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ACT Researchers Advance Field of Social and Emotional Learning Assessment With New Book

First editor and chapter authors highlight ACT research in one of the first books dedicated to social and emotional learning measurement

IOWA CITY, Iowa — A new book published by Routledge and released today offers the most systematic overview of social and emotional learning (SEL) assessment to date and is a major contribution to the growing field. First editor Dr. Jeremy Burrus is senior director of the Center for Social, Emotional, and Academic Learning at ACT, the nonprofit learning organization and provider of college and career readiness assessments. The book also features multiple chapters written by ACT researchers, whose previous work has helped shape social and emotional learning assessment.

Assessing Competencies for Social and Emotional Learning: Conceptualization, Development, and Applications” explores the assessments of competencies and contextual factors related to SEL. The book provides guidance for researchers, on how to systematically develop and evaluate measures of social and emotional competencies; for educators, counselors, and policymakers, on how to evaluate and use such measures; and for parents, on how to use the measures.

“As many students continue to struggle with myriad challenges amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and programs designed to teach students social and emotional competencies are adopted at an increasing rate, it’s crucial that the effects of these programs on student attitudes, behaviors, and academic performance are measured and understood,” Dr. Burrus said. “This comprehensive review of SEL assessment will help ensure that new measures meet traditional standards of fairness, reliability, and validity, and are conceptualized, created, and used properly.”

As first editor, Dr. Burrus, with his co-editors, created the idea for the book as well as the publishing proposal; wrote, reviewed, and edited chapters; and recruited authors to contribute. In addition to well-known experts such as Dr. David Osher at American Institutes for Research and Dr. Clark McKown of xSEL Labs, the authors include ACT team members Kristin Stoeffler, senior learning solution designer; and Drs. Alex Casillas, Kate E. Walton, and Jason Way, principal research psychologist, principal research scientist, and senior research psychologist, respectively, in the Center for Social, Emotional, and Academic Learning.

About ACT 

ACT is a mission-driven, nonprofit organization dedicated to helping people achieve education and workplace success. Headquartered in Iowa City, Iowa, ACT is trusted as a national leader in college and career readiness, providing high-quality assessments grounded in over 60 years of research. ACT offers a uniquely integrated set of solutions designed to provide personalized insights that help individuals succeed from elementary school through career. Visit us at 

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