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Collaboration with the Student Success Network

About the Student Success Network

Educators have long recognized that students need more than just academic skills to succeed. They also need to learn a set of important skills and behaviors—commonly referred to as “social and emotional” skills—which may be as important as math or reading for success in college and a career, but cannot be measured by a standardized achievement test. In recent years, education researchers and policymakers have begun to focus more intently on helping students develop these skills.

The Student Success Network (SSN) is a group of about 80 youth development and education organizations (including schools) that have coalesced around the goal of measuring and improving students’ social emotional learning skills. SSN member organizations serve more than 150,000 middle and high school students throughout New York City. The organizations work together to administer a survey of participants twice a year, designed to measure specific social and emotional learning competencies, including growth mindset, academic self-efficacy, interpersonal skills, self-regulated learning, self-advocacy, problem solving, and belonging. SSN staff support member organizations by facilitating learning community sessions and providing tools and guidance focused on continuously improving programming.

About this Project

The Research Alliance is collaborating with SSN to help improve the network’s social and emotional learning survey, and to help member organizations make better use of the information that the survey elicits. This work includes:

  • Assessing the quality of the survey measures for program improvement and suggesting modifications as needed;
  • Analyzing survey results to create individualized reports for member organizations;
  • Exploring the relationship between SEL skills and academic achievement; and
  • Working with SSN staff and organizations to support continuous program improvement.

Our partnership with SSN builds on the Research Alliance’s growing expertise in expanding measurement of school capacities and student outcomes beyond test scores. Our collaboration with SSN provides a unique opportunity to partner with practitioners who can directly apply results from our research to their work.  At the same time, our work can inform other audiences interested in better measuring social emotional learning, including the NYC Department of Education and other school districts around the country that are developing strategies to enhance social and emotional learning. 

Supported by the Student Success Network.

Related Publications

The Research Alliance for New York City Schools

Training Youth Development Practitioners

Our new brief draws on focus groups and interviews with SSN Fellows (as well as colleagues at their home organization) to highlight several key lessons for using the continuous improvement (CI) approach in efforts to boost students’ social emotional learning skills. (2018)

The Research Alliance for New York City Schools

Social-Emotional Learning and Academic Growth

This report describes a portion of work from an innovative SEL-focused research-practice partnership between the Student Success Network (SSN) and the Research Alliance for New York City Schools.