Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)



Committee Chair(s)

Tyler Renshaw


Tyler Renshaw


Marryellen McClain Verdoes


Aaron Fischer


In order to support student success, schools and researchers are targeting non-academic skills, termed social-emotional learning. Social-emotional learning (SEL) represents the process by which students develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills, establish healthy and positive relationships, and identify as well as regulate emotions. Research shows SEL interventions are effective in decreasing student problems (e.g., anxiety, depression, low motivation; Barry et al., 2015; Corcoran, et al., 2018; Durlak et al., 2011; Weare & Nind, 2011) and increasing positive student outcomes (e.g., academic success, personal growth; Merrell, 2010; Zins et al., 2007). Although SEL is gaining popularity among practitioners and researchers, there is minimal research that ascertains the accuracy and meaningfulness of the constructs included within the SEL framework, with notable gaps in the areas of psychometrically sound assessment and measurement tools of SEL competencies (Denham, 2015, Ross & Tolan, 2018). This purpose of this present project was to conduct the initial development and validation of a teacher-report scale of SEL competencies aligned to the CASEL’s five-factor model of SEL competencies.

A sample of 18 elementary school teachers completed the pilot measure and two additional measures of student wellbeing and behavioral challenges. Observed scores from the resulting SSECTRS model also showed relatively normally distributed scales with strong internal consistency reliability. Expected relationships were found between the teacher reports of wellbeing (SWTRS) and mental health measures (SDQ) with the SSECTRS. The SSECTRS yielded convergent validity, positive correlations between wellbeing indicators of the SWTRS, and the one subscale of positive wellbeing of the SDQ and divergent validity, negative correlations with the SDQ.

To reflect the school-bound context of this measure, it is captured as the Student Social-Emotional Competency Teacher Rating Scale (SSECTRS) containing to independent domains; “Community Competencies” (Factor 1) and “Personal Identity” (Factor 2). The initial validation of the SSECTRS provides preliminary support for its use as a brief assessment tool that may be useful for screening and progress monitoring purposes to evaluate SEL competencies in schools. Ultimately, participants will learn how they might use and interpret scores from the SSECTRS to support SEL implementation in schools.



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Psychology Commons