‘From Practice to Policy’ brief offers deeper understanding of SEL and its implications student achievement and for policymaking

 Arlington, Va. — The recognized need for public schools to support students in areas beyond academics is not new, but recent developments in social-emotional learning (SEL) go beyond what has come before—and are starting to show improvements in both student behavior and academic outcomes. “Social-Emotional Learning,” the first issue in the new series of From Practice to Policy policy briefs from the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE), looks at the scope of SEL policies and initiatives in states that promote students’ social-emotional well-being and character growth.

The basic premise behind the newest generation of SEL practices is that as people enhance their skills in such competencies as self awareness, self management, responsible decisionmaking, and relationship skills, they become better at managing personal and professional (or schoolyard and academic) relationships. Advocates believe—and research is beginning to demonstrate—that students with these skills will be less likely to have discipline issues or engage in bullying or other destructive behaviors, that teachers trained in SEL practices can create safer, more supportive and engaged classroom environments, and that student achievement will show small but significant gains. In addition, many of these social-emotional skills directly relate to personal qualities most employers say they want to see in their workers.

From Practice to Policy was conceived as a new resource to help state board members and the education community at large better understand promising practices in school reform and see how these practices can be advanced through policy.

“Just as more attention is now paid to the link between students’ physical health and academic achievement, it is fitting that the SEL is also coming to the fore,” said NASBE Executive Director Kristen Amundson. “Educators and policymakers know that a student’s social and emotional health can have a significant impact on learning. It is fitting that SEL is the focus of the first From Practice to Policy.”


The National Association of State Boards of Education represents America’s state and territorial boards of education. NASBE exists to strengthen State Boards as the preeminent educational policymaking bodies for citizens and students. For more, visit www.nasbe.org.