In 2007, Clark McKown founded the research department at the Rush NeuroBehavioral Center, a children’s center associated with Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.
The focus of their work was on finding, developing, and field-testing performance-based direct assessments of children’s social and emotional competence. The team’s aspiration was to create assessments that were more informative than self-report surveys and teacher rating scales.
This began with a focus on children with clinical impairments. They assessed competencies like how well children understood others’ thoughts and feelings, how well they solved social problems, how well they managed their emotions.
The team found that these performance-based direct assessments worked well. Colleagues in schools suggested that these are competencies all students need, so they started developing assessments for all children. They sought and obtained several large grants from the Institute of Education Sciences to develop and validate web-based direct assessments of social and emotional competence.
- In 2011, Clark and his team started developing our early elementary K to 3 assessment, SELweb EE.
- In 2016, Clark founded xSEL Labs and secured a license to commercialize SELweb.
- In 2017, added a late elementary assessment, SELweb LE.
- In 2018 through today, the number of district partnerships has grown rapidly.