WCSD's Social and Emotional Competency Assessment

  • The Washoe County School District Social and Emotional Competency Assessments (WCSD-SECAs) are free, open-source instruments that measure the self-reported social and emotional competencies of students in grades 5-12. The WCSD-SECA instruments were developed through a collaboration among WCSD, the Collaborative for Academic and Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL), and the University of Illinois at Chicago through an Institute of Education Sciences Research-Practitioner Partnership grant. 

    The project resulted in the development of two instruments and a bank of items aligned to the CASEL 5 clusters and WCSD SEL standards:

    • Long-Form Assessment: 40-item instrument measuring eight domains of social and emotional competence: 1) self-awareness of strengths and weaknesses (formerly "self-awareness of self-concept"), 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, and 8) responsible decision-making.
    • Short-Form Assessment: 17-item, short-form assessment of global social and emotional competence
    • Item Bank: 138 items assessing eight domains. Useful for training and item replacement.


    WCSD currently administers the long-form assessment as part of its Annual Student Climate Survey. The instruments ask students to rate how difficult or easy different skills are for them to do. For example, one question assessing Relationship Skills asks students, "How easy or difficult is it for you to share what you are feeling with others?" Students rate their ability to do each skill on a scale from 1, Very Difficult to 4, Very Easy. To find out more about how WCSD, CASEL, and the University of Illinois-Chicago developed this measure in collaboration with students and teachers in the district, you can read our recently published article in the Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology or by reading an article by Education Week about the work entitled “Students Help Design Measures of Social-Emotional Skills.” You can see the data from these questions by school by clicking on each school's Climate Survey report. You can also see district-wide patterns in this data by going to www.wcsddata.net. This article in School Psychology and this research brief describes some of the major findings about the WCSD-SECA to-date.

    These instruments are freely available to any schools, districts, states, or organizations who would like to use them. You do not need to request permission to use these instruments, but we appreciate hearing about how organizations intend to use the instruments so we can expand our knowledge base and connect users together. 

    To see additional responses to frequently asked questions about the WCSD-SECA, please see WCSD SECA FAQ.

    If you have additional questions about this assessment and related research, please contact: