How Social-Emotional Assessments Can Support Your Students

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Hey YOU!

For Parents: Social skills and emotional regulation are likely on your radar more than ever before. How can you ensure your kiddos are growing in these areas? Screening tools can help, as can ensuring SEL skills are being taught and tracked in your school district. The article below outlines SEL assessment types, sharing the good and bad of every kind. Knowing the options that are out there can help you feel confident in your child’s educational journey.

For PTAs: SEL lessons are likely all over your school, but what are you doing for social-emotional screening? It’s important to ensure some sort of progress tracking is in place — most of which will fall into one of the three categories described below. HeyKiddo offers an easy to implement tool to teach and track these skills together if you’re looking for a simple solution, too.

For Principals: It’s one thing to ensure parents that social-emotional competencies are a priority in your school district. It’s another to prove that these lessons are working. HeyKiddo offers a simple curriculum and progress tracking tool that can help you implement SEL skills in students’ most formative years, as well as ensure parents are happy with the work that’s being done in this ever-important space.

Why Assess Social-Emotional Learning?

As time goes on, we’re continuing to learn about the importance of strong social and emotional skills for children. This recognition is game-changing for our kids, as participation in SEL lessons has led to increased social skills, fewer problem behaviors and even greater academic success overall. Teachers and caregivers are working hard to ensure kids continue growing in these areas, and progress tracking or occasional SEL assessments can help to ensure that work is accomplishing its purpose.

Common Types of Social-Emotional Assessment Tools

Social-emotional skills aren’t easily assessed on paper like other school subjects, so we have to get a little creative to make sure kids are growing in this space. There are three main forms of assessments that have been found effective, and fairly easy to implement, today.

Scoring Simulated Scenarios:

This form of assessment is closest to a typical school assignment, but it’s still possible to keep it fun and stress-free. It can involve worksheets, games, or pretend play situations in which students are challenged to display their SEL skills. Sometimes, videos are used and students are asked about appropriate responses for the main character when a social or emotional challenge occurs.

Example: Providing a document with images of individuals in social settings, and asking students to explain how the character feels in the various settings.

Self-Report Assessments:

This collaborative approach works best for older kids who have had time to build self-awareness, but it’s one of the most telling tools as students need to be comfortable with their own social and emotional capabilities if we’re going to call our teaching methods successful. 

Example: Teachers or screeners working individually with older students, asking them about specific social-emotional skills and their comfort level with each one. A number or phrase-based rating scale is provided for children to respond with.


The last assessment style is time consuming, but typically provides the most accurate results. It involves teachers or parents keeping track of how children perform in situations that require social and/or emotional skills. One great benefit of this tool is that it can spot students’ SEL milestones across a wide age range, from pre-k or early childhood through elementary school.

Example: Teachers taking time during lunch or recess to  observe students’ social interactions, noting competencies that need strengthening or that have clearly improved since the last recorded assessment.

If you’re looking for a simpler way to teach and assess social emotional development and well-being in your home or classroom, HeyKiddo can help. Our psychologist-developed curriculum builds resilience, mindfulness, critical thinking, decision-making and more. It provides a simple progress-tracking tool to use as a screening system throughout its lessons. It’s prep-free and easy to implement in person or virtually. Feel free to contact our team anytime to learn more.

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