You can’t run a Google search for “student testing” without turning up over half a billion references, almost all about the swirling waters around standardized tests and their pros and cons. And yet, a recent article in The New York Times describes another growing movement to help students succeed: understanding, teaching and measuring K-12 students’ emotional and social skills.
It’s about time. Educators have long known that measuring the 3Rs only evaluates a part of what makes students successful. Not only do we know that having engaged parents makes a huge difference, but a growing body of evidence also shows how building strong social skills as early as kindergarten can have a dramatic impact on success and satisfaction later in life.
Organizations like CASEL (Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning) and ASCD (Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development) are hard at work integrating this important focus on emotional and social intelligence in their programs.
It makes sense. We all have learned through experience how important social and emotional behavior skills are in getting along in life. Now there is empirical evidence that focusing on these skills in the classroom serves our students well.
At Human eSources, we’ve long believed that increasing self-awareness of their personality, preferences, skills and talents brings students tremendous confidence in their ability to navigate the everyday challenges they face. Our products have helped millions of K-12 students understand how to leverage their strengths, gain clarity over their school and career goals and find greater satisfaction in the classroom and in life.
If you are a parent of a K-12 student and are interested in your school addressing the needs of the “whole child”, ask your school or district the following questions:
- What specific programs that address social and emotional skills are present in your K-12 curriculum?
- Does your school or district have any ties with CASEL or ASCD and what are they? If not, why not?
- Does your school have a student-to-counselor ratio of 250:1 or lower (as recommended by The American School Counselor Association)? If not, your school may not have enough resources to serve each student properly.
- Does your parent association have social/emotional development on its agenda for addressing student needs?
- Are there plans to implement social/emotional development in your student’s school? Is there a parent advisory board assisting in implementation — and how can you get involved?
There’s a lot of controversy over student testing out there. It’s time to recognize how important social/emotional development is to student success, and to make sure our schools are providing as much support as possible. Let’s make it happen.