Instructional Delivery Format and Student Social and Emotional Competency During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Date of Award


Degree Name

Ed.S. in School Psychology


Department of Counselor Education and Human Services


Susan Davies


In the 2020-2021 school year, many school districts allowed students to choose between online or traditional face-to-face classes due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This study evaluated whether there were differences in students' social and emotional competency associated with their selected learning platform. Participants included the parents of children enrolled in 4th and 5th grades. Fifty responses were obtained: 41 learning in the traditional setting and 9 enrolled in the online learning platform. The DESSA-mini, a standardized, strength based SEL instrument, was used to measure social and emotional competency. Given the standard scores from the DESSA-mini, a Mann-Whitney U test was conducted to examine the variance between students learning online verses in the traditional setting. There were no statistically significant differences in parents' social and emotional ratings of children learning online compared to those learning in the traditional setting. As online learning modalities continue to strengthen and become a preference amongst families across the country, it is important to examine the effects of online learning in comparison to traditional, in-person instruction. Implications for moving forward in post-pandemic schools are discussed.


Education, Educational Psychology, COVID-19, social and emotional competency, instructional delivery format

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