The Impact of SEL Broadly Defined in Schools

It is essential to define student achievement as a balance between academic, social-emotional, and ethical skills in order for students to be adequately prepared for the tests of life. Schools that embrace social-emotional learning, character development, and a positive culture and climate accrue many of the following benefits: enhanced social-emotional skills in students and staff; improved attitudes about self, others, and the school; increased positive classroom behavior and civic engagement; gains of up to 11 percentile-points on standardized tests; reduction in conduct problems, aggressive behavior, and emotional distress; improvement in staff morale, and decreased staff turnover.[1] 

[1] Source: Durlak, J.A., Weissberg, R.P., Dymnicki, A.B., Taylor, R.D., & Schellinger, K. (2011). The Impact of Enhancing Students’ Social and Emotional Learning: A Meta-Analysis of School-Based Universal Interventions. Child Development.  (available at and M. Berkowitz & M. Bier, What works in character education. (Washington, DC: Character Education Partnership, 2006) (available at 


The Impact of SEL on Workforce Readiness

Businesses and corporations now understand the importance of SEL for their workforce.  Managers are looking for employees with good emotional, communication, problem solving, and interpersonal skills. A recent survey that measured a variety of competencies associated with leadership performance, including those commonly referred to as Emotional Intelligence, showed that the highest performing managers had significantly more “emotional competence” than other managers.[1]  In 2016, the World Economic Forum redefined global workforce preparation to include SEL as an integral skill.

 [1] Cavallo, K. & Brienza, D. (2018). Emotional competence and leadership excellence at Johnson & Johnson. The emotional intelligence and leadership study.  New Brunswick, NJ: Consortium for Research on Emotional Intelligence in Organizations, Rutgers University.