Background

The Social-Emotional Competency Assessment (SECA) is a student-facing check-in survey for students in grades 5-12. It was developed by Washoe County School District through a partnership with The Collaborative for Social-Emotional and Academic Learning (CASEL). More information about the SECA and the assessment and the questions included can be found here.

The assessment measures students' global social-emotional competency as well as eight social-emotional subdomains:

  1. Self-awareness of strengths and weaknesses
  2. Self-awareness of emotions
  3. Self-management of emotions
  4. Self-management of goals
  5. Self-management of school work
  6. Relationship skills
  7. Social awareness
  8. Responsible decision-making

The SECA has 40 questions, each of which is answered on a 4-point scale. It typically takes students 20-30 minutes to complete the assessment.

The assessment is available in both English and Spanish.

Guidelines

Please review the following guidelines before administering the SECA to students.

1. The SECA is an evidence-based assessment but it has not been validated as a diagnostic assessment or universal screening tool.

The SECA is primarily used for mass administration to students for low-stakes decision-making, discussion, and trend monitoring. If your school or district would like to use the results from the SECA to tier student, additional information (e.g., assessments, surveys, observations) should be used to verify tier levels.

2. The SECA is designed for students in grades 5-12.

The questions on the SECA were developed to assess the social-emotional competencies of students in upper elementary/middle and high school. They are not appropriate for students in pre-k to 4th grade. Thus, Branching Minds will not allow the SECA to be sent to students below 5th grade.

3. Completing the SECA should be voluntary.

Some of the questions may be sensitive or difficult for students to answer (the list of SECA questions can be downloaded from this website). Thus, students should not be forced to complete the SECA if they do not want to. If a student wants to stop partway through completing it, they should be allowed to do so as well.

4. The SECA should not be used during remote/distance learning.

Many of the questions on the SECA refer to the school environment. In addition, the reliability and validity of the SECA has not yet been studied in remote learning contexts. Therefore, the SECA should only be administered once students are back in school buildings, either full-time or part-time. It is also recommended to wait until students have been back in school for 3-4 weeks before administering the SECA.

Administering the SECA on Branching Minds

Before the SECA can be administered to students the feature must be activated for your school district. Please have a District Administrator contact Branching Minds to have the feature activated.

To send out the SECA, first go to your Students page and select the students you want to complete the assessment. You can use the grade filter to ensure that you are only selecting students in grades 5-12. Next, select the Actions button and from the dropdown menu select Send SECA Survey.

The modal window will show the list of students who were selected and will allow you to remove or add students. Select Send to send out the assessment to the list of student.

An error message will appear if you select students who are not in grade 5-12 or do not have an email address in our system:

Students will receive and email from Branching Minds with the subject Social-Emotional Skills Check-in Survey. In the email will be a button to Start Survey.

The first page of the survey provides instructions for students. They can choose to complete the survey in English or Spanish. They can also toggle between languages throughout the survey using the buttons on the top right side of the screen.

The instructions for how to answer each question appear at the top of the page. Students are asked to report how easy or difficult each statement is for them using a scale from Very Difficult to Very Easy. Students should work through the survey independently and not share their answers with other students.

A progress bar at the top right corner of the page indicates how many questions have been answered. At the bottom of the last page there is a Submit button.

Results

Once students have submitted their survey the results can be viewed on their Student Overview Page under the Benchmarks & Universal Screeners section. Students will receive an overall global score and eight scores for each subdomain. The scores are from 1-4 and are based on an average across the questions within each subdomain. Lower scores indicate lower social-emotional competence.

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