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What are the ISCA Student Standards?

The ISCA Student Standards are internationally recognized content standards for students that guide schools and counseling programs by outlining the specific knowledge, attitudes, and skills that students should be able to demonstrate as a result of an effective program. 

They are the most comprehensive and precisely defined set of standards in SEL. These standards, aligned with the CASEL framework, provide specific learning outcomes to the unique contexts of international schools.

The standards encompass four domains:

  • Social-Emotional
  • Global Perspective and Identity Development
  • Academic
  • Career

The standards are designed to be adopted school-wide and integrated within and across the curriculum. While school counselors play a vital role in the development of these skills and competencies, it is essential to recognize that SEL skills are best developed through a comprehensive approach.

The most effective approach is a school-wide one, where everyone—from teachers and counselors to school leaders and caregivers—has different roles but a shared responsibility for fostering these skills across disciplines. Therefore, we believe that delivering SEL is a whole-school effort and a collective responsibility, ensuring that every student benefits from a consistent and supportive learning environment.

The infographic below highlights the four main domains of the ISCA Student Standards and the specific standards within each domain. It illustrates how these components collectively support the development of essential life skills.

Why are the ISCA Student Standards important?

The ISCA Student Standards help schools to prioritize the content that is taught and assessed within and across the curriculum. These standards are the foundation for classroom lessons, small groups, and activities within a school program. 

Students learn best in environments that are validating, respectful, supportive, inclusive, and safe. Implementing the ISCA Student Standards through the lens of equity and belonging is essential to improving outcomes for all students and creating a safe school culture free of bias and oppression.

Consistent standards that are adopted by international schools around the world promote equity and provide teachers, parents, and students with clear expectations to ensure that all students have the skills, attitudes, and knowledge necessary to succeed in life upon graduation from high school, regardless of where they received their Nursery–Grade 12 education.

What is new about the updated ISCA Student Standards?

In May 2022, ISCA revised the ISCA Student Standards to achieve the following goals:

  • More clearly articulate the dispositions, knowledge and skills that prepare students for post-secondary education, future careers, and global citizenship

  • Promote equity, reduce harm and improve access for all students

  • Recognize identity development as part of the Global Perspective Domain, now called Global Perspective and Identity Development Domain

  • Reflect the ideas of the internationally recognized and evidence-based Social Emotional Learning (SEL) competencies developed by the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL)

The ISCA International Model 2nd edition 

The ISCA Student Standards are an integral part of the complete ISCA International Model 2nd edition which  has been transformed to equip you, and school counselors around the world, with the most up to date information you need to guarantee a successful school counseling program that aligns with best practices. Learn more. 

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