Data on Social and Emotional Development

April 19, 2011 at 10:58 AM 1 comment

Psychosocial development of students creates opportunities, challenges, and goals for educators. Overarching questions can guide inquiry into data requirements and analysis to foster healthy development of school children. Formalizing the plan helps to refine and document aspects of an approach that already resides in less conscious professional practice.

Teachers enter the profession well-versed in educational psychology. However, all would benefit from periodic exploration of the ways in which psychosocial benchmarks affect student learning and inform curriculum and classroom management. Teachers moving to a new grade level or learning to engage students with a different social or intellectual profile seek guidance. Closing the achievement gap among children may create the need for a fresh look at expectations. In a profession that is driven by data, tracking social and emotional progress in students is an important source of information.

The following outlines examples of questions to incorporate into program design as well as grade level and whole school improvement plans. 

Program design: As a school/grade level, are we facilitating achievement of normal developmental benchmarks in the children?

  • Is each learning milieu age appropriate?
  • Are academic challenges consistent with physical, social, and intellectual expectations?
  • Do we communicate expectations and model behaviors for children to show age-appropriate skills in problem-solving, decision-making, and communication?
  • Are there opportunities for exploration and expression that support healthy self-esteem and relationships?
  • How do we accommodate the natural variations among children in each classroom?
  • What support services do we provide for children demonstrating unusual social or emotional issues?

 Planning and Assessment:

  • Formative Assessment: Do our children arrive at school manifesting expected psychosocial behavior?
  • Vertical alignment: What are the expectations for the children at the next academic level? What does feedback tell us about our students’ readiness in the recent past?
  • Goals: Given formative assessments and vertical alignment needs, what specific outcomes related to psychosocial development do we want to prioritize and measure during the current academic session?
  • Ongoing assessment: How can we document psychosocial development systematically?
  • End-of-year assessment: Have we met our objectives and prepared our students for success at the next academic level?

 Some suggestions for content in professional development are outlined below:

Whole learning community
  • Review of growth and development expectations
  • Training in assessment and documentation
Grade level sessions
  • Translating theory into observable behaviors
  • Formative assessment – initial impressions of students, strengths and weaknesses, possible areas of emphasis
Vertical alignment sessions Discussions with adjacent grade level teachers to compare their expectations with actual student manifestations

  • Are expectations aligned?
  • How is student behavior comparing to expectations?
  • What developmental issues or behaviors need to be addressed?
Grade level regroup Development of goals for the year and tools for measuring results


 In the classroom…

If a school does not have the habit of formally addressing psychosocial development, the data gathering may seem onerous. However, this system simply seeks to document and refine an approach, many aspects of which are already integral to each teacher’s practice, and engage the children in the process.

  • Assess psychosocial development at start of year.
  • Talk with students about who they are and how they are changing.
  • Observe students as they demonstrate benchmark behaviors.
  • Keep a developmental portfolio or diary with them/for them (depending on age).
  • Reflect on growth at the end of the year.

And finally, expect variations, but also observe outliers and be alert to the need for intervention.


Entry filed under: Student Outcomes. Tags: , , , , .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Show Me the Reports « SchoolsRetooled  |  October 24, 2011 at 8:17 AM

    […] posts…on teacher effectiveness…on basic student data…on psychosocial development Advertisement Eco World Content From Across The Internet. Featured on EcoPressed On the […]


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