This section provides descriptions of each program to expand on and supplement the rating tables. the descriptions include a brief overview of the program and an expanded summary of the information in the rating tables.
Each overview paragraph begins with a description of the general goals of the program and the full range of grade levels for which the program is designed. the current CASEL Guide focuses on preschool and elementary programs even though some of the SELect programs included in the current Guide extend beyond elementary school. Although we have reviewed only the preschool and elementary grades for each program, we indicate the full range of grades covered. the descriptive paragraph also presents the general structure of the program and the skills it develops. If a program uses specific strategies those are also described. If the program has components that promote and reinforce social and emotional learning in the classroom, through school-wide programming, school-family partnerships, or school-community partnerships, we briefly describe those as well. We also point out whether or not the program provides academic integration. Cultural sensitivity and linguistic responsiveness of SEL programs are extremely important, and we note whether or not the program attempts to address these factors. Although it was beyond the scope of this review to assess the appropriateness of each program for every possible cultural or linguistic context, we note here if there is content that helps teachers implement or adapt activities based on the cultures or linguistic needs of their students. finally, we describe the program’s initial training. We indicate how long the training typically lasts, whether or not it is required, and if the program offers a train-the-trainer model to support sustainability.
Following the overview, a summary of the information in the rating tables is provided. there are two additional pieces of information provided. At the beginning of the section for evidence of effectiveness, we include a statement about the strength of the evidence. this acknowledges the diversity in evaluations that met our criteria and the strength of evaluation(s) for each program you may want to consider. for example, some evaluations were small (fewer than 200 students) and some were large (more than 1,000 students). Some programs have been replicated in multiple evaluations. Some have conducted evaluations that followed students for multiple years, but others evaluated the effectiveness of the program only through pre-post evaluations within the same year. Some evaluations involved random assignment (called “randomized control trials” or “rCts”), and others assigned students, classes, or schools to conditions in ways that were not random. these latter types of evaluations are called quasi-experimental. Although valuable and informative, quasi-experimental designs are not as strong as randomized trials, which are less subject to possible sources of bias. to capture this diversity in strength of evaluation, we include a brief statement about how many separate evaluations there were for a program, how large the sample was in the largest evaluation for that particular program, how long the longest evaluation followed students, and whether evaluation designs were randomized or quasi-experimental.
In the section of the table summary that describes the program outcomes, we also include any additional outcomes that were found in the qualifying studies that were not part of our inclusion criteria. these outcomes are in italics while the behavioral outcomes required for inclusion are in bold face.