Impact of SEL

group of female studentsStudies show SEL leads to beneficial outcomes related to social behaviors and emotional skills, attitudes about self, school, and civic engagement, conduct problems, emotional distress, and academic performance. The benefits of social and emotional learning are well-researched, and evidence demonstrates that an education that promotes SEL produces positive results for students, adults, and school communities.

Numerous studies available show academic learning accelerates when supportive relationships are present and opportunities to develop and practice social, emotional, and cognitive skills across many different contexts. Students thrive when SEL is promoted and reinforced throughout the school day. Academic performance is bolstered when SEL is taught and modeled by teachers, families, and community members and supported by district policies, practices, and investments.

  • Approximately 27% more students will improve their academic performance and 24% more will have improved social behaviors and lower levels of distress at the end of an SEL program
  • SEL programs that address the five core competencies increased students’ academic performance compared to students who did not participate

A 2021 review found that universal SEL interventions enhance young people’s social and emotional skills and reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression in the short term. Other SEL interventions have had limited studies and some inconsistent results or have limited evidence of impact.

  • Students participating in SEL programs showed an increased ability to manage stress and depression, improved classroom behavior and better attitudes about themselves, others, and school.

Studies found that teachers who reported higher levels of well-being reported engaging in SEL practices to a greater extent than those with lower reported well-being.

  • Studies show a positive correlation between strong social emotional assets after an SEL program and higher levels of well-being for up to 18 years later.
  • Six of the top ten identified skills needed for the future include social and emotional competencies, such as creativity, critical thinking and problem solving.
  • Thirty-one percent of employers worldwide struggle to find qualified employees. There is a labor shortage of qualified employees because fewer students are graduating high school with the social and emotional skills required for today’s workplace.