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Social-Emotional Learning

Using Social Emotional Learning Data to Guide Small Group Supports

Jenna Buckle
Jenna Buckle
Using Social Emotional Learning Data to Guide Small Group Supports



Social emotional learning data can be a powerful tool within a tiered system of supports. Once you’ve gathered data on students’ SEL competencies—from social awareness to growth mindset—there are several ways to take action on the results to support students.

One common method is to provide small group supports with SEL data. In the same way that your team may use academic data from a formative assessment to drive small group instruction for students in need, social emotional learning data can guide small group learning experiences around a specific topic, skill, or competency.

Watch this video and keep reading to learn how to use SEL data for small group instruction.

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How to Identify Students for Targeted Supports Based on Social Emotional Learning Data

First, group students based on how they self-reflected on a given topic. If you use Panorama's SEL reporting platform (pictured below), you can easily sort students from lowest to highest score for each SEL topic.

Grit social emotional learning data
Students are sorted from lowest to highest scores for "Grit," as indicated by the color shading.

This will allow you to identify students in your school or class who could benefit from similar SEL supports. In the example above, you’ll see a sample cohort of students who self-reported low scores on the Grit topic. These students share Grit as a development area and could be grouped together for instruction.

Strategies for Creating Small Group Learning Experiences

Once you’ve identified students in need of Tier 2 supports in a specific area, it’s time to take action. Don’t be afraid to get creative with building small group SEL instruction into the school day!

  • At Racine Unified School District (Wisc.), educators and counselors hold lunch groups to deliver targeted SEL instruction to elementary students who have similar social emotional needs.
  • Many educators also use social emotional learning data to provide small group supports in restorative circles. For instance, you could teach students about emotion regulation through breathing exercises, or work on social perspective taking with role play scenarios.
  • Integrate social emotional learning into existing academic instruction. Let’s say that students in a specific class are struggling with growth mindset—the belief that they can grow their intelligence and abilities. Explicit instruction of malleable intelligence has been shown to improve students’ growth mindset, so a reading teacher might assign a text that features growth mindset as a central theme. This can spark discussion and learning around the topic in a way that remains aligned with academic standards.

There are various ways to provide small group supports using social emotional learning data. Whatever your strategy, make sure to take stock of your starting point and track students’ progress through a second round of SEL assessments at the end of the year. This will ensure that you and your team understand what’s working, what’s not, and whether additional supports are necessary.

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