State Scan Scorecard Project

The purpose of the CASEL State Scan is to assess the development of learning goals and standards, and guidelines for social and emotional learning (SEL,) preschool through high school in all 50 states (Dusenbury, Newman, Weissberg, Goren, Domitrovich & Mart, in press). We began by reviewing the research literature on SEL and learning standards to identify key components of high-quality standards, policies, and guidelines. Based on the literature, we identified the following components, which we used to assess standards and guidelines in each state:

  1. Clearly articulated goals, including free-standing and comprehensive standards for SEL can establish social and emotional development as a clear priority in education. High-quality, free-standing SEL standards also include developmental benchmarks at different grade levels.
  2. Integration of SEL standards or goals with standards in other subject areas promotes social and emotional development across all areas of instruction. In our previous review of state learning standards (2011), CASEL found that virtually all states have integrated at least some degree of social and emotional content into learning standards in other subject areas. However, this content is usually not comprehensive across all five SEL domains or is scattered and diffuse. Further, the content may not be consistent across subject areas or grade levels, and development of social-emotional skills is not systematically and strategically supported. To ensure that SEL is prioritized, CASEL recommends that there be free-standing goals or standards for SEL.
  3. Guidance on how adults can support student social and emotional development through teaching practices is critically important. Guidance on how to create a positive learning environment and school climate is also essential.
  4. SEL is more likely to be effective when teachers have guidance on how to make instruction culturally sensitive and linguistically appropriate.
  5. SEL is more likely to be effective when there are tools that support high-quality implementation.

To develop state-by-state scorecards, using documents available on the state’s department of education website, we reviewed standards and guidelines for SEL at both the preschool and the K-12 levels to assess whether SEL guideline documents (including standards, when they exist) and resources contained these key components of high-quality SEL. We determined that all states had at least some integration of SEL in other subject areas (component #2), although, as noted above, the level of integration was often weak and inconsistent. However, we were not able to assess systematically whether states provided tools to support high-quality implementation (component #6), because it was beyond the scope of this project.

When we had questions, we contacted individuals within the state for clarification. We also gave each state’s department of education an opportunity to review our findings. In the interest of keeping our findings up to date, we also requested that state personnel contact us if new sets of standards or relevant resources were developed. Our results are presented in the maps below, and in the tables in the accompanying downloadable documents.

  • Click here to view a table summarizing preschool
    standards and guidelines for SEL in all 50 states.

  • Click here to view a table summarizing K-12
    standards and guidelines for SEL in all 50 states.

Key solid blue: the state has comprehensive, free-standing standards for SEL with developmental benchmarks at different grade levels.
Medium blue: the state has comprehensive, free-standing standards for SEL with developmental benchmarks for some grade levels (e.g., K-3).
Light blue: the state has some free-standing standards for SEL (not comprehensive), and/or may provide some resources to support SEL.
Gray: free-standing SEL standards with developmental benchmarks are not yet available, although they may be under development.

Webinar on CASEL’s Scan of State Standards for SEL

In this webinar CASEL Consulting Senior Research Scientist Linda Dusenbury reviews recently compiled findings from CASEL’s scan of standards for social and emotional learning in all 50 states. Click here to view the webinar.

CASEL continues to review SEL standards and guidelines in all 50 states, and we regularly update the information for the state scorecard. We make every effort to get responses to our queries from the individual states. However, because this extensive field is evolving very quickly, we cannot guarantee that all the information is current and accurate or all of the links work. If you would like to provide feedback or if you find broken links or other problems please notify