OECD Study on Social and Emotional Skills

In 2019, the OCDSB joined area school boards, OCSB, CECCE and CEPEO, to participate in an Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) International Survey on Social and Emotional Skills. More than 5,600 students in grades 5 and 10 participated from nearly 150 schools in the city - including 2500 from 67 OCDSB schools.

Ottawa was one of 10 cities internationally to participate in this study identifying and assessing the conditions and practices that foster and hinder the development of social and emotional skills for 10- and 15-year-old students. 

The study assessed students’ social and emotional skills using direct assessments of students, and indirect assessment through parents and teacher questionnaires. The study also gathered a range of information on the student’s family, school, and community environments through teachers, parents, school principals, and the students themselves.

The skills included in this study closely align with the OCDSB’s Exit Outcomes – the skills and characteristics we aim to develop in every student to foster student success beyond the classroom.

The results of the international study OECD were published on September 7th, 2021.  The report describes students' social and emotional skills and how they relate to individual, family, and school characteristics. The report also examines broader policy and socio-economic contexts related to these skills, and sheds light on ways to help education leaders and policy makers monitor and foster students’ social and emotional skills. 

You can read international report and watch the webinar of the virtual international launch on the OECD website. 

Additional information on the study can be found at the OECD Survey on Social and Emotional Skills website.

Ottawa Results

The OCDSB is very pleased to join with our colleagues at the OCSB, CECCE, and CEPEO to announce the launch of the OECD Survey on Social and Emotional Skills (SSES): Ottawa (Canada). This national report for Canada is part of the series of reports for each of the 10 cities/countries that participated in the OECD international study.  

Highlights from the Ottawa report:

  • 15-year-olds exhibited lower social and emotional skills than 10-year-olds
  • 15-year-old boys exhibited higher skills in the domains of emotional regulation (stress resistance, optimism and emotional control) and engaging with others (sociability, assertiveness, energy)
  • 15-year-old girls exhibited higher levels of responsibility, empathy, co-operation, tolerance and achievement motivation
  • Students in Ottawa with higher levels of curiosity, assertiveness, tolerance and trust had higher educational expectations
  • 65% of 15-year-olds in Ottawa reported that they expected to go on to and complete a post-secondary degree – a share that is consistent with that of post-secondary-educated people in the city of Ottawa
  • Students who participate in after-school art activities report higher levels of creativity, particularly among 15-year-olds
  • Socio-economically advantaged students exhibited higher levels of almost every social and emotional skill measured by SSES than their less socioeconomically advantaged peers
  • 28% of 10-year-old students and 25% of 15-year-old students experienced bullying at least a few times a month or more. Students’ exposure to bullying was negatively related to almost all social and emotional skills.

Discussion of Ottawa Results

On November 29, 2021 the OCDSB hosted a webinar to discuss the Ottawa results in detail.

The panelists included:

  • Andreas Schleicher, Director for the Directorate of Education and Skills,OECD 
  • Dr. David Tranter, Associate Professor at Lakehead University and Scientific Director at the Centre for Relationship-Based Education
  • Heather Woods, PhD Candidate and Part-Time Professor at University of Ottawa

Read the OECD Survey on Social and Emotional Skills: Ottawa report: English | French
Read the OECD international report Beyond Academic Learning: First results from the Survey on Social and Emotional Skills.

What was the purpose of the study?

The Survey aimed to:

  • Provide participating cities and countries with information on their students' social and emotional skills
  • Identify factors in students' home, school and peer environments that promote or hinder the development of social and emotional skills.
  • Explore how broader policy, cultural and socio-economic contexts influence these skills.
  • Demonstrate that valid, reliable, comparable information on social and emotional skills can be produced across diverse populations and settings.

What did the survey assess?

What did the survey assess

What skills were included?

The survey measured a total of 17 social and emotional skills.

What skills were included

How were social and emotional skills measured?

The Survey took a single snapshot of two cohorts of primary and secondary school students, at ages 10 and 15. It assessed students' social and emotional skills directly but also obtained information from their parents, teachers and school principals. This allowed for a better understanding of the home and school contexts in which these skills develop.

How was information collected about students’ environments?

The Survey collected information on students' and their parent's background characteristics, as well as on family, school, and community learning contexts through four contextual questionnaires developed for: students, parents, teachers and school principals. The contextual questionnaires aimed to capture the most relevant information that influenced students’ social and emotional skills development.

How was information collected about students’ environments

Who was the target population?

Who was the target population

Who else participated in the study?

Who else participated in the study

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