Social Emotional Learning

Research and Evidence

High-quality social emotional learning gives kids the skills they need to succeed in school and in life.

From the beginning, we have been committed to collecting data and engaging in research to ensure we are having a measurable impact on the kids we serve. External studies comparing WINGS kids to children at the same school who did not participate in our program show that the skills we teach at WINGS results in:

  • Greater Executive Function
  • Greater Academic Achievement
  • Improved School Attendance
  • Increased Self-Esteem
  • Increased Attachment to School
  • Improved Classroom Behavior

Our Most Challenging Research to Date

The Gold Standard in Evaluation: Randomized Control Trial (RCT)

Our most rigorous evaluation to date started in 2012 when we became the subject of a comprehensive four-year study to evaluate the impact of our program model. The study was aimed at using our theory of change to test whether or not we were in fact having an effect on children’s social emotional skills and behavior. The RCT was generously funded by the Institute for Education Science, the Social Innovation Fund, and Edna McConnell Clark Foundation. The study was conducted by University of Virginia’s Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning, College of Charleston, and Child Trends.

But Don’t Just Take Our Word for It!

An ever growing body of research on social emotional learning supports the powerful impact strong programs can have on kids.

Academic Achievement and Positive Behavior
Afterschool programs that build social and emotional skills measured significant improvement in grades, test scores, attachment to school and positive social behaviors. They also reduced problem behaviors – aggression, non-compliance and misconduct – as well as drug use.2

Attachment to School
Evidence suggests a correlation between frequent attendance in [after school] activities and positive outcomes including an increase in academic achievement, school attendance, time spent on homework, enjoyment and effort in school, and better student behavior.3

College and Career Readiness
Social emotional skills help children successfully navigate the learning environment, making it more likely they will graduate from both high school and college. With a higher education, people are more likely to get jobs, and jobs with higher salaries, benefiting individuals and society.1

  • 54% more likely to earn a high school diploma
  • Twice as likely to attain a college degree
  • 46% more likely to have a full-time job

Health, Delinquency, and Crime
Strong social emotional skills help people lead healthy lives and avoid risky behavior that could contribute to physical and mental health problems, substance abuse, delinquency, and crime.1


1Jones, D., Crowley, D., Greenberg, M. (2017). Improving social emotional skills in childhood enhances long-term well-being and economic outcomes. The Pennsylvania State University.
2 Durlak, J.A., & Weissberg, R.P. (2007). The impact of afterschool programs that promote personal and social skills.
3 American Youth Policy Forum (2006). Helping youth succeed through out-of-school-time programs.