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Assessing Through the Lens of Social and Emotional Learning

Assessing Through the Lens of Social and Emotional Learning
Tools and Strategies

Foreword by Nick Yoder

January 2024 | 272 pages | Corwin

Help usher in a new era of student assessment

This empowering guide revolutionizes the assessment process by putting students at the center. Dive into practical strategies and best practices for fostering social and emotional learning (SEL) competencies through student-centered assessments and discover how you can transform classrooms into inclusive spaces where learning thrives. Inside you'll find

  • Humanistic assessing practices to integrate into everyday teaching and learning

  • Best practices for designing and implementing savvy SEL assessments

  • Ways to develop a classroom that is student empowered and culturally relevant

  • Rubrics, portfolios, and digital tools that demonstrate students’ competencies and knowledge through an SEL lens

Explore dozens of practical examples, case studies, and field-tested activities that support research-based teaching and learning across the curriculum. Assessing Through the Lens of Social and Emotional Learning inspires educators to move beyond traditional testing to focus on nurturing and fostering skills that students will need for both academic and lifelong success.

Foreword by Nicholas Yoder
About The Authors
Chapter 1: Assessment Through The Lens Of Social And Emotional Learning
Chapter 2: The Teacher Role and The Student Role in Everyday SEL Practice
Chapter 3: Developing a Culture of SEL Assessment
Chapter 4: Assessing and Assessments for Racial and Cultural Relevance
Chapter 5: Assessment Pedagogy and Design
Chapter 6: Assessment Tools and Strategies
Chapter 7: Assessment, Assessing Strategies, And Digital Tools
Chapter 8: Practitioner Reflection
Chapter 9: Developing a Practical SEL Assessment Plan that Supports Teaching and Learning
Chapter 10: Evidence-Based SEL Assessment
Chapter 11: Sel Intersections: Connecting To Content, Curriculum, Standards, And Frameworks
Appendix: Resources, Tools, Templates, And Ancillaries
Glossary of Terms
References and Further Readings

"Authors Cynthia Sistek and Dee Fabry have created an important and practical guide about making assessment of learning more attainable, more learner-centered, more formative than summative, and more in line with social and emotional skills and competencies. Assessing through the Lens of Social and Emotional Learning is just what educators are looking for after the pandemic that disrupted the educational system. This book is a must-read for educators who are seeking to humanize the assessment process. They will find that the research, tools, resources, strategies, wonderings, and takeaways throughout the book will be just what they need as they create the ideal equitable and inclusive learning environment for their students."

Barbara Bray
Story Weaver, Podcast Host, Speaker, Co-author of "Make Learning Personal" and "How to Personalize Learning," Author of "Define Your Why"

"Reading this book is like having a conversation with caring, knowledgeable guides who are especially sensitive to cultural awareness and relevance on a learning journey about assessing for student improvement in SEL. The learning objectives and action-oriented reflections in each chapter ensure readers have clear takeaways. Chapters 5 and 6 will be dog-eared by every teacher because they are so filled with ready-to-use ideas for assessing and promoting SEL in classrooms, and Chapter 10 provides a practical primer on how to use frameworks and standards constructively. Sistek and Fabry have provided a wealth of ideas for creating an SEL culture in classrooms in which all students are fully active participants in their own development."

Maurice J. Elias, PhD
Co-Director, Academy for SEL in Schools ( and Author of "The Other Side of the Report Card: Assessing Students’ Social, Emotional, and Character Development"

"Given that all learning is social and emotional, it’s critical that we recognize that all assessments can foster social and emotional skills and development. In fact, many tools do just that, and they are highlighted in this book. But some assessment tools do not, and these authors help us think about which tools add value to students’ development and inform the teacher about next steps in learning that also honor the strengths our students have. It’s a must-have resource on assessment that delivers on the promise to provide practical tools and strategies." 

Douglas Fisher, PhD
Professor and Chair, Department of Educational Leadership, San Diego State University

"Based on solid theoretical grounding, Assessing Through the Lens of Social and Emotional Learning aligns with the latest research in neuroscience that reveals emotions' influential role in the learning process. The book is refreshingly interactive, encouraging readers to document personal takeaways and pedagogical gems for immediate classroom use. The authors proclaim they 'want to humanize the assessing process' and they do that and so much more! Assessment of student learning is a given. This book demonstrates how the process can uplift as well as inform." 

Bobbi Hansen, EdD
Associate Professor, University of San Diego

"Every teacher, parent, school administrator, and politician should now recognize that the social and emotional learning of students is a prerequisite for democratic, harmonious life in every community. This book shows teachers how to right the educational imbalance that has changed our students’ lives over the last 30 years."

Neil MacNeill
Author, Educational Analyst

"This book is a must-read for anyone invested in K-12 education and holistic student success. Dr. Sistek and Dr. Fabry have provided a well-rounded, research-based approach to the overwhelming necessity of making SEL a priority in today’s public school systems. They set the stage for this need by providing a history of SEL and how SEL is ingrained in learning for each and every human being on the planet, then showing how our current state-mandated testing has been more damaging than helpful in the growth, development, success, and happiness of our students. The authors provide a roadmap for how to develop a culture of SEL Relevance, including racial and cultural relevance, then provide explicit tools, strategies, and assessments to support and maintain the improved culture that comes with having an SEL-relevant school. Every school and district leader, teacher, counselor, and anyone invested in our youth and the future of our world need a copy of this book today." 

Dr. Kristen Miller
CEO/Founder With Heart Project; Author; Instructor, National University

"Finally! A resource for educators that makes assessment meaningful! Sistek and Fabry skillfully integrate a human-centered and culturally relevant SEL approach to the process of gathering, analyzing, and utilizing data. Talk about evidencing impact! Educational leaders, this book is a must-have!"

Michelle L. Trujillo, MEd
Author, Social Emotional Well-Being for Educators and Start With the Heart: Igniting Hope in Schools through Social and Emotional Learning

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