Teaching Social Skills Means Assessing Them, Too

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SEATTLE, April 24, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Research is showing more and more positive effects of social-emotional learning (SEL), making it an imperative part of school curriculum. But just like math and reading programs, it's important to assess whether students are truly learning what they're being taught.

Seattle nonprofit Committee for Children, creators of the research-based Second Step SEL program, is now partnering with publishers Apperson, Inc. and Pride Surveys to bring schools dependable tools they can use to evaluate what their students are learning in the Second Step program.

Apperson, a trusted provider of performance assessment measures since 1955, is releasing the K-5: Apperson SEL + Compass Online Assessment System. It allows educators to automatically score and track changes in social-emotional competencies at the individual, class, and school level using the Devereux Student Strengths Assessment: Second Step Edition (DESSA-SSE), a 36-item behavior rating system for K-5 students.

Bill Apperson, Board Chairman at Apperson, Inc, feels the partnership is a natural fit: "Combining the Second Step program with Devereux's DESSA-SSE assessment solves a critical need to drive social and emotional growth in school-age children and measure their progress longitudinally. We are thrilled to publish the DESSA-SSE and partner with Committee for Children to offer this valuable assessment tool to Second Step schools."

Founded in 1982, Pride Surveys has a strong track record of measuring behavior on many crucial issues that can affect student learning, such as drug and alcohol use, family, discipline, and school climate. In keeping with that tradition, Pride has created the Social, Emotional, and Bullying Behavior Survey (SEBBS) for use in middle schools. With the SEBBS, educators can assess their students' pre- and post-knowledge and skills gained from the Second Step middle school program. Designed to establish baseline data and track improvements, this survey asks questions aligned with curriculum objectives.
It's a clear outcome of the two organizations' objectives, says Jay Gleaton, CEO of Pride Surveys: "Pride Surveys is proud to partner with Committee for Children on our newest survey. We are excited that we could work together to help both organizations make a difference in education."

Joan Cole Duffell, executive director of Committee for Children, says that the benefit of these partnerships will be felt most by educators as well as the students and families they serve. "We are excited to join forces with both of these stellar organizations, to shed light on the progress Second Step students are making in key social and emotional domains. Because the Second Step program is the national leader in evidence-based social-emotional programming, while Apperson and Pride are equally strong players in in the student assessment field, this partnership stands to make SEL a much more visible and valuable aspect of a well-rounded education; one that prepares children for success in school, the future workplace, and life."

About Committee for Children

Seattle-based nonprofit Committee for Children's research-based educational programs, including the award-winning Second Step program, teach social-emotional skills to prevent bullying, violence, and abuse and improve academics. Their curricula are used in over 25,000 schools across the United States and around the world. To learn more, go to www.cfchildren.org.

CONTACT: Allison Wedell Schumacher, Committee for Children 206-438-6432 (o), 206-778-2537 (c) aschumacher@cfchildren.org

Source: Committee for Children