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Empathy has been shown to increase student test scores.
The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) reports that students who participated in social and emotional learning (SEL) programs that emphasize and teach empathy showed an average gain on achievement test scores of 11 to 17 percent.
This finding came from a review of 317 studies, which involved 324,303 kids. The studies found several other positive impacts, such as a better connection to school, increased prosocial behavior, and a reduction in student conduct problems. And, to put a cherry on top, the findings were found to be applicable for racially and ethnically diverse students from urban, rural, and suburban settings.
Extending these findings, we would suggest that putting people in the position of their own expertise, as this section describes, may even help to build up the identity in someone who says, “I am smart. I am capable. I have something to offer.” That is a mindset that goes beyond increasing test scores. It creates change-makers.