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# The Economic Value of Social and Emotional Learning

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There is a growing body of research emphasizing the advantages of teaching students social and emotional (SE) skills in school. Here we examine the economic value of these skills within a benefit-cost analysis (BCA) framework. Our examination has three parts. First, we describe how the current method of BCA must be expanded to adequately evaluate SE skills, and we identify important decisions analysts must make. Second, we review the evidence on the benefits of SE skills, again noting key methodological issues with respect to shadow pricing. Finally, we perform BCA of four selected social and emotional learning (SEL) interventions: 4Rs; Second Step, Life Skills Training; and Responsive Classroom. These analyses illustrate both methodological and empirical challenges in estimating net present values for these interventions. Even with these challenges, we find that the benefits of these interventions substantially outweigh the costs. We highlight promising areas of research for improving the application of BCA to SEL.
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... Schools that integrate a systematic process for developing students' social and emotional competencies experience an increase in academic success and improved student-teacher relationships and student behaviour (Belfield et al., 2015;Brackett et al., 2011;Durlak et al., 2011;Heckman & Kautz, 2012;Levin, 2012). It makes sense. ...
... Teachers regularly cite their departures due to a lack of support from the school community or a perceived lack of care for their wellbeing and safety. Research continues to show that an emotionally intelligent learning community has a positive impact on academic success and teacher wellbeing (Belfield et al., 2015;Brackett et al., 2011;Heckman & Kautz, 2012;Levin, 2012). ...
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The goal of every school ought to be to create a culture where teaching and learning thrive for all learners. Yet with the individual learner in mind, we frequently default to measuring the success of our schools using the same individual lens. It is timely to remember that tests of individual achievement are only one facet of the success of a school.
... In 2017, an overview of 82 SEL studies found after participating in SEL programs that student performance on standardized tests was 13 percentage points higher than control peers (Taylor, et al.). In addition, economists at Teacher's College (Belfield et al., 2015) cite an $11 long-term economic gain for every$1 spent on SEL programs and many others reference the long-term financial benefits of SEL (e.g., Deming, 2015;Cunningham & Villasenor, 2016;Almlund, 2011). ...
... Such discussion is usually in the context of claims that an education system is in need of modernisation by placing more emphasis on critical thinking and interpersonal characteristics, which are seen as being more important for current and future cohorts of students than has been the case for previous generations. As well as exerting pressure on governments to bring their national curricula into line with these '21 st century' norms, this has contributed to the development of a variety of school-based programmes, including interventions targeted at particular groups and universal programmes, that are intended to enhance students' social and emotional learning (Belfield, Bowden, Klapp, Levin, Shand & Zander, 2015;Bywater & Sharples, 2012;Durlak, Weissberg, Dymnicki, Taylor & Schllinger, 2011;Jones & Bouffard, 2012). ...
Chapter
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This chapter describes two programmes, with signifcant similarities and differences, that have been available in Ireland since 1974 (Transition Year; TY) and South Korea since 2013 (Free Year Programme; FYP). TY takes place over one full year as an integrated part of mainstream secondary education. TY students engage in developmental activities, vocational work experience, and increased interaction with the adult world. These experiences are intended to facilitate enhanced maturity and broadened horizons, supporting young people in becoming fulflled citizens. Although TY is well-established within Ireland, it is an unusual innovation internationally. However, 2013 saw the introduction of FYP, which was partially informed by TY. South Korean policy-makers recognised concern about student wellbeing and stress in a high-stakes academic environment, and challenges relating to students’ readiness for the working world. FYP is a response to those concerns. This chapter offers an overview and comparisons between the two programmes. We argue that both are founded on a eudaimonic view of wellbeing in education, aiming for more holistic and rounded student development. Significantly, both programmes emphasise community engagement and interpersonal development, alongside personal development and self-directed learning. The challenges and practices identifed offer lessons for educators in Ireland, South Korea, and other jurisdictions.
... The European Commission (2017) thus states that SEI learning contributes to a socially cohesive society based on active citizenship, equity and social justice and as part of a meaningful and balanced (cognitive and social and emotional) education represents an important way forward. The benefits of SEI learning for economic development are seen in the increased employability of students and reduced need to provide mental health services, which constitute a heavy economic burden (Belfield et al., 2015). 3 Like education in general, SEI learning is defined not as an independent area but as prerequisite and instrument for higher political goals -the social and economic development of the EU. 4 ...
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The book „Social, emotional and intercultural competencies for inclusive school environments across Europe: Relationships matter“ brings in the insights from the three-year learning process of the HAND in HAND: Social and Emotional Skills for Tolerant and Non-discriminative Societies Erasmus K3 policy experimentation project that targeted the need detected in Europe and internationally to develop inclusive societies (schools and classrooms) that allow every student to feel accepted and be able to achieve their potential, particularly in response to increasing migration trends. HAND in HAND seeks to achieve this by fostering the social, emotional and intercultural/transcultural competencies of students and school staff in the whole-school approach. The list of fundamental questions the monograph deals with are: What are social, emotional and intercultural/transcultural competencies? How do we promote them in schools? What outcomes do we expect on the individual, classroom and school level? How do we measure them and how do we evaluate the expected effects? How to assure high-quality implementation and transferability across contexts? How are these competencies established on a system level and which areas are deficient? The monograph addresses these questions, one by one, providing a holistic overview of social, emotional and intercultural/transcultural competencies that moves beyond the borders of a specific project.
... Finally, practical benefits can also be measured in terms of cost effectiveness (Belfield et al., 2015). This method leads to an overall conclusion that the return on investment for SEL programs is 11 to 1. ...
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Educators frequently hear about successful SEL programs and are then faced with answering the following questions: Should we use this program in our school? Would this new program really be helpful or worthwhile for our students? Considering a program's practical effects on student functioning helps administrators make these important decisions. This brief presents information on one way to answer these questions.
... Pete's vignette illustrates how personalized learning experiences ask students to use self-regulation and organizational skills to manage their productivity, and, in the absence of these skills, students are likely to experience greater stress and less positive outcomes. This finding resonates with the conversation that is happening nationally about the critical importance of social and emotional learning in 21st-century learning and living (Belfield et al., 2015;Bridgeland, Bruce, & Hariharan, 2013) and also suggests that personalized learning experiences, such as the HJL project described in this paper, are an especially rich opportunity to support students in developing these skills. ...
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While providing choice can be a powerful way to personalize learning for young adolescents, there is also evidence that choice can be challenging for learners. This study investigated middle school students’ (N = 72) feelings about making choices in how they learn during a personalized project. Findings include students’ self-reported enjoyment and stress associated with choice within the project as well as five student vignettes illustrating some of the variations across student experiences. Informed by this variation, we offer several implications for research and practice related to supporting students in making choices in their own learning.
Book
UNITARY DEVELOPMENTAL THEORY AND ORGANIZATION DEVELOPMENT, VOL. 2: A MODEL OF DEVELOPMENTAL LEARNING FOR CHANGE, AGILITY AND RESILIENCE Myles Sweeney BA (Psychol.), MBS (Finance), PH.D (Business & Economic Psychol.) To all Developmentalists, the failure rates for Developmental Interventions across the paradigms of Psychology, Organizational Science and Economics that range from 75% to 100% and verified beyond doubt for organizations in five dense pages in Managing Change by Burnes (2017, x-xiv), should be truly shocking; and while alarming in their own right, they also signal a fundamentally paradigmatic problem that is acknowledged across the board, e.g., in Economics where the leading Developmentalist Jeffrey Sachs refers to the paucity of the models of human-nature available to it, and on which Economics is actually based. Furthermore, across each domain, the same fundamental remedy has been prescribed – i.e., “Learning”, whether it is as Learning Life, Learning Organization, Learning Region, Learning Economy or more recently by Nobel Economist Joe Stiglitz, Learning Society which he even refers to as the only viable Government strategy. However, even though there is such external demand – as well as internal demand from prominent Psychologists such as Dan McAdams who have called for an integration of the theories from various schools to generate a normative model of personality and developmental learning – no such model has been devised – until now! UDT is a model that not only answers the need in Psychology, but is equally valid and operationalizable across each of these paradigms, i.e., for developmental analysis and intervention for people, organizations, societies and economic systems such as nations when each are defined as Micro-, Meso- and Macro- Socio-Economic Systems as well as sub-systems such as Teams or Regions. The modeling for each of the three levels of system is presented in four different volumes with Vol. 1 dedicated to the Psychology behind the model and what it brings to the discipline in practice; Vol. 2 shows how its application to Organization Development advances prevailing practice; Vol. 3 addresses Societal systems such as Family, Education and Justice; and Vol. 4 does the same for Macro-Economic Development. The model comprises a sequence of Developmental Phases through which humans naturally learn developmentally, and these phases correspond with – but also complete – existing models, whether that learning is the natural development of a young person or a developmental intervention in an organization. The model also shows how learning stalls in well-established patterns of corresponding Habituation Stages such as Groupthink in organizations which corresponds to Identification Habituation for individuals growing up within restrictive parameters of a parent’s identity. These Phases are grouped into seven Levels and from Immaturity to Maturity, they are called Inversion, Critical, Equilibrial, Operational, Complexity, Creativity and Leadership. The ultimate Level is divided into the Phases of Integrative Leadership and finally Regenerative Leadership which encompasses the ultimate expression of Maturity which is the Regenerative Eco-System whether referring to a family with that Level of parenting or an organization that seamlessly and without friction facilitates Spin-Off Enterprises, M&As, etc. Along these Phases, Construct Capabilities that are significant to a system’s purpose can be assessed, and development occurs prescriptively along these Capabilities. Failure rates are shown to be either due to interventions being overpitched relative to the previously undiagnosable Learning Level/Change-Capacity of the system, or through missing any of the Phases. UDT diagnosis optimizes Traction for interventions which also gain Sustainability from the normatively prescribed Phases. Such methodology can be used in stand-alone interventions, or to guide and offer structure to post-modern approaches such as “Dialogue” methodologies. Construct Validity is shown in the degree to which UDT corresponds with modelling from across schools such as Psychoanalysis, Behaviorism, Cognitive Psychology, and Humanist Psychology and also developmental modelling across Organizational Science and Economics. For example, in Psychology, uniquely, the three Stages of Level (1) correspond to DSM-5’s three Clusters of Personality-Disorders and adds value to understanding them. More importantly for OD, it is shown how this Level of Habituated Mindset/Culture is always a permanent drag on development in a process called Inversion that also finds common ground with established theory, and is very clearly observable in the demise of organizations, and the only defence is the internal processes of Regenerative Leadership which cyclically refreshes the developmental process for Capabilities. Other issues that are elaborated include Linear, Lateral and Integrative Mindset/Culture with each associated with different Phases of Development and Habituation patterns along the hierarchy. Newly understood is the fact that all human systems are existentially either Linear or Lateral and must build Integrative capacity as well as remaining aware of their underlying biases. While Linearity brings positives such as Purpose and Discipline, its negatives include features such as 1-Dimensionalism, Exclusive Goal Focus, Command and Control, and Red Tape across the Levels such as Self-Destructive Exploitation (1a), Autocracy (2a), Silos (2b), and finally, Bureaucracy (4b) which is the highest Level of Maturity available to Linear-based Culture, which is averse to Change and Creativity. Laterality has strengths related to Change, Social Conscience and Creativity, but is associated with deficits such as Neurotic obstruction of Goal achievement (1b), Paralysis by Analysis (1c), Chronic Inclusiveness (3), Over-Connectedness (5) and Creativity without market connectedness (6). Most significantly, Culture which is regularly cited as the main intrinsic reason for OD/CM failure and has only been so poorly understood as, e.g., “the way we do things around here” is newly defined in terms of Habituated Stages which correspond to those Cultures described in the most advanced modeling on the subject, but of course, as with all Construct Correspondence, the UDT model fills in gaps and offers a complete and operationalizable solution to the Culture problem. This line of research also critically shows that the UDT Phases are positively correlated with Returns and Productivity for organizations and nations alike. This also suggests that Culture Change which typically focuses on personal issues like Values, Assumptions, Beliefs, becomes another normative praxis-based OD intervention focusing on maturing Capabilities. UDT similarly transforms the concept of Agility which is shown as its highest three Levels. A a case study of an exemplar Agile Company is examined in detail to show how the organization’s Philosophy, Growth Patterns and prevailing functionalities map onto essential elements of the UDT modeling which ultimately offers a methodology to achieve such Agility for all organizations through their own planning, effort and intrinsic progression rather than trying to simply copy elements of such Complexity. Only 22% of organizations reach these Levels which average 30% premium, but a critical fundamental insight is the finding that systems functioning in the non-Agile Division of the Model (i.e., 78% of organizations) have limited intrinsic Integrative capacity and therefore must begin every CM/OD intervention at the beginning of the normative process rather than use a simple Next-Step strategy which is the typical prevailing approach. It is also shown how the UDT diagnosis can predict Resilience and how its developmental process builds the espoused combination with increased Agility whereby Resilience progresses from planned responses through the Phases to a capacity at Level 7 for an organization to re-invent itself as required in the face of adversity, and surely, this is the key lesson about Resilience from the Covid Pandemic. Case studies are offered to show how the UDT modeling of maturation and inversion corresponds with historical examples of both successful growth and degradation, as well as good and bad interventions. For organizations, the model is used in 3 ways: as a Discussion Tool or simple Catalyst for change; as a process of discrete Change Management; and as a more systemic diagnostic-and-developmental intervention for e.g., Team Development, Organization Development, Digital Transformation, M&A Integration, etc.; and examples are offered where the model has been successfully used for each of the three levels of intervention.
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Background Deaths from drug-related overdoses are increasing. Rural areas continue to have fewer accessible resources than urban areas. The START-SD (Stigma, Treatment, Avoidance, and Recover in Time – South Dakota) project is funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration and aims to address needs surrounding substance use disorder (SUD) in South Dakota. Pharmacists can play a key role in these efforts. Objective Describe harm reduction and prevention activities implemented through START-SD to reduce the impact of SUD in South Dakota. Practice Description The interdisciplinary team at South Dakota State University, including pharmacists and pharmacy student researchers, partnered with collaborating organizations to provide improved access to prevention, treatment, and recovery services for those impacted by SUD. Practice Innovation Given the rural and conservative nature of the state, the START-SD team utilized an innovative framework to implement harm reduction and prevention programs that other states could adopt. Evaluation Since the START-SD project utilizes evidence-based programs, evaluation focuses on the number of programs implemented and the number of people subsequently served. Data is collected and reported biannually by the team. Results The core team established and expanded an interdisciplinary consortium and advisory board. A variety of harm reduction and prevention strategies were implemented: establishing and developing partnerships with key organizations, working to increase access to harm reduction programs, facilitating educational activities and trainings, and working to reduce stigma related to SUD and harm reduction. Discussion Reducing the impact of SUD requires a broad, multifaceted approach, as well as overcoming many environmental barriers. Pharmacists and pharmacy staff are uniquely positioned to positively impact harm reduction for patients. Conclusion More work to decrease the impact of SUD is needed, particularly in rural areas. Pharmacists can play a key role in projects to increase the reach and impact of prevention, treatment, and recovery efforts.
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Exploring what is known about social and emotional learning as it applies to the educational landscape.
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Background: We report results from the first randomized trial of the Positive Action (PA) intensive family program. Eighteen families (parents and teens) were randomly assigned to receive the program, consisting of 7 weekly meetings, with parents and teens attending separate sessions for the first half of each session (90 minutes) and then attending a joint session for the second half (90 minutes). Eleven families (approximately one-third) were randomly assigned to a wait-listed control condition. Methods: We surveyed all parents before the program and at immediate posttest with 16 items assessing family conflict ( = .74), family cohesion ( = .79), and parent-child bonding ( = .75). Data were also collected from additional parents who participated in two subsequent rounds of the program. Results: Results suggest that the PA intensive family program had immediate positive effects on all three outcomes with effect sizes (Cohen’s d) between 0.34 and 0.59. Significant interactions with pretest scores for cohesion indicated stronger effects for those families at highest risk among this high-risk sample. Data from subsequent pretest-posttest only groups replicated these results. Conclusions: We conclude that this first randomized trial of the Positive Action intensive family program and the pretest-posttest replications provide results worthy of further follow-up.
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The purpose of this longitudinal study was twofold: (a) to investigate academic, behavioral, and emotional outcomes for adolescents who were followed longitudinally from middle through high school and (b) to determine if early assessment of achievement and behavior predicts academic and behavioral outcomes for adolescents who were identified as at risk for developing emotional and behavioral problems when they were in primary school. Teacher ratings and student self-reports suggested that the behavioral and emotional symptoms for this school-based sample of predominately minority adolescents (n = 212, 91% African American and/or Hispanic, 45% boys, 55% girls) decreased across time, although there was significant variability for individuals. The at-risk students in special education had significantly higher self-ratings of emotional problems than the other groups and viewed school more negatively. Assessment of reading and math achievement and teacher ratings of behavior in primary school predicted achievement and behavior through middle and high school for at-risk students. Results have implications for early identification, prevention/intervention programs, and transition planning for children and youth at risk for developing problem behaviors.
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This randomized controlled field trial examined the efficacy of the Responsive Classroom (RC) approach on student achievement. Schools (n = 24) were randomized into intervention and control conditions; 2,904 children were studied from end of second to fifth grade. Students at schools assigned to the RC condition did not outperform students at schools assigned to the control condition in math or reading achievement. Use of RC practices mediated the relation between treatment assignment and improved math and reading achievement. Effect sizes (ES) were calculated as standardized coefficients. ES relations between use of RC practices and achievement were .26 for math and .30 for reading. The RC practices and math achievement relation was greater for students with low initial math achievement (ES = .89). Results emphasize fidelity of implementation.
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With budgets squeezed at every level of government, cost-benefit analysis (CBA) holds outstanding potential for assessing the efficiency of many programs. In this first book to address the application of CBA to social policy, experts examine ten of the mo
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Purpose : There is limited research on the costs of social and emotional learning (SEL) interventions [Crowley, Jones, Greenberg, Feinberg & Spoth (2012). Resource Consumption of a Diffusion Model for Prevention Programs: The PROSPER Delivery System. Journal of Adolescent Health, 50 (3), 256–263]. This paper describes a comprehensive methodology for determining the costs of a successful universal, school-based SEL intervention that was implemented in nine public schools over 3 years. Methods : Resource costs were identified using the Cost–Procedure–Process–Outcome Analysis Model [Yates (1996). Analyzing Costs, Procedures, Processes, and Outcomes in Human Services. Thousand Oaks, CA, US: Sage Publications, Inc.; Yates (1999). Measuring and Improving Cost, Cost-Effectiveness, and Cost-Benefit for Substance Abuse Treatment Programs . No. NIH 99-4518, 135] and the ingredients model [Levin (Ed.) (1983). Cost-Effectiveness A Primer (Vol. 4). Beverly Hills, CA: Sage; Levin & McEwan (2001). Cost-Effectiveness Analysis: Methods and Applications . (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications]. This involved careful identification of resource use, finding the cost per unit for each resource by intervention activity, and ultimately calculating the total resource cost (resource use $\times$ cost per unit). Results : Our analysis estimated the overall cost of this 3-year SEL and literacy intervention to be $1,831,296 for nine schools. This averages to$67,825 yearly per school and $130 yearly for each student. The analysis estimated the first year of the intervention to be the costliest ($683,106) and then decreasing in Year 2 ($581,764) and Year 3 ($566,426). Conclusion : This research emphasizes the need to study the costs of SEL interventions. By providing a detailed and standardized methodology, this cost analysis can provide added support for implementing an effective social and emotional learning intervention in a school setting. Furthermore, it provides groundwork for more advanced cost analyses, such as a cost–effectiveness analysis or a benefit-cost analysis (BCA).
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