NWEA Researchers Share Prize for Social-Emotional Learning Measurement

NWEA Researchers Share Prize for Social-Emotional Learning MeasurementThis August, two of our research scientists here at NWEA, Jim Soland and Nate Jensen, won first place in the Social-Emotional Assessment Design Challenge sponsored by CASEL (the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning). Soland and Jensen conducted a study on measuring social-emotional learning with NWEA partner district Santa Ana Unified School District (SAUSD) in California. This past week, NWEA donated the $5,000 award prize to SAUSD, who will use it for student scholarships.

In the study with SAUSD, Soland and Jensen examined how students’ “rapid guessing” behavior on assessments can be used as a proxy for measuring social-emotional learning (SEL) competencies. Rapid guessing behavior is when students respond to test items too quickly to comprehend the question. Extensive research, conducted by NWEA senior research fellow Steve Wise, links rapid guessing behavior to a lack of student engagement on an assessment. (You can read more about Wise’s research in this post.)

Based on this research, Soland and Jensen studied rapid guessing behavior on NWEA’s MAP Growth assessment and found that it directly correlates to the social-emotional constructs of self-management and self-regulation. Students who demonstrated a pattern of rapid guessing also demonstrated a lower ability to self-manage and self-regulate in school. You can read more about the research study with Santa Ana in Soland’s post here on the CASEL blog.

Soland and Jensen have had several opportunities to write and discuss the social-emotional learning study with other researchers, educators, and policymakers. For more, check out these stories:


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