CASEL is helping to ensure that all students in preschool through high school receive high-quality social and emotional learning (SEL). Because learning standards and goals can be an important driver of current educational practice at the state level, when states wish to develop learning goals or standards, preschool through high school, CASEL is committed to supporting their efforts.

In the past decade significant progress has been made in establishing SEL as a component of education policy. Most noteworthy was the adoption of state policies that led to the development of state standards for SEL in Illinois in 2004. Several other states have adopted similar policies or are currently considering and developing such policies.

Our Collaborating States Initiative, launched in 2016, will help advance and accelerate this work in additional states.

April 2017: A brief on how states are building SEL into their ESSA plans

CASEL has published a new brief that analyzes how 12 states have incorporated social and emotional learning into their applications for ESSA funding. Download the brief.

Scan of State Standards

Since 2010, with funding from the Buena Vista Foundation, NoVo Foundation, the Einhorn Family Charitable Trust, the 1440 Foundation, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, CASEL has conducted an ongoing scan of state policies and standards related to SEL.

View the results of CASEL’s State Scan Scorecard Project to see a comparison of progress in adoption of standards for social and emotional learning in all 50 states. Click here to view.


  • Collaborating States Initiative

    In 2016, with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Pure Edge, Inc., CASEL launched a new two-year initiative that involves working with states across the country that want to adopt or improve policies and guidelines to support SEL. Learn about the work of the many states that are helping to break new ground through our Collaborating States Initiative.

  • Key Elements and Examples of SEL

    Key elements of high-quality standards for SEL and examples of each of the key elements on states’ websites.

    Download the Handout (January 2017).




  • Developing SEL Standards

    How can states use examples from elsewhere to develop high-quality SEL standards? Download the brief (2014).

    ESSA Framework

    From the Council of Chief State School Officers and the Aspen Institute. Shows how to use ESSA to improve equity and outcomes, including SEL. Learn more.

Related Resources

The University of Illinois Institute of Government and Public Affairs describes how Illinois legislators adopted policies that led to the development of the state’s K-12 SEL standards. Download report (2011).

How Illinois and Pennsylvania developed SEL standards, preschool through high school. Download report (2013).

How CASEL and the University of Illinois at Chicago SEL Research Group conducted the initial scan of state SEL standards. Download brief (2011).

How to implement the Illinois state standards on early learning and child development to affect SEL in the classroom. Download article (2015).

The National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) offers advice to its members: “The recognized need for public schools to support students in areas beyond academics is not new, but recent developments in social-emotional learning (SEL) go beyond what has come before—and are starting to show improvements in both student behavior and academic outcomes.” Download NASBE’s report (2011).