Brief #11 – SSIS SEL Multitiered Approach for All Students
The SSIS SEL Multitiered Approach for All Students
Comprehensive Assessment & Intervention Options
Stephen N. Elliott, PhD
A multitiered system of supports (MTSS) designed to improve the social and academic lives of all students and to help create a positive school culture typically involves three levels (or tiers) of support services. Tier 1 involves assessing all students to identify strengths and areas in need of support with research-based core instruction. Tier 2 involves monitoring the improvement of approximately 15% of students who need extra support (e.g., more time, practice, and feedback) via additional intervention services. Finally, Tier 3 typically involves more comprehensive assessment to identify possible interfering problem behaviors and then providing more intensive intervention (e.g., more individualized, longer duration) for an estimated 5% to 10% of students. In summary, effective MTSS management is predicated on (1) systematically identifying students’ needs, (2) using assessment data to guide decisions about the selection of effective strategies to improve student behavior and/or achievement, (3) implementing effective interventions, and (4) evaluating student progress and intervention outcomes (Glover, 2018).
Assessment and Intervention Tools for a Multitiered SEL Program
The development of the SSIS™ SEL Edition assessments and Classwide Intervention Program (CIP; Elliott & Gresham, 2017a) was expressly designed to offer sound multi-tiered support for improving students’ SEL skills. The SSIS SEL Edition is designed to measure and teach specific skills representative of the social–emotional competencies of self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision making. The SSIS SEL Edition consists of four coordinated and content-aligned components designed to measure and develop each of the SEL competencies and related academic competencies.
SSIS Brief SEL Scales (Teacher & Student): These rating forms can be completed in 10 minutes or less by a teacher or student to screen an entire class, grade level, or school on 20 key SEL skills (Elliott, Gresham, DiPerna, Anthony, & Lei, 2020). These assessments are functionally short-form versions of the comprehensive SSIS SEL Edition Rating Forms-Teacher or Student.
SSIS SEL Edition Rating Forms (Teacher, Parent, & Student): These rating forms can be completed in 20 minutes or less by a teacher, parent, or student, and provide different viewpoints on the social–emotional functioning of an individual student. The Teacher Form consists of 58 items and is used to generate scores for each of the five SEL competencies, as well as a score for Academic Competence. The Parent Form (51 items) and the Student Form (46 items) are used to generate scores for five SEL competencies and are available in English & Spanish (Gresham & Elliott, 2017).
SSIS SEL Edition Screening/Progress Monitoring Scales (Teacher only): This brief (30 to 40 minutes), class-based, criterion-referenced set of rating rubrics is used to assess student-based strengths and improvement areas across five SEL and three academic competencies. Completed by teachers, this assessment is used to identify current levels of SEL and academic functioning and can also be used to evaluate student progress in and outcomes of skill development programs (Elliott & Gresham, 2017b).
SSIS SEL Edition Classwide Intervention Program (CIP): Used by teachers or behavioral specialists, this program provides a comprehensive six-phase (Tell, Show, Do, Practice, Monitor Progress, and Generalize) approach for teaching social–emotional skills. It consists of scripted weekly lesson plans for each of the 10 core social–emotional skills, along with accompanying Digital Lessons and video vignettes that can be used to engage a class when teaching the skills. The table below provides details regarding each of the six instructional phases. In addition, it provides lesson plans for 13 advanced SEL skills. Additional intervention resources are provided, including Skill Steps Cue Cards, an Emotions Cue Card, Role-Play Cards, Student Engagement Records, parent letters, certificates of completion, and a form to document implementation fidelity and intervention outcomes. In sum, this intervention program provides educators with a SAFER—Sequenced, Active, Focused, Explicit, and Responsive—way to teach children social–emotional learning skills that represent core SEL competencies.
Actualizing an Integrated and Aligned SEL MTSS with the SSIS SEL Edition
Given the goals of an MTSS approach to supporting all students and the array of SSIS SEL Edition tools, what would a fully integrated and content-aligned schoolwide program to advance students’ social–emotional skills look like?
The MTSS pyramid, with descriptions of assessment and intervention program resources starting at Tier 1 and progressing through Tier 3, highlights a systematic, data-driven sequence of actions using the valid and effective resources of the SSIS SEL Edition. A close inspection of the tiered actions indicates that screening results drive intervention skill unit selection; a multi-gate screening process is also viable at Tier 1 before allocating additional resources for Tier 2 services; intervention skill units can vary to meet the needs of students in all tiers; and progress monitoring of students’ responses to intervention especially for Tier 3 students, is possible.
In summary, the SSIS SEL Edition family of assessments and intervention resources can be used in a flexible manner because they are each built on a common model of SEL competencies and focus on specific skills that are measurable and teachable. Leaders of MTSS programs designed to support the development of elementary and middle school students’ SEL skills will find the SSIS SEL Edition offers them some powerful and user-friendly tools proven to be effective.
Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning. (2012). Effective social and emotional learning programs. Retrieved from https://casel.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/2013-casel-guide-1.pdf
DiPerna, J. C., Lei, P., Bellinger, J., & Cheng, W. (2015). Efficacy of the Social Skills Improvement System Classwide Intervention Program (SSIS-CIP) primary version. School Psychology Quarterly, 30(1), 123–141. doi:10.1037/spq0000079
DiPerna, J. C., Lei, P., Bellinger, J., & Cheng, W. (2016). Effects of a universal positive classroom behavior program on student learning. Psychology in the Schools, 53(2), 189–203. doi:10.1002/pits.21891
DiPerna, J. C., Lei, P., Cheng, W., Hart, S. C., & Bellinger, J. (2017). A cluster randomized trial of the Social Skills Improvement System-Classwide Intervention Program (SSIS-CIP) in first grade. Journal of Educational Psychology, 110(1), 1–16. doi:10.1037/edu0000191
Elliott, S. N., & Gresham, F. M. (2007a). Social Skills Improvement System Classwide Intervention Program teacher’s guide. Bloomington, MN: NCS Pearson.
Elliott, S. N., & Gresham, F. M. (2007b). Social Skills Improvement System Performance Screening Guide. Bloomington, MN: NCS Pearson.
Elliott, S. N., Gresham, F. M. (2017a). SSIS SEL Edition Classwide Intervention Program manual. Bloomington, MN: NCS Pearson.
Elliott, S. N., & Gresham, F. M. (2017b). SSIS SEL Edition Screening/Progress Monitoring Scales [Measurement instrument]. Bloomington, MN: NCS Pearson.
Glover, T. A. (2018). Response-to-intervention models and access to services for all students. In S. N. Elliott, R. J. Kettler, P. A. Beddow, & A. Kurz (Eds.), Handbook of Accessible Instruction and Testing Practices: Issues, Innovations, and Applications (2nd ed., pp. 157–166). New York, NY: Springer.
Gresham, F. M., & Elliott, S. N. (2008). Social Skills Improvement System rating scales [Measurement instrument]. Bloomington, MN: NCS Pearson.
Gresham, F. M., & Elliott, S. N. (2017). SSIS SEL Edition rating forms [Measurement instrument]. Bloomington, MN: NCS Pearson.
Stephen N. Elliott, PhD, is the Mickelson Foundation Professor at Arizona State University and the co-author of the SSIS SEL Edition Assessments and Classwide Intervention Program.
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