Devereux Student Strengths Assessment:
Strengthening our youth’s social and emotional skills
With nearly 1 million
assessments completed since January 2018, the Devereux Students Strengths Assessment (DESSA) is
taking its place as the gold standard when it comes to screening, assessing
and strengthening social-emotional competence for youth, grades K-12.
– originally developed by the Devereux Center for Resilient
Children (DCRC) – is
the flagship product of Aperture Education’s suite
of social and emotional tools for students and educators.
“The DESSA assessments are standardized, strength-based
behavior rating scales for children and youth in grades K-12. Our assessments
are used by educators, parents and guardians, and out-of-school-time staff, to
measure the social-emotional competence of youth – and can be completed in just
five to eight minutes,” said Aperture Education Vice President of Research and
Development, and DESSA author, Paul
LeBuffe. “Among other things, the DESSA assessments can be used to provide
actionable, sound data which can help support school climate and equitable
practices, combat chronic absenteeism and predict certain behavioral
infractions. The goal is to strengthen the social and emotional skills of our
youth so that they may lead happy, successful and productive lives.” Aperture’s DESSA Comprehensive SEL System includes tools that
can be used with children, grades K-12. Learn more about the
complete DESSA product line.
educators tailor instruction; promoting self-awareness in youth
After the assessments
are completed, the tool enables educators to tailor instruction so youth
receive the individualized support they need to succeed.
“Data can be shared with
the individual student, parents, and organizational leaders,
when appropriate,” LeBuffe explained. “Students who
receive the results are often very interested to learn where their strengths
and areas of need exist. The DESSA gives students a better understanding of
themselves and promotes self-awareness – a key social and emotional skill.”
Today, the DESSA is used
- 30,000 Educators
- 2,300 Schools and sites
The Aperture / Devereux connection
In 2017, Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health helped launch Aperture
Education to provide strength-based assessments – including the DESSA – and
resilience-building resources to assist schools and out-of-school-time
organizations in addressing the whole
child. Since its launch, Aperture has expanded its resources to include
professional development to focus on staff wellness and social and emotional
“Aperture’s primary goal is to
ensure all members of school and out-of-school time community programs, including
both students and adults, have the social and emotional skills needed to thrive.
They place a clear focus on non-academic factors – including skills such as
self-awareness, self-management, personal responsibility and optimistic
thinking – that are essential to a student’s success,” said DCRC Director Susan Damico. “Devereux and Aperture have a shared vision that includes ensuring that
all children, from birth through high school, have adults in their lives who
understand the importance of social and emotional development, and are provided
with the resources and skills to strengthen and support children’s social and
Get started with the DESSA today!
LeBuffe noted that the
DESSA suite of assessments have long been
considered one of the best, most highly regarded evidence-based social and
emotional learning assessments available.
“School staff want to
know that the time they are spending on the DESSA will produce accurate and
meaningful results – and it will,” he said. “The DESSA suite of assessments produce
reliable, valid data that schools and community programs can count on to inform
their instruction and interventions – to help our youth be successful.”
Learn more about the complete DESSA product line or the newest educator
SEL tool, EdSERT, and Aperture
Education. Learn more about the Devereux Center for Resilient
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