Research on Education Strategies to
Advance Recovery and Turnaround
Evaluation of the Learning Renewal – Social Emotional Learning Programs for Supporting Pandemic Recovery with Illinois State Board of Education
The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) adopted a multicomponent approach to address learning and recovery from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Illinois has stressed that not only is social and emotional learning critical to do well, it is also critical to do first, so that other investments in instruction may have a better chance at taking hold among a currently stressed and disengaged population of students. ISBE has prioritized social-emotional learning, establishing Learning Renewal – Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) programs across the state. Learning Renewal-SEL comprises three activities: SEL Hub supports; REACH, a trauma-responsive education approach; and Community Partnership Grants to promote student, staff, and family well-being by connecting community-based organizations and mental health providers to schools.
The Evaluation of the Learning Renewal–Social Emotional Learning Programs for Supporting Pandemic Recovery is a partnership between the American Institutes for Research (AIR) and ISBE. The study has two main aims: (a) to examine the implementation, outcomes, and cost of the three Learning Renewal – SEL programs, and (b) to provide useful feedback about effective strategies for implementing and scaling programs that address students’ and staff’s social-emotional well-being.
The main outcome evaluation will use a quasi-experimental design (QED) with matching to compare student and teacher outcomes between schools that participate in the Learning Renewal-SEL programs and similar schools that do not participate in these programs. The study will examine whether the Learning Renewal-SEL programs lead to improvement in school climate; teacher attendance, retention, and well-being; and student academic and social-emotional outcomes.
This study reflects a partnership between the American Institutes for Research® (AIR®) and the Illinois State Board of Education to generate evidence for the effects of its statewide investments in social and emotional learning on Grade PK–12 students and school staff. The study team includes lead researchers from AIR and ISBE leadership.