Use of Social Emotional Learning Skills to Predict Future Academic Success and Progress Toward Graduation

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This study evaluated the degree to which a range of social emotional learning skills—academic self-efficacy, academic motivation, social connections, importance of school, and managing psychological and emotional distress and academic stress— could be used as an indicator of future academic outcomes. Using a sample of 4,797 from a large urban school district, we found that high school students classified as performing in the lowest 25% of their grade reported lower social emotional skills than students classified in the top 25% of academic performers by the end of the 8th grade. Two variables, perceived importance of attending college and psychological and physical stress, accounted for nearly 26% of the variance in cumulative high school GPA after controlling for 9th-grade GPA. Finally, the results indicated that a combination of 5 social emotional learning subscales effectively discriminated between students making positive progress towards high school graduation and those identified as having dropped out of or failed more than 14% of their courses.