In the past decade, there has been an increasing interest in the measurement of students’ social and emotional learning (SEL) for decision-making purposes in various educational contexts. Federal and state educational policies indicate trends in basing accountability and improvement for student learning on more than just cognitive skills. There is also an increasing emphasis on the use of these skills in college admissions decisions in addition to K-12 learning.
The use of non-cognitive measures has prompted concerns regarding the validity, reliability, and methods of interpretation for making high-stakes decisions. Standards exist that generally address the need for evidence to support these elements in an instrument. However, SEL assessments pose unique challenges due to different types of validity threats and potential fairness issues that accompany them.
This meeting’s primary goal was to bring together the most informed psychometric scholars in SEL research to synthesize what is currently known and unknown about the validity, reliability, and fairness of these measures for primarily educational uses. This knowledge was then applied to develop a list of guidelines for educators as to the most important considerations to make before selecting or using SEL assessments for decision-making purposes.