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Capital City officials say the development of SEL skills help students measure their own progress | Photo source Nicole Honeywill on Unsplash

School grades students on emotional skills


A charter school for low-income students in Washington, DC, is assigning grades in non-academic categories, such as organisation and accountability

Spotted: A charter school in Washington, DC, is highlighting the importance of students’ emotional skills by assigning them grades. While the students are still graded based on their performance in traditional academic courses, they also receive a mark (from 1 to 4) for categories that include organisation, timeliness and accountability.

Students at the Capital City Public Charter School must also present their work regularly, with the intended goal being the development of public speaking skills, and attend a daily advisory class, which is limited to no more than 10 students. This is designed to be a space where students can discuss personal issues as well as academic ones. 

School officials say the development of social and emotional learning abilities, or SEL, helps students measure their own progress while highlighting the important role these skills play in their future. 

“I’m not saying test scores should be out the door,” Laina Cox, Capital City’s middle school principal, told “What I’m saying is they shouldn’t be the only way we are judging our kids.”

Of the school’s nearly 1,000 students, 74 per cent of them are from low-income families and are mostly black and Latino. The school boasts a 98 per cent graduation rate among its five-year high school students and 45 per cent of the school’s first class of seniors (2012) earned a college degree within six years of graduating. The US average for low-income students is 14 per cent.



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