For over forty years, the Conover Social Emotional Learning (SEL) standards have been researched and developed. With over nine million administrations, we can now confidently say these standards have been accepted by practitioners around the world.
SEL standards are driven by purpose, not grade level
It is our belief that SEL and soft skills standards cannot be broken into grade levels in the same way as academic standards. In every case we have seen so far, organizations try to put SEL standards into the same format as academic standards, attempting to arbitrarily decide which skills are elementary and must be taught before going on to higher level skills and standards, and which skills are for more advanced grade levels.
Just think about that for one moment. For example, do you know any adults who lack self-esteem? I know I do. How about self-management skills? Do you know any adults who, no matter how hard they try, cannot manage themselves, much less others around them?
SEL and soft skills do not follow a simple developmental process; instead, these skills become more important as the observed need arises. Take, for example, motivation. Motivation is usually triggered by a deep desire to achieve or accomplish something. This desire to achieve something leads to goal setting. Research at Harvard and other research centers shows that, for young boys in particular, the frontal part of the brain, or frontal lobe, that controls the goal-setting process does not develop until the teen years. It is also known that without a goal, critical SEL skills like motivation, commitment and time management are not needed and, consequently, not developed. Attempting to teach these skills to young boys before their brains are fully developed and before they are ready to use these skills only results in frustration and failure.
Use It or Lose It
We strongly believe in the rule, “Use it or lose it.” Because we understand how the development of SEL skills works, we have taken a different approach to organizing our standards. We do not use grade levels. Rather, our standards are organized into key topics that relate to different stages of life. We break each topic into three levels of difficulty, and each topic includes a research-based assessment linked to a skill intervention component.
Assessments Drives Skill Interventions
Did you ever try to teach something to a group of students who have varying needs and ability levels? What happens is that much of what is taught is not retained because there is no observed need or reason to learn the skill. Skill intervention needs to be structured to the needs of each individual student. This is the number one reason why it is so important to use research-based SEL assessments to connect student needs to skill building.
Conover has developed over sixty different SEL assessments, including a just completed a custom SEL assessment for leadership development now used by Army ROTC. Our assessment and skill intervention system, Conover Social Emotional Learning Programs, is delivered in the cloud, runs on any computer, cell phone or tablet, anytime, anywhere, 24/7. All data is collected by user, by group, by district and even state-wide, making program accountability a simple and cost effective reality.
Select the button below to download our SEL Standards