Assessment Tool

A strength-based assessment of social-emotional competence in children: The Devereux Strengths Assessment

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The Devereux Strengths Assessment (DESSA) is a 72-item strengths-based assessment of social-emotional competence of youth in kindergarten through grade 8. Developed by the Devereux Center for Resilient Children (DCRC) in the United States, the DESSA can be used to identify youth that are at risk of developing social and/or emotional problems, to assess skills that are linked social-emotional competence and academic success, or to measure outcomes of social-emotional learning (SEL) programs. The DESSA can be administered by teachers, school staff, or parents and consists of eight scales: optimistic thinking, relationship skills, self-awareness, personal responsibility, self-management, goal-directed behavior, social awareness, and decision-making. The DESSA Kit includes record forms, norms tables for scoring the assessment, and a manual for administering the assessment and understanding results.

A shorter version, the DESSA-mini, is also available. The DESSA-mini measures the same social-emotional competencies as the DESSA in a series of four 8-item scales. The DESSA-mini provides one total score of social-emotional skills and is ideal for initial screening in the classroom. The DESSA and DESSA-mini are available for purchase separately as individual measures or together as a comprehensive system.