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 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 measuring and helping students develop these skills.

The Student Success Network (SSN) is a group of about 50 youth development and education organizations that serve New York City middle and high school students and schools that have coalesced around a common goal—improving students’ social emotional learning skills—and a common problem—the lack of reliable and valid measures of these skills.

SSN members and staff have identified, and committed to measuring, eight specific social emotional learning factors: growth mindset, academic self-efficacy, interpersonal skills, self-regulated learning, enlisting social resources, self-advocacy, problem solving, and belonging.

Each SSN member organization administers a survey to program participants that is designed to measure these eight skills. SSN staff support members by providing tools and guidance they need to study their own practices and continuously improve their programming. SSN staff and member organizations also convene every six weeks to develop a learning community and support each other’s improvement efforts.

About this Project

The Research Alliance is collaborating with SSN to help improve the network’s social emotional learning student 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 modifying the survey for the 2015-2016 school year;
  • 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 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 will inform other audiences interested in better measuring social emotional learning, including the NYC Department of Education and other school districts around the country investigating social emotional learning. 


 Supported by the Student Success Network.