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In Their Own Words: Scholars on social and emotional skills and summer



In Their Own Words: What Scholars Say About Social-Emotional Skill Development in Summer Abstract Summer learning programs have enormous potential to positively impact social-emotional skill development in youth. BellXcel supports the whole child with a comprehensive and evidence-based social- emotional learning (SEL) approach focused on six key skill areas: growth mindset, self-awareness, self-regulation, responsible decision making, social awareness, and interpersonal skills. While research shows that SEL interventions during the school year are having a positive impact on youth, is five or six weeks of summer programming long enough to also positively impact SEL development in youth? To measure growth in SEL skills, BellXcel administers the Partnerships in Education and Resilience (PEAR) Holistic Student Assessment (HSA) at the end of the program to scholars in Grades 4 and higher. In addition to the HSA questions, BellXcel administers additional survey questions, including open-ended questions asking scholars to list one or two ways in which they’ve improved during the summer program. To explore the question of impact in SEL skills during a five- or six-week summer program, BellXcel analyzed quantitative and qualitative survey results.

Quantitative results from the HSA survey questions showed strong, statistically significant growth across the six BellXcel SEL skill areas. To complement the quantitative survey results, BellXcel conducted an in-depth qualitative analysis of the open-ended survey results to highlight specific areas of growth according to the scholars’ own words.

This analysis uncovered a depth of insights about how scholars are responding to BellXcel’s summer SEL programming, including:

The analysis also showed the power of infusing SEL into every component and activity of a program. Numerous scholars spoke to their experience of SEL skill development in a math or literacy classroom experience.

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About SCRI

The Sperling Center for Research and Innovation (SCRI) is part of BellXcel, a national nonprofit with nearly 30 years’ experience innovating educational solutions rooted in evidence. Drawing on decades of firsthand implementation experience and a culture of continuous improvement, SCRI bridges the research to practice to policy gap, to help partners strengthen goals, implement high-quality practices, expand to reach more young people, and advocate for improved policies.

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