Integrating Outcome Based Education and SEL

An outcome based education focuses on clearly outlining what students are expected to know and how they should be expected to demonstrate the acquisition of those academic achievement markers. Combining social and emotional learning (SEL) and this approach cultivates an environment that empowers students to thrive academically, socially, and emotionally. 

Understanding Outcome Based Education

Outcome based education is an educational philosophy that places emphasis on defining clear, measurable learning outcomes and aligning methods, curriculum, and assessment to promote and achieve those goals1. Taking this approach shifts educators’ focus from what’s taught to what students demonstrate as a result of their learning. This allows for a shift in students’ perceptions, too. Students shift from task completion to skill mastery, recognizing learning as a progression rather than mere checklist ticking.

Implementing SEL Interventions

SEL interventions empower students for success in school and beyond, fostering essential skills and attitudes for academic and future endeavors. Socially and emotionally competent students forge healthy relationships, overcome challenges, and persevere toward goals with resilience and adaptability. The CASEL framework highlights five domains for social and emotional competence: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making2. Outcomes based SEL integration supports students in leveraging existing skills to promote targeted growth in areas requiring further development. Students get explicit time to work on competency development through small group and whole classroom lessons. Students may also see their teachers integrate these skills into academic lessons. Educators can also model the skills throughout the day to add another layer of students’ exposure to SEL. 

The field of education must evolve to meet the shifting needs of the 21st century. A holistic approach to learning through outcome based education and SEL positively connects to real-life implications including stronger academic performance and preparedness for college and career. When students feel safe and supported at school, they can engage deeper in their learning. Better academic performance leads to students pursuing their interests and being successful in what they do.  

By integrating and aligning these initiatives, educators create an environment that fosters academic excellence, emotional well-being, and the development of essential life skills. 

Are you looking to measure your SEL curriculum’s effectiveness? We’re here to help! 

You may already have an SEL curriculum in place that focuses on fostering these skills, but are you measuring its impact? Fill out the form below to get in contact with a member of our Partnership team, who will serve as your guide for scaling your SEL program. 


1 Mazzocca, D. (1994, February 17). Outcome-Based Education. The Connecticut General Assembly Office of Legislative Research.

2 CASEL. (2023, March 3). What is the CASEL framework?

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