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Insights for policy makers and educators

The Study gathers empirical evidence on social and emotional skills of school-aged children. It aims to provide relevant information for policy makers and educators about the conditions and practices that foster or hinder students’ social and emotional skills development in different contexts. The Study does this by validly and reliably assessing a broad set of social and emotional skills, and by collecting a comprehensive set of information on students’ environment in school, within their family and community.

How can the Study on Social and Emotional Skills help policy?

The overall goal of the Study on Social and Emotional Skills is to assist cities and countries to better support the development of their students’ social and emotional skills. It builds on the premise that a holistic approach - promoting both cognitive and non-cognitive development - is best suited to enable children to fulfil their potential.

The Study can identify policies, practices and environmental conditions, both in and outside of the school, that are associated with these critical skills’ development. This information can help policy makers and educators discern gaps or lags in skill development that could be addressed through curricula, changes to the schools’ cultural context, or by encouraging schools to work more closely with parents. It can also provide an assessment tool for policy makers and education practitioners to use to monitor the development of students’ social and emotional skills and could measure the impacts of changes in policies or practices on these skills.

What kind of policy insights can the Study provide?

The Study’s general analytical approach aims to simplify complex interactions between a range of skills, contextual factors and life-outcomes, addressing two topics of interest to policy makers.

► Which contextual factors promote or hinder skill development?

► How do each of the 15 skills assessed relate to various life outcomes?

What questions regarding skill development and student outcomes does the Study answer?

When thinking about factors that might promote or hinder social and emotional development, the Study responds to the following questions:

► How does the distribution of social and emotional skills across gender, immigration background or socio-economic status in my jurisdiction differ from that found in other international education settings? And what policy actions would reduce skill disparities across disadvantaged groups of students based on the evidence?

► How do family characteristics and activities that influence social and emotional skills in other participating jurisdictions differ from the characteristics found at my site?

► Which aspects of school environment are found to consistently influence skill development across all sites? How do these findings compare to those found in my jurisdiction?

► How do school policies promoting students’ social and emotional skills development translate into students acquiring those skills?

► How do peer and community networks affect skill development across different sites? How does it compare with the situation in my city?

► What role does school climate (as measured by frequency of bullying, promoting collaboration, etc.) play in social and emotional skills development?

► How much do children’s development depend on how closely parents’ views are aligned with those of the school?

Participating cites and countries will be able to compare how different social and emotional skills relate to various life outcomes across sites, enabling policy makers to answer:

► Which social and emotional skills influence students’ learning and social outcomes, such as academic achievement, civic participation, conduct, health, life satisfaction and overall well-being?

► What are the similarities and differences between social and emotional skills and various life outcomes across 10- and 15-year-old students?

► Are students' outcomes more influenced by their social and emotional skills in other cities? What could be reasons for this? How can sites improve students’ life outcomes using this international comparative evidence?

Why is an international perspective important?

Participating cities and countries will be able to compare their results with the international average and those from other participating sites. This international perspective offers policy makers an opportunity to venture beyond results in their local context and gain important insights about differences in structural relations across participating sites and possible reasons for those differences. This allows for a more comprehensive and in depth examination of how relationships between students’ environments, skills and outcomes vary across different cultural and institutional settings, helping shape policy in a more informed and contextually appropriate way.

Find out more about the methodology used to assess these skills and collect the contextual information >>