SEL Study Fast Facts
Some key results from the AYCO Social and Emotional Learning study include:
- -With regard to program quality across the Network, results show that AYCO Social Circus Network programs are comparable to exemplary SEL programs with regard to the quality of their horizontal (staff-to-staff) communication.
- -AYCO Social Circus Network programs performed comparably (or better than) exemplary SEL programs, and better than the general sample of youth programs on measures of instructional practice (including challenging curriculum, responsive instruction, and youth engagement). These results show that AYCO Social Circus Network are implementing challenging curriculum and responsive instruction, and engaging youth participants.
- -With regard to youth outcomes, at baseline, social circus youth looked similar to youth enrolled in the exemplary SEL programs and general youth programs with regard to their SEL skills (emotion knowledge, behaviorally managing emotion, contribution to the group, and goal pursuit skills). This is helpful because it means the youth in all these programs started out similar to each other before participating in their respective programs. Then, at post-test, youth in Social Circus Network programs and exemplary SEL programs generally had similarly high levels of SEL skills, typically higher than those of youth in general programs.
- -Within the Network sample, researchers categorized the youth into six groups who differed in their baseline levels of SEL skills. The lowest scoring groups, those who struggled to demonstrate SEL skills, made up 53% of the sample across the Network. When this categorization was repeated with the post-test data, collected at the end of the programs, only 19% of youth in the Network sample were categorized as struggling with SEL skills, and 46% demonstrated well-developed SEL skills.
- -Network programs’ impact on older youth (ages 12-18) was even larger than the impact of exemplary SEL programs’ impact on teens with regard to emotion knowledge and goal pursuit.
- -The report states that “given this pattern of results, AYCO Social Circus Network programs appear to be achieving their social purpose by designing and delivering a circus arts curriculum model that combines high challenge and high support – best practices in the field of youth development.”
- -The report also states that “AYCO Social Circus Network offerings were of exceptionally high quality and produced substantively important SEL skill change in youth, comparing favorably to an external sample of exemplary programs with long histories of SEL work and validation.”
- -AYCO programs outperformed programs in a general sample. This pattern of results indicates that ACYO Social Circus Network programs have a positive impact on the SEL skills of participating youth.