School districts tend to rely solely on academic measures to identify students who are struggling or “at-risk” of poor academic outcomes such as not graduating or being college ready. Researchers at the Regional Education Laboratory (REL) Mid-Atlantic wondered if adding measures of school climate and social and emotional learning (SEL) competencies might improve the accuracy of early warning systems, or if existing academic measures sufficiently capture the elements of SEL and school climate. Using survey data from the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS), they found that adding SEL and school climate measures did not substantially improve the accuracy of identifying students at risk of not being college ready. These findings suggest that it may not be worth the time and expense for school districts to add new measures of SEL competencies and school climate into their early warning systems. However, authors note that these measures provide depth that may help districts better understand how to support students who are identified as struggling.
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