What it Means
The Social & Emotional Learning Program Quality Assessment (SEL PQA) is a tool used in programs serving children in Grades K-12. It measures research-identified best practices that support programs to be safe, supportive, interactive and engaging for schoolagers and youth. The tool was created by the Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality.
Why it’s Important
The SEL PQA was chosen for Great Start to Quality to use with programs serving schoolagers to measure safe environments, but to go a step further and look at the engagement and interactions in the program to lift up schoolagers socially and emotionally. The needs of schoolage youth are much different than young children and so a tool that specifically measures quality for schoolage programs is important.
How is SEL PQA used?
SEL PQA observations will be conducted by trained and reliable observers focusing on a rich, engaging environment, and effective interactions. This could be a Great Start to Quality Assessor or an Approved Assessor. In programs with multiple groups of schoolagers, a walk-through method will be used where the Assessors spends time observing each group during one On-Site Observation visit.
* Because measuring quality in schoolage programs is a new process, a program’s first set of schoolage observation scores will not be used to determine whether the program meets Demonstrating Quality. Schoolage observations scores can be used by the program to create goals for quality improvement. The next time a program comes through the quality improvement process and moves onto On-Site Observation, schoolage observations must meet threshold scores to achieve Demonstrating Quality.
Who can use SEL PQA?
The SEL PQA is used in programs that serve schoolagers in separate settings than children under age 5. The program may only serve schoolagers or schoolagers are in separate classrooms than younger children.
Programs must score a 3.5 or above for each group or classroom observation to reach Demonstrating Quality.
Resources and Training
The SEL PQA tool is available to anyone to download for free. Visit the Weikart Center website to fill out the form to download the tool. The Weikart Center also offers a full menu of trainings and supports for schoolage staff to support quality improvements for schoolagers.