Demystifying Social-Emotional Learning: How Measuring SEL Skills Affects Classroom Achievement and Beyond

A growing number of researchers, educators, and policymakers agree that social and emotional learning (SEL, or noncognitive) is essential for a wide range of outcomes in academic and life success. Decades of research have shown that attention to SEL predicts many important outcomes across different ages, countries, and cultures:
  • 77% of teachers say that strong SEL skills improve academic performance
  • 87% of teachers believe that SEL is a major benefit in preparing students for the workforce
  • On average, every $1 invested in SEL-development programs yields $11 in long-term benefits, ranging from reduced juvenile crime, higher lifetime earnings, and better mental and physical health
Join us for an engaging discussion on important SEL research, policy, and emerging practice that can have very positive effects on K-12 educators and students. Topics will include:
  • How measuring SEL skills is elevated by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)
  • How these factors predict academic outcomes, including achievement, retention, and citizenship behaviors; as well as how these expand into indicators of college and career readiness
  • How to integrate various SEL frameworks into a comprehensive model, with various crosswalks
  • How to best measure these skills, with coverage of new measurement paradigms that represent advances over traditional self-report assessments
  • A brief introduction to ACT® Tessera, a noncognitive assessment that uses a holistic approach to measuring college and career readiness with data and tools to intervene on these skills, should issues emerge


Date: June 29, 2017
Time: Noon ET / 9 a.m. PT
Duration: 60 minutes
Who should attend: K-12 assessment directors, curriculum directors, principals, superintendents, educators, and counselors

Richard Roberts
Richard D. Roberts, Ph.D. is Vice President and Chief Scientist at the Center for Innovative Assessments of Professional Examination Service (ProExam, an ACT-affiliated company based in New York City). A former National Research Council Fellow who conducted research at Brooks Air Force Base (1996-1998), he has also been a Senior Lecturer at The University of Sydney (1998-2003) and a Managing Principal Research Scientist at Educational Testing Service (2003-2014). Across these various organizations, he has worked on traditional human assessments such as the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB), as well as new assessments related to big data, the gamification of education, multimedia assessments, cross-cultural competence, cognitive biases (i.e., thinking fast, thinking slow), critical thinking, teamwork and collaboration, and workforce readiness.

His main area of specialization is measurement, with a special emphasis on developing and researching innovative new item types for the assessment of both cognitive and noncognitive factors, as well as constructs that have elements that straddle these two domains (e.g., emotional intelligence). He is one of the primary architects behind ACT Tessera—a noncognitive assessment for middle and high school students—which he and colleagues continue to develop and provide evidence to support its various claims.

Jeremy Burrus
Jeremy Burrus, PhD, is a Principal Research Scientist in ProExam’s Center for Innovative Assessments. Before coming to ProExam, he was a Principal Research Scientist at ACT and a Research Scientist at Educational Testing Service. He graduated with a PhD in social psychology from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, in 2006 and was a post-doctoral research scholar at Columbia Business School in New York City from 2006-2008.

His main research interests are developing innovative assessments of noncognitive constructs, cognitive biases, and cross-cultural competence. He has written more than 40 journal articles, book chapters, research reports, and books either published or in press. In addition, he has won research grants to develop assessments of cross-cultural competence and cognitive biases. In 2011, he won an ETS Presidential Award. He works on development and review of ACT Tessera items, development of feedback reports, and development of playbook activities.