ICR IOWA Partners with ACT on Social and Emotional Learning Assessment Pilot for Local Schools

Aug 25, 2020

Social and emotional learning skills and character strengths play a key role in achieving success in school and in life. Additionally, employers have been expressing their need for employees with strong soft skills for decades. Yet since most students are not assessed on these skills in a reliable and valid way, parents and teachers have little information from which to base interventions that can be used to help students succeed.

ACT Tessera is an assessment platform and curriculum used to teach and measure five core social and emotional learning skills: Sustaining Effort, Getting Along with Others, Maintaining Composure, Keeping an Open Mind, and Social Connection. Decades of research have shown that these factors predict a host of important outcomes across different ages, countries, and cultures, including academic performance, career success, and well-being.

Through this pilot, school districts served by the Grant Wood Area Education Agency will be invited to use Tessera over a three-year time period with students beginning third, fifth, and/or ninth grade in the fall of 2020. Participating students will take the Tessera assessment in the fall and spring of each school year over three consecutive years to see how the use of an assessment, curriculum, and intervention can strengthen SEL skills.

Pilot schools will receive special training on the platform and work with ACT on reviewing data. Parents of students who are taking part in the pilot will receive a Tessera report card indicating their student’s assessment on the five core social and emotional learning skills over the three-year pilot period.

There is a $5 per student per year cost to participate in the Tessera pilot. This reflects a 50% discount in the cost of Tessera for non-pilot sites. However, schools that choose the elementary school pilot won’t have any cost for their first pilot year.

Regional economic development partners see this pilot as a way to help the region grow in future years in a unique way.

Schools that are interested in learning more about the pilot should contact Jennifer Daly at ICR Iowa atjdaly@icriowa.org.

ICR Future is powered by ICR IOWA, a joint venture between the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance and the Iowa City Area Development Group that ensures ICR prospers through community-aligned business attraction and workforce development.

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