Should students be graded on their social and emotional learning?

Yes. SEL skills such as self-awareness and decision making are essential to a student's success. Giving students a grade on their SEL abilities shows they are important and encourages students to develop these skills.
40% (51 votes)
No. Students should learn basic social skills, but schools should emphasize academic learning. Students who excel or lag behind in this area can be awarded or penalized in other ways. Their proficiency should not be reflected in their grades.
20% (26 votes)
Maybe. Schools would be wise to incorporate SEL in the classroom and can test students on these skills via study-related projects. However, an individual grade on students' SEL abilities might not be necessary.
39% (50 votes)
Total votes: 127

Comments (25)

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Creating education technology to help students learn.

The Importance of Emotional Intelligence

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Educators do have an obligation to teach the "whole" student. I believe there are certain fundamental values -- such as treating teachers and classmates with respect -- that cross value systems. While educators can't be proxy parents, they can support parents and the community in instilling sound values in students.

Professional Obligation

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I think educators have a professional obligation to teach good citizenship to students. Thus, I think including an SEL mark is important. However, I disagree with incorporating a mark for SEL with an academic mark. By incorporating the two marks, you are not providing a clear picture of a student's comprehension of a concept. Where does the comprehension of a concept end and the social and emotional learning start? Although SEL will most likely influence an student's academic success, there are some students for whom the two need to be separated.

An academic mark should be used as a tool to communicate student understanding of specific concepts, not as a generalized benchmark.

Dwayne Carter (not verified)

As I am going through my

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As I am going through my online Masters in Social Work, I believe that grading students on their social and emotional learning isn't the right way to go about it. What if their academic development is ahead or behind their social/emotional development? It would be difficult to put a grading scale on that as well - how well would this be able to be standardized across different schools across the nation?

Barbara Ressler (not verified)

Grading SEL

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While I believe SEL is vital to students future success, I don't think grading SEL is necessary. Providing indicators or feedback to students on these areas may be instructive or formative--coaches do this all the time.

Anonymous (not verified)


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Many of the students where I teach are so emotionally cripple that they can't make any academic progress at all. If they can be taught to deal with the disfunctional family/community where they are being raised, it might help their academics. Graded on it?? Maybe teachers should be graded on their social/emotional learning as well.

Katherine (not verified)

I believe emotions/feelings

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I believe emotions/feelings are integrated in all subjects in school. I do not think they can be a separate grade. Teachers have enough to teach their
curriculum and keep up with the latest technology, on top being a pseudo (parent). I agree with Ida, to a certain extend, i.e., one of the pollsters that commented that parents need to "step up" and
take initiative with their child. I DO NOT agree with her commenting on "thinking" this is fluff stuff and the "so-called" hard academics are higher up on the ladder of things. She certainly
never took an Art Class and honed her skills there. WE deal with the emotions/critical thinking skills/left and right brain skill development. Schools would be better off in the long run if they
literally labeled ART as hard it does not come easily to everyone. But, corporations want
people that can make decisions and not always spit out academics plablem..they want leaders/critical thinkers! Art provides for emotional development and more!

Rubens Turkienicz (not verified)


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In my view, students should NOT be graded at all in anything: if education is to become learning how to learn, for serving others and for the benefit of all, all tests and measurements will become what they really are, i.e.: artificial and ruthless ways of discriminating against the majority of human beings, for the benefit of very few. Perhaps we could now, for the first time in history, learn from our own stupid mistakes and grow up to decent ways of serving our children and ourselves more adequately? Thanks for listening!

MK Mueller (not verified)

We recently added quizzes to our program.

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For the first 10 years of our curriculum we did not have quizzes or grades, but we did offer a pre-test and a post-test (available free on line at What was interesting to us was that everyone, faculty members and students, flunked the pre-test and 95% aced the post-test even though the class was not graded.

Now that we have expanded the program and some schools are teaching it for an entire semester, we felt a need for quizzes. What we're finding is that the students are so interested in the material that they use it every day. Thus, the A's on their short quizzes and final report card not only feel good to them, but are a testimonial to their growth in this vital area.

By the way, I live in Omaha, NE. and had contacted the high school of the killer half a dozen times to institute an SEL program. No calls were returned. Now there is an abundance of interest and attention from administrators in the area. Let's hope that other communities do not require such a severe wake-up call.

Finally, special thanks to Edutopia and George Lucas for the phenomenal piece on East Anchorage High!
- MK Mueller

Frank McNutt (not verified)

SEL grading

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I agree that SEL is very important but I am not sure at all that a traditional grading system is the 'way' to empower learners about the value of developing these critical skills.

As a 'product' of a traditional, parochial education (through 10th grade, at least), I came to learn SEL through the caring provided by the 'teachers' I had who were religiously trained as well as pedagogically skilled.

Grading is simply no guarentor of proper or appropriate emphasis.

ida (not verified)

Grading (?huh?) students on

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Grading (?huh?) students on their emotional and social learning is another way to sugar-coat the already deficient academic teaching and learning in this country. It also trivializes the importance of learning knowledge and skills useful to lead a productive life and to be a good citizen. In addition, it perpetuates the wrong perception that all students "need" to get the fuzzy and warm feeling, instead of real and solid knowledge. Even the students themselves know that what counts is what they know about language and the other "hard" subjects. An easy "A" does not give pride to the student.

Schools could, however, help students acquire and learn social skills that will help them interact with others. Schools could also have trained staff to notice and help students who have emotional problems, especially at an early age, to help alleviate future problems.

One cannot expect schools and teachers to replace the family and parents/relatives, as resources are limited, although sometimes it seems necessary.

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