ACT Social and Emotional Learning Research

Learn More About Our Research

The field of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) is strongly grounded in research. Explore the research our team has done on SEL here.

Importance of SEL

Social and emotional skills and related factors, like beliefs and attitudes, are important for success in all realms of life, including school, work, and life in general. See how our team has advanced this work here.

SEL Assessment

Valid and reliable measurement of social and emotional skills is crucial to advancing the field of SEL. See the work our team has done on measuring these skills here.

ACT Holistic Framework

The work of ACT is grounded in its Holistic Framework, a framework that describes what people should know and be able, and willing, to do to succeed in school and work. SEL is central to this framework. See our team’s contribution to the framework here.

Meet Our SEAL (Social, Emotional, and Academic Learning) Experts

Jeremy Burrus, PhD

Jeremy Burrus is the senior director of ACT’s Center for Social, Emotional, and Academic Learning (SEAL). Before coming to ACT, he was a principal research scientist at ProExam’s Center for Innovative Assessments, and prior to that he was a research scientist at Educational Testing Service. He graduated with a PhD in Social Psychology from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in 2006, and was a post-doctoral research scholar at Columbia Business School in New York City from 2006-2008.

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Alex Casillas, PhD

Alex Casillas is a principal research psychologist in the Center for Social, Emotional, and Academic Learning. At ACT, he has led research and development of behavioral assessments for predicting performance and persistence in school and work, as well as a multidisciplinary effort to design and implement a research-based framework that articulates what effective behavior looks like as part of the ACT Holistic Framework. His current research increasingly focuses on issues relevant to underserved learners. He received his B.A. in Psychology from Grinnell College and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Clinical Science from the University of Iowa.

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Cristina Anguiano-Carrasco, PhD

Cristina Anguiano-Carrasco is a research scientist in the Center for Social, Emotional, and Academic Learning (SEAL). Her research focusses on the measurement, assessment development, and associated response biases of Social and Emotional skills.

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Jill McVey, PhD

Jill McVey is a research scientist In ACT’s Center for Social, Emotional, and Academic Learning. Her primary research interests are in education, particularly the impact that social and emotional skills have on academic achievement.

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Dana Murano, PhD

Dana Murano is a research scientist in ACT’s Center for Social, Emotional, and Academic Learning. Her research focuses on the development and assessment of social and emotional skills in students.

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Kate Walton, PhD

Kate Walton is a principal research scientist in ACT’s Center for Social, Emotional, and Academic Learning. Prior to joining ACT in 2017, she was Associate Professor of Psychology at St. John’s University. She specializes in personality assessment and development.

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Jason Way, PhD

Jason Way is a senior research psychologist in the Center for Social, Emotional, and Academic Learning. His research focuses on the assessment of the social and emotional skills that impact important academic and work outcomes.

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Have a question? Contact us and a member of our team will get back to you as soon as possible.