Date of Award

Fall 12-22-2022

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Social Work (DSW)


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First Advisor

Irene Wong, PhD

Second Advisor

Mishan Jensen, PhD


A growing body of evidence highlights the relationship between youth attainment of social emotional learning (SEL) competencies and school outcomes such as academic performance, school attendance, school attainment, behavioral problems in school, and persistence of antisocial behavior. A lack of clear diversity in student populations in prior research leads to questions regarding growth in social emotional learning competencies in diverse populations. Given disparities in academic performance between low-income minority students and their affluent peers and the potential impact of SEL on student outcomes, this topic deserves further exploration. The present study explored social emotional learning competency growth in youth investigating the following questions:

To what extent do student demographic and socio-cultural characteristics (gender, age, enrollment in special education, English language learner status, free/reduced lunch status) relate to social emotional learning competency growth?

In what way does a student’s grade level relate to their rate of social emotional learning competency growth?

This correlational study explored SEL competency data collected by a large charter school network via the Panorama Social Emotional Survey, an open-source assessment that measured student social emotional skills and mindsets via student self-report. The survey was conducted twice, once in the fall and again in the spring. Multiple regression analysis and One-way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) tests were used to answer the research questions. Regression models were tested with three measures of social emotional learning competencies in spring as dependent variables, demographic and socio-cultural characteristics as independent variables, and fall scores included as control variables. Data suggests positive associations between development in all 3 SEL competencies and age. Student grade level, gender, enrollment in special education, enrollment in free and reduced lunch programming, and English language learner status each had significant positive or negative associations with one to two measures of SEL competency growth. Implications for study findings include expanded research into other SEL competencies and associations with socio-cultural and demographic characteristics, development of SEL interventions, and applications of social emotional learning competency training in diverse and historically underrepresented populations.

Included in

Social Work Commons