The Network for Educator Effectiveness helps schools evaluate the effectiveness of their social-emotional learning efforts through the use of effective educator evaluation processes. NEE believes evaluation is a supportive process designed for professional growth. Evaluation allows leaders to collect data and focus on the right supports for teachers and students.

NEE evaluation processes ask school leaders to conduct two steps before beginning to evaluate teachers on indicators related to social-emotional learning:

  1. Prepare for evaluation by focusing on teacher well-being, conducting a needs assessment, and collecting baseline data.
  2. Determine which NEE indicators your school will use to evaluate SEL. NEE recommends schools select three to five indicators to use in classroom observations and on the NEE Student Survey.

NEE provides four measures for teacher evaluation: classroom observations, student surveys, teacher professional development plans, and units of instruction. All measures are available to NEE member schools, and local districts decide which to incorporate in their teacher evaluation processes. Once again, the decision on which measures to use requires careful thought and communication to ensure teachers and school leaders understand expectations and feel comfortable with what they are being asked to do.

Let’s look at NEE recommendations for each of our four teacher evaluation measures in terms of evaluating social-emotional learning.

Teacher helping two students with a STEM-related activity

Using Classroom Observations to Evaluate Social-Emotional Learning 

  • Select three to five indicators to evaluate during classroom observations. Local schools determine which of NEE’s 27 observable indicators to evaluate as well as how many are related to SEL. See a list of NEE indicators that relate to SEL.
  • Evaluate each teacher six to 10 times per year for 10 minutes at a time. If a full-period observation is required, you may decrease the number of walkthroughs. Prioritize walkthroughs for teachers who need additional support and guidance related to SEL. 
  • Classroom observations should be unannounced. 
  • Face-to-face feedback should be provided to each teacher after a classroom observation. Review the NEE Guide to Effective Feedback Conversations and the Four Paths to Effective Feedback
  • Utilize the EdHub professional learning library to recommend resources to support teacher growth. 
  • Look at both individual and aggregate data in the NEE Data Tool online system.  Classroom observation data is aggregated in the Indicator Trend Report, allowing school leaders to see district- and school-wide performance on indicators related to SEL. School leaders may also select a specific teacher or a subset of teachers to review trends over time. 

Using the NEE Student Survey to Evaluate Social-Emotional Learning

The NEE Student Survey is a student perception survey that is one measure of teacher effectiveness. In research, students in fourth grade and above are shown to be capable of differentiating the NEE indicators. When used as part of the full NEE evaluation system, the survey feeds into a teacher’s summative evaluation. The survey is also available for stand-alone purchase. 

  • Select three to five indicators to evaluate on the NEE Student Survey. Typically, the indicators used on the survey are the same as used in classroom observations. When focusing on three to five indicators, the survey takes less than 20 minutes for students to complete. Adding more than five indicators to the survey may result in survey fatigue. 
  • The NEE Student Survey can be administered once or twice per year.
  • When getting started with SEL evaluation, you may administer the NEE Student Survey toward the beginning of the school year to collect baseline data and then again later in the school year. In subsequent years, schools typically administer the survey in November and February, or only in February if only administering once per year. 
  • The NEE Student Survey can be administered to students in Grades 4-12. Secondary schools are more likely to administer the survey twice per year because of teacher changes at semester. 
  • In the NEE Data Tool, the Student Survey Summary Report provides aggregate data that allows school leaders to review district- and school-wide student perceptions on indicators related to SEL.  

Using the NEE Teacher Professional Development Plan (TPDP) to Evaluate Social-Emotional Learning

  • Teachers should select only one goal for the TPDP, and that goal may align with the school’s SEL initiative. 
  • School leaders should support goal fulfillment by offering adequate opportunities to expand knowledge, skills, and resources related to SEL as well as opportunities for teachers to collaborate on SEL strategies.  
  • Teachers can utilize the NEE Learning Organizer, in conjunction with the TPDP, to track professional learning activities and reflect on the effect of new SEL strategies. 
  • The TPDP allows for measurement of NEE Standard 8 and NEE Standard 9, which are related to professional practices and professional collaborations. These standards may address the willingness of the teacher to participate and collaborate in professional learning opportunities related to SEL. In addition, on NEE Indicator 9.3 (The teacher cooperates in partnerships to support student learning), teachers might consider student learning in terms of data related to SEL.   

Using the NEE Unit of Instruction (UOI) to Evaluate Social-Emotional Learning

The NEE UOI is structured as an opportunity for teachers to show how they turn curriculum into instruction that promotes student growth. As an evaluation measure, the UOI allows leaders to assess the instructional planning and decision making of a teacher, as well as provide documentation of student growth. In relation to SEL specifically:

  • Element 2, Element 3, and Element 4 of the UOI may incorporate essential/guiding questions and objectives that are focused on SEL. 
  • Element 6, which focuses on research-based strategies, may include some that are recommended for the SEL-related indicators utilized by the school. 

Effective evaluation is the key to helping school leaders know which systems and practices the faculty and staff are learning and implementing, and which may need to be clarified or taught further. Effective evaluation is necessary to build an optimal school culture that fully realizes the benefits of social-emotional learning.

The Network for Educator Effectiveness provides comprehensive evaluation resources and services to assist schools in evaluation of their SEL efforts. More details about evaluating SEL are available by downloading Evaluating Teacher & Principal Effectiveness on Indicators of Social-Emotional Learning.

The Network for Educator Effectiveness (NEE) is a simple yet powerful comprehensive system for educator evaluation that helps educators grow, students learn, and schools improve. Developed by preK-12 practitioners and experts at the University of Missouri, NEE brings together classroom observation, student feedback, teacher curriculum planning, and professional development as measures of effectiveness in a secure online portal designed to promote educator growth and development.