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Study Finds Social-Emotional Programs Pay Off in Schools

Study Finds Social-Emotional Programs Pay Off in Schools

According to a new study by the Center for Benefit-Cost Studies of Education, social-emotional programs in schools may be worth the investment.

Researchers found that "for every dollar schools spend on six common social-emotional learning programs, those interventions return an average $11 worth of benefits," according to an article on

In the study, "The Economic Value of Social and Emotional Learning", researchers "analyzed existing evaluations of six prominent social-emotional learning interventions, which are described in this graphic I pulled from the report," the article said.

"We estimate each intervention's costs based on the ingredients employed during the implementation previously evaluated," the report said, according to the article. "We utilize the effects estimated in the evaluations to estimate economic benefits of the interventions to society. We then calculate the benefit-cost ratios and net present values to determine if the benefits generated by each program outweigh the costs of implementation."

Costs. the article said, "included in the evaluation include personnel, materials/equipment, facilities, and other inputs. Researchers estimated benefits by measuring the financial impacts of the interventions' outcomes."

"For example, a successful bullying intervention may reduce missed school days that can cause students to struggle and need extra academic supports, and it may reduce the amount of costly personnel time that staff spend addressing student complaints," the article said. "And programs that lead to improved academic results may lead to higher income for students later in life, the report says."

"In the educational setting, we seek investments that have the highest return to the taxpayer and to society," the report said, the article said. "In the past, [cost-benefit] studies have been limited largely to increases in educational attainment and to improvements in cognitive test scores. But it is now becoming widely recognized that social and emotional learning in schools can be as important as or even more important than cognitive gains in explaining important developmental and life outcomes. Social and emotional skills are less commonly considered in educational evaluations, in part because they are more challenging to measure than attainment and test scores. As such skills have gained prominence, it is important to integrate them into BC studies for consideration in educational policy and decision-making."

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Article by Kassondra Granata, Education World Contributor

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