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Evidence-based Practice: SEL curricula and programs (such as growth mindset interventions)


Students with stronger social and emotional skills tend to have better academic outcomes. To promote student engagement and prevent school dropout, the WWC recommends offering explicit social and emotional instruction through classroom curricula or separate programs offered outside of the classroom for off-track students. At the middle and high school levels, skills taught might include how to make better decisions in high-stakes situations, strategies for stress and anger management, and setting and tracking progress toward goals. There is also growing evidence on teaching growth mindsets, as this concept relates specifically to students’ math identity and achievement. Students who are more confident about their abilities in math and science are more likely to choose elective math and science courses in high school and select math and science-related college majors and careers. A recent national experiment showed that an online growth mindset intervention teaching students that intellectual abilities can be developed led to improved self-determination and higher grades among lower-achieving students, although the impact on grades was small (on average, the intervention raised the math grade point average (GPA) of lower-achieving students from a 1.91 to a 1.99). As a strategy for encouraging girls in math and science, the WWC recommends that, to enhance students’ beliefs about their abilities, teachers explicitly instruct students that academic abilities are expandable and can improve.


The framework's recommendations are based on syntheses of existing research. Please see the framework report for a list of works cited.

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