Bright Start TN Clearinghouse

Measure Of Success

Social Emotional Health

The major indicator for this measure of success is the percent of children exhibiting self-regulation, and good interpersonal skills.

There is abundant evidence that social emotional health in children can have holistic, long-lasting benefits that persist throughout their lives. Notably, developing social emotional skills in the early years can improve an individuals’ academic success and performance. Exhibiting prosocial behavior in kindergarten can increase a child’s likelihood of graduating both high and college, as well as obtaining stable, full-time employment by young adulthood. Children who are taught social emotional skills in early years are more likely to succeed academically. Specific social emotional skills such as attention and self-regulation also have shown to impact a child’s academic achievement. Studies show that inattention, hyperactivity and low levels of self-regulation may result in lower math and English achievement in later years.

Children who demonstrate strong self-regulation skills between preschool and 2nd grade are more likely to have positive health and financial outcomes and less likely to have substance abuse problems later in life. Children with lower socioemotional competence in the early grades, including prior to kindergarten entry, are more likely to experience peer rejection, declining enjoyment and engagement in school, and poor academic outcomes.

  • Jones et al_2015_Early Social Emotional Functioning: Longitudinal study of 753 kindergarteners in 1991, who were a subsample of the Fast Track Study, an intervention study which aims to reduce aggression among children identified as being at risk for behavioral disorders. Outcomes were recorded by the same individuals 13 to 19 years later, between 2004 and 2010. Indicators of prosocial behavior included teacher ratings of prosocial communication skills, teacher ratings of authority acceptance, and primary caregiver child behavior checklist scores. Found that prosocial behavior in kindergarten significantly increased a child’s likelihood of high school graduation, college graduation, stable employment in young adulthood, and full-time employment in young adulthood.
  • Duckworth and Schoon_2010_Progress and Attainment During Primary School: Longitudinal analysis of 14,062 children from birth through middle childhood in the United Kingdom between 1991-1992. Measured the effects of a child’s attention, self-regulation, and self-esteem at ages 6 and 7 on their academic achievement in later years, at ages 10 to 11. Results show that higher levels of inattention and hyperactivity, and low levels of self-regulation, at ages 6 and 7 were associated with lower achievement in later years, as measured by math and English test scores.
  • Durlak et al_2011_The Impact of Enhancing Students’ Social and Emotional Learning: Large-scale meta-analysis of 213 school-based social emotional learning interventions, including 270,034 youth ages five through eighteen. Measured the impact of social emotional learning interventions across various child outcomes in later years, such as child behavior and attitudes. Findings include significant increases in social and emotional skills later in life among children who received social emotional learning interventions in school. Also found that social emotional learning interventions were associated with an 11 percentile point increase in academic achievement later in later grades.


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