A Rose by any Other Name? Using Core Components to Categorize Social and Emotional Learning Provision

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although social and emotional learning (SEL) benefits children and youth worldwide, classifying a program as SEL is insufficient to capture its variability of content. There is currently little to aid in identifying specific program content so that foci may be identified (e.g., self-management skills vs. social skills). This gap poses a difficulty for researchers attempting to address heterogeneity in SEL research and practitioners who want to select programs best suited for their contexts. This paper begins to address these concerns by extracting and contrasting ‘core components’ of interventions within an identified shortlist of 13 universal, elementary evidence-based programs through a distillation method using the often cited ‘five core competency’ model from CASEL (Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning). Results showed that CASEL’s core competencies are represented across short-listed programs. However, almost all programs had identifiable foci, targeting a subset of skills. Accordingly, the use of ‘core components’ is recommended as a method for offering more nuance in SEL classification for programs beyond the current study, with implications for program implementation and the design of future research in SEL evaluation.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
JournalSchool Mental Health
Early online date11 May 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11 May 2023


  • Common elements
  • Core components
  • SEL
  • Social and emotional learning
  • Universal intervention


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