U.K. group leverages Devereux assessment tool to help youth build resilience
Advanced Behavioral Health is getting noticed across the pond.
This fall, a
United Kingdom-based organization called SkillForce began using the Devereux Center for
Resilient Children’s (DCRC) “Devereux Student Strengths
tool to measure the impact of a new program – and learn whether or not the
program is helping develop resilience in children.
empowers children and adolescents to build confidence, resilience and good
character using the skills and experience of British Armed Forces veterans. The
organization enjoys the patronage of His Royal Highness Prince William, The
Duke of Cambridge, and operates in more than
200 primary and secondary schools across England, Scotland and Wales.
children develop inner strength
The “SkillForce Character Award Programme” – a
pilot program aimed at younger children, ages five to 14 – enables British Armed Forces veterans to help
children develop confidence and an inner strength that will
carry them through life.
“We wanted to
ensure we had a robust measurement tool in place to assess whether or not the
pilot has a demonstrable effect on the resilience and
inner strength of these students, in addition to improving their attitudes to
learning, behaviour and progress at school,” explained SkillForce Chief Executive
Officer Ben Slade. “Our academic partner – The Jubilee Centre for
Character and Virtues at the University of Birmingham – recommended the DESSA-mini
assessment to us.”
In addition to
other data collection methods, SkillForce is using the
DESSA-mini tool on a quarterly basis within its pilot schools. “We are excited,
as we are the first large scale pilot of this kind using DESSA in the United
Kingdom,” he said. Findings from the year-long pilot will help SkillForce roll
out the program to additional schools.
the DESSA tool
The Devereux Student Strengths
(DESSA) is a measure of behaviors related to resilience,
social-emotional competence and school success. The tool is a standardized behavior rating
scale that assesses the social-emotional competencies that serve as protective
factors for children in kindergarten through eighth grade.
emotional competence is critical for our youth, and is essential to their
success in school and, ultimately, in the workforce,” said DCRC Director Paul LeBuffe. “SkillForce does outstanding work in the
communities it serves, and we are thrilled to assist them with this important
A learning experience
When asked how
SkillForce’s use of DESSA is going so far, Slade added: “It is going well! DESSA
is easy to administer and makes sense. Once we get the results, we can use them
to amend the learning experience both for our young people and our instructors.
It will be good for both parties to see how they are progressing, and areas that
may require further development, working in partnership with the schools.”
In the U.S., DCRC’s tools and resources are used by approximately
5,000 school or community programs. Since its founding in 1995, the DCRC
estimates that about 6 million children have been involved with, or impacted
by, its assessment tools. To learn more about the DCRC and its assessment
tools, click here. To learn
more about SkillForce, click here.
Questions? Contact Paul LeBuffe.
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