Social Emotional Program Quality Assessment (SEL PQA)

What is SEL PQA?

The SEL PQA focuses on intentional staff practices and behaviors that support social and emotional learning for school-age children, in addition to staff’s approach to designing program structures, activities, and routines. It sets a high bar for quality that fosters social emotional skill development and growth over time. The SEL PQA focuses on observable practices in programs where school-age children interact with each other, adults, and their environments in the following domains:

  • Safe spaces that create positive emotional climates
  • Supportive environments where staff support school-age children through encouragement and opportunities for managing emotions
  • Interactive environments where staff foster teamwork, responsibility, and leadership among school-age children
  • Engaging environments that provide opportunities for school-age children to experience belonging

Which program(s) could use SEL PQA?

The SEL PQA can be used in center or school-based settings including full day out of school time and before and after school sites serving children in grades K-12.

SEL PQA Assessment Process

External SEL PQA assessments are conducted by a reliable assessor from the Program Quality Assessment (PQA) team. Assessments can range from one to three hours.

Internal SEL PQA assessments are conducted by the program’s internal assessment team. Programs partner with the Quality Coach and PQA team when planning for and conducting internal assessment, and when analyzing the information collected during the internal assessment process. A team leader observes and takes notes, including anecdotal records to gather classroom data. The assessment process includes a minimum of a one-hour classroom observation.

How does SEL PQA support Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI)?

Information gathered during a SEL PQA assessment can be used by the program to help identify strong classroom practices and structures that are in place to support the social and emotional learning of school-age age children, as well as to identify potential areas for growth. The information gathered can also be used to identify staff professional development needs and help create the program’s continuous quality improvement plan.

Additional Information/Training

Additional information on the SEL PQA can be found at:

Are you interested in using the SEL PQA for internal assessment?

How to Conduct an Internal Assessment Using the SEL PQA (PDF) is a good place to start. It provides an at-a-glance of the assessment details, a list of materials to support internal assessments, links to professional learning resources, and step-by-step guidance for conducting the internal assessment.



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