Why We Should be Measuring Social-Emotional Well Being

Amid schools' increased focus on students' social-emotional development, researchers and educators are asking two questions: Can helping students on this front improve their chances of success? And are student surveys an appropriate way of measuring social-emotional development? A new working paper sheds light on both questions. Northwestern University professor Kirabo Jackson and his research partners—Shanette C. Porter, John Q. Easton, Alyssa Blanchard and Sebastian Kiguel—found that Chicago high schools that excel at improving certain social-emotional measures also saw improvement in such results as grades, attendance and graduation rates. FutureEd's Phyllis W. Jordan talked with Jackson, a FutureEd research advisor, about the findings. Can you tell us how you conducted this research and how you rated different schools? Jackson: We classified schools in three different ways. We looked at schools' effects on test scores and we used that as our traditional measure of school quality.

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