Benefits of SEL

SEL, defined broadly, can serve as a long term plan to reduce those behaviors that are so costly, personally and financially.  (See SEL to Reduce Costs) 



Simply stated, SEL improves students’ positive behavior and reduces their negative behavior by providing the enviroment and practicing the mental skills that make for a healthy mind.



It promotes young people’s academic success, health, and well-being at the same time that it helps to prevent a variety of problems such as alcohol and drug use, violence, truancy, and bullying.  



A large body of scientific research has determined that the average student in a school with an effective SEL program where none previously existed significantly improves a student’s:

  • Social-emotional skills by the significant number of 22 percent
  • Attitudes about self and others by 9 percent
  • Social interactions by 10 percent
  • Positive social behavior by 10 percent*

In addition, SEL programming significantly reduces:

  • conduct problems by 9 percent
  • emotional distress by 10 percent.*

*See this link for the full study and findings published by Child Development,  February 3, 2011, of a  meta-analysis of 213 school-based, universal social and emotional learning (SEL) programs involving 270,034 kindergarten through high school students.  Full Child Development Study click here.


SEL is also associated with significant improvements in students’ academic performance and attitudes toward school.

A landmark review found that students who receive SEL instruction had more positive attitudes about school and improved an average of 11 percentile points on standardized achievement tests compared to students who did not receive such instruction.   See a listing of reports  and studies written by CASEL about SEL.

SEL prepares young people for success in adulthood.

SEL helps students become good communicators, cooperative members of a team, effective leaders, and caring, concerned members of their communities. It teaches them how to set and achieve goals and how to persist in the face of challenges.

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