Social Emotional Learning Assessment Tools: Keeping a Pulse on Students

Educator Impact

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Too often, the “pulse” of a school is measured by school leaders who claim that they can measure the health of a school culture by entering the building and getting a “feel” for the building. This would be like a doctor coming into the exam room, glancing at the patient, and telling them that they have a good pulse. That said, we can understand what is meant by this. When those within a school building show care for one another, it creates a “feel” to the school. This might be a teacher or secretary greeting parents warmly, or it could be a student asking a visitor if they need assistance. This concern for the wellbeing of others creates a positive culture and generates this “feel” that leaders describe.

But schools need to be more intentional and scientific in their approach to measuring the wellbeing of the school building. Feedback about the health of the system is required. This is where social emotional learning assessment tools become essential for supporting students.

Different SEL assessments measure different things. For physical health, a doctor will take the patient’s temperature, pulse, and blood pressure. Each measurement provides feedback on the major body systems that need attention. The health of a school building is similar: different assessment tools can measure the major components of social emotional learning. These need to measure the right factors, with the right tools, in the right way, to be successful.

In the medical world, these are referred to as “vital” signs. They are the first major pieces of information that professionals use to assess the health of a patient. Schools also have “vital signs.” Factors like absenteeism for staff and students, behavior referrals, and visits to the health room can display a quick snapshot of the school culture.

There are other social emotional learning assessment tools that can gather vital feedback from staff and students. Tools like ei Pulse focus on the most influential factors of school culture: student and staff wellbeing. Much like the tools that doctors use, ei Pulse is systematic and simple, and the information gathered is actionable as soon as it is gathered. Teachers and school leaders know how impactful these assessments can be in a school.

Having the correct training for both gathering and acting on this information is crucial too. For example, it is not helpful for nurses to take a temperature incorrectly or not know what to do with the information. Both are harmful to the patient. The same is true of social emotional learning assessment tools: they must be used correctly. When teachers administer ei Pulse to their students, the culture of care is created through the follow-through and support of students. Through intervention, support groups, and individualized attention to their needs, schools can take the information gathered and make it actionable. For further training resources on this process, teachers can use various tools to support their professional learning.

Having the correct training with the correct tools allows leaders and teachers to keep the “pulse” of the building. Measuring the health of a school culture requires the proper measurements taken with the proper tools at the proper times. ei Pulse meets all three of these needs through the weekly check-ins that students can complete. Each student can provide individualized feedback to their teacher about their own wellbeing. This “vital sign” will become the critical factor for schools as they implement the tool. By using the right social emotional learning assessment tools, everyone can maintain a healthy and productive school.

Here at Educator Impact, we help school leaders keep a pulse on their students’ wellbeing and empower them with tools that leverage real-time student insights to inform SEL strategies, identify which students need further support, and enable them to continually improve their SEL initiatives.

To see how we can help you do the same for your school community, feel free to reach out to our SEL and wellbeing experts today!