Masters Thesis

Educating the Whole Student: An Analysis of Social Emotional Learning Impact

This study is an analysis on ways Social Emotional Learning (SEL) programs and services support student achievement. The purpose of this study is to create a synthesis of nine SEL curricula studied from three existing SEL programs to provide positive characteristics of an SEL program that schools could implement. The significance of this study is to have it serve as a blueprint to help create best practices and implementation of SEL programs for schools and educators. The three SEL programs used in the study were 1) Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies (PATHS), 2) You Can Do It! (YCDI), and 3) Strong Kids. This study was conducted utilizing a qualitative systematic review methodology to thoroughly examine nine SEL curricula to give school leaders and educators quick access to the abundance of literature review, lessen the excessive dependence on single studies, and show contrasting findings from different research studies. Extensive research on SEL programs found seven characteristics of effective SEL program practices. Findings on impact of SEL on student achievement were categorized into three grade-specific groups. These findings revealed students in the treatment groups were more socially and emotionally competent, had better academic performance, and gained more positive relationships with their peers and adults compared to students in the control groups. The results of findings from the nine SEL curricula studied will hopefully help schools and educators in starting to think about implementing an SEL program at their school site.