Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) Screener

Schools use a screening assessment to measure social-emotional learning skills

Mental Health

All schools have school-based mental health staff who can support your child during the school year. When school is in session, please contact your school's social worker, school psychologist, or school counselor if you have questions about the screener or how skills are addressed.

Emergency Services Information 

If you have concerns about your student's safety and/or believe that they are in crisis, immediate support is available. Please use these emergency resources:

  • Call 911 in case of a life-threatening emergency; TTY dial 711
  • CrisisLink Regional Hotline: 703-527-4077 CrisisLink is a hotline for individuals in crisis or family/friends seeking guidance for how to help a loved one.
  • Crisis Text: Text NEEDHELP to 85511


SEL Screener Notification Letter


SEL Screener Score Report Letter

What Is Social and Emotional Learning?

Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) is the process through which all young people and adults acquire and apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to develop healthy identities, manage emotions and achieve personal and collective goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain supportive relationships, and make responsible and caring decisions (CASEL, 2020). 

 SEL skills include self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making. These skills are important for collaboration and perspective taking. They also help students manage their feelings, address challenges, and reach their goals.

Benefits of the SEL Screener

Research shows that when schools embed SEL into the school day with fidelity:

  • It improves children’s lives, the culture of the school, and teacher well-being. 
  • Schools report increased academic success, enriched relationships between teachers and students, and decreases in disruptive behavior. 
  • Students’ mental health improves, and they are more likely to become caring family members, innovative workers, ethical leaders, and engaged citizens. 
  • School staff are able to proactively identify and address the social and emotional needs of students, which can help to promote these positive outcomes.

Research shows that SEL provides numerous benefits to students including:

  • An increase in academic achievement by an average of 11 percentile points.
  • An increase in prosocial behaviors including kindness, sharing, and empathy.
  • An improvement of attitudes toward self, others, and school.
  • A reduction in mental health problems including depression and high levels of stress.
  • A decrease in dropout rates, behavior issues, drug use, and teen pregnancy.

Research shows that for every dollar invested in SEL programming, there is a savings of $11 dollars that would have been spent on costly interventions. 

Rationale for Screening: Social-Emotional Well-Being

Results from the second interim study report compiled in spring 2021 as part of the FCPS Study of Teaching and Learning during the COVID-19 Pandemic by the Office of Research and Strategic Improvement (ORSI) showed that students at all three school levels reported elevated stress levels this year compared to last year.

  • The largest difference was reported by high school students (average stress level of 5.8 in Fall 2019 versus 7.3 in Fall 2020). 
  • 54 percent of high school students reported a high level of stress (ratings of 8, 9, or 10).
  • The majority of middle and high school students (26 of 38, 68 percent) reported that the amount of schoolwork and the lack of separation between school and home were major contributors to their stress level. 
  • Survey data indicated student workload was perceived as excessive by 43 percent of high school students and 31 percent of middle school students
  • Homework load was perceived as excessive by 71% of high school students and 47% of middle school students. 

Research tells us that students with strong SEL skills are more successful in school, work, and relationships. 

What does the SEL screener ask about in Grades 3 - 12?

SEL Screener Questions Grades 3-12

What does the SEL screener ask about in Grades K - 2?

SEL Screener Questions Grades K - 2

What Does the Screener Look Like?

The screener collects information about students’ SEL skills, feelings, relationships, school environment, and well-being. Screener results are used with other information to support students academically and personally.

  • Students in FCPS will share their voice on the SEL Screener two or three times a year. 
  • Students in grades 3-12 will report on their own SEL skills. View the questions.
  • In grades K-2, teachers will share information about student skill sets.  View the questions.
  • Afterwards, we will review the results, celebrate successes, and identify areas for growth.

Student Data and Opt-Out Options

  • FCPS shares student data directly with Panorama Education, INC (the company contracted to conduct the screener). No other parties have access to the data.
  • Student data will be kept confidential and used only for FCPS’ educational purposes. 
  • Panorama Education complies with all applicable federal laws, including FERPA and the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA), as well as state and local regulations concerning student data.
  • Parents who prefer that their child not take part in the SEL screener should complete the opt-out request form at the bottom of the testing notification letter and return it to their school. This testing notification letter was sent to families within 30 days of the screener.
  • For students who are opted out of the screener, the only data we share with Panorama Education is the student’s name, student ID, school, and grade level. This allows Panorama Education to confirm that all students who are opted out of the screener are removed from their distribution list and do not receive a link  to the screener. Essentially, this is a quality control mechanism. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can students really understand what the SEL screener questions are asking?

Panorama Education analyzed data from millions of students and thousands of schools to demonstrate the psychometric strength of their screener items. These items have strong reliability and validity for their designated age ranges. All proposals that we evaluated were for screeners that could be administered across all grade levels (K-12), and most offered one set of questions for early grades and another set of questions for later grades. This is consistent with Panorama Education’s approach, which includes one set of screener questions for students in grades K-2 where the students’ teachers are the respondents, and another set of screener questions for students in grades 3-12 where students are the respondents. All screener items have been statistically analyzed to determine whether they show demographic biases. They do not. The screener measures the same items in different populations, including different age groups, and the national dataset from which norm scores are calculated contains a demographically representative sample of students across grade levels, gender, race/ethnicity, and English-Language Learner status. Panorama has also incorporated Universal Design for Learning principles into its SEL screener in a number of ways to ensure that all screener items are accessible and easy to understand across all grade levels.

Why are there questions about race on the SEL screener?

The SEL screener is aligned with CASEL’s nationally recognized model for SEL, which addresses five broad and interrelated areas of competence: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making. This summer, the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) released SEL Guidance Standards, which highlight examples of each of these competencies. Of note, key examples of social awareness include the ability to understand broader historical and social contexts’ impact on humanity, and to empathize with and show gratitude for others, including those with different and diverse perspectives, abilities, backgrounds, and cultures. Similarly, key examples of relationship skills include the ability to apply communication and listening skills to interact with others, form and maintain positive relationships, and resolve conflict constructively, and to effectively collaborate and navigate relationships while valuing different and diverse perspectives, abilities, backgrounds, and cultures. The questions on the SEL screener that address race do so as a means of assessing these core competencies, in keeping with the examples provided by the VDOE.

Can parents view their child’s screener data?

Yes. All parents and guardians will receive an individualized report detailing their child’s screener results following each assessment window. In addition, school staff will be available to discuss results with parents and collaborate on any support that might be needed upon reviewing the data. The restrictions placed on accessing students’ results are directed toward school staff, not parents, as we want to protect students’ privacy by ensuring that only staff members with legitimate educational interests can view any student’s results. There are no restrictions placed on parents, who can freely access their child’s screener results and review/discuss them in detail. Furthermore, all SEL screener questions are publicly available for parents to review. The screener questions for students in grades 3-12 is availableThe screener for students in grades K-2 is available

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is an investor in Panorama Education. Does this mean Facebook or Instagram will have access to confidential student data?

No. Panorama Education is a completely independent company from both Google and Facebook. Panorama Education does not allow either company to access any Panorama data, including data shared between Panorama Education and FCPS, or any other district that Panorama Education serves. Panorama Education has received some funding from Google Ventures and the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative (both are minor funders representing a small fraction of Panorama Education’s operating budget), but they do not influence Panorama Education’s operations, and they have no access to data held by Panorama Education. Moreover, Panorama Education has signed a legally binding contract with FCPS that specifies how the data will be collected, stored, and used — only for the purposes of serving FCPS and only for education purposes. In addition, Panorama Education complies with all applicable federal laws, such as the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA), as well as state and local regulations concerning student data. FCPS shares data directly with Panorama Education; no third parties have access to data. Panorama Education proactively protects all data from unauthorized access. Panorama Education’s data protections include administrative, technical, and physical controls, in accordance with security best practices. 

Watch this video to learn why we use an SEL screener and its positive impact for students. 

What if I do not want my child to participate in the SEL screener?

If you do not want your student to take part in the SEL screener, you can choose to opt out. Complete the opt-out request form at the bottom of the testing notification letter and return it to your student's school. 

What happens after testing? 

The SEL Screener provides a first look at areas in which students may need extra support. Teachers may collect more information to understand their strengths and needs.

This information helps teachers plan targeted instruction or intervention if needed. Results support SEL skill development for whole classrooms, small groups, or individual students. This way, all students have the opportunity to build the skills needed to be successful.

Find out more about student assessments

Link to student assessments

Find out about tests at each grade level

Link to grade level tests