core social and emotional (SE) competencies. SELIS data helps educators support students' identities, leverage students' social and emotional (SE) strengths, and plan supports for students' SE competency skills in need of development. SELIS's tiered data system is designed to inform districts' multi-tiered systems of supports (MTSS) with the degree of support offered dependent on students' SE needs.

SELIS is a student self-report survey that measures five core SE competencies (self-awareness, self-management, social-awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making skills). It is based on the Social and Emotional Competency Assessment developed and validated by a team of researchers, practitioners, and the Collaborative of Academic and Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL). SELIS pulls from CASEL's conceptual framework for social and emotional learning. Supported by the federal grant, Integrating Social and Emotional Learning into Academic Learning, DESE partnered with the 10 districts to pilot the SELIS tool starting in the 2020 - 2021 school year; this collaboration is ongoing.

SELIS Measure

Participating students shared their views on their abilities related to several SE skills that are associated with each of the five core SE competencies. CASEL's definition and skill descriptions for each core competency measured by SELIS is as follows:

Self-Awareness (SA)Self-Management (SM)Social Awareness (SOC)Relationship Skills (RSK)Responsible Decision-making (RDM)
The abilities to understand one's emotions, thoughts, and values and how they influence behavior across contexts. The abilities to manage one's emotions, thoughts, and behaviors effectively in different situations and to achieve goals and aspirations. The abilities to understand the perspectives of and empathize with others, including those from diverse backgrounds, cultures, and contexts. The abilities to establish and maintain healthy and supportive relationships and to effectively navigate settings with diverse individuals and groups. The abilities to make caring and constructive choices about personal behavior and social interactions across diverse situations.
Source: CASEL framework (SEL Wheel) includes a more detailed description of each of the five core competencies.

Upcoming Events

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SELIS Survey Findings

Executive Summary and Descriptive Reports

SELIS Webinar

Educators from five districts present on how SELIS data informs their social and emotional learning strategic plans and multi-tiered systems of support, and how they use the data to support students' social and emotional well-being.

SELIS Guidance Materials

SELIS User Guide

This user guide is provided to help educators understand the basics of what they need to know about the Social and Emotional Learning Indicator System (SELIS) survey, data, and dashboard. This guide's focus is to help schools and districts make meaning of their SELIS data.

Social and Emotional Abilities Profiles

Narratives of student responses at 5 benchmark scores (at 300, 400, 500, 600, and 700 on the scale of 1 to 999). Narratives are provided for each of the 5-core social and emotional competencies.

Narrative Profiles

SELIS Survey Item Prompts

Students in grades 3 to 5 responded to 45 items in total; students in grades 6 to 8 and in grades 9 to 12 responded to 48 and 50 items, respectively. Forty-one items were common across all grades and these items were used to anchor all 61 items and all students to the same scale metric. The remaining 20 items were distributed and unique to each grade span. Students responded, "Very easy", "Easy", "Hard", or "Very hard" to each item statement (e.g., Staying calm when I feel stressed).

Last Updated: July 7, 2023

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