Publications

In conjunction with the Devereux Center for Resilient Children (DCRC), our school-age initiative strives to conduct research to provide the evidence base for our resources, advance the state of knowledge in our field, and to provide information that will contribute to advocacy efforts for students’ social and emotional health.


The DESSA

The Devereux Student Strengths Assessment (DESSA) is a 72-item, standardized, norm-referenced behavior rating scale that assesses eight social and emotional competencies that serve as protective factors for children in kindergarten through the eighth grade. The DESSA-mini is comprised of four 8-item parallel forms which are designed to be used on a universal (i.e. school- or program-wide) basis to determine the need for social and emotional interventions. The four 8-item forms are standardized, norm-referenced behavior rating scales that screen for social and emotional competencies which serve as protective factors for children in kindergarten through the eighth grade. Considering the use of the DESSA to measure outcomes for individual children, groups of children, and/or for program improvement purposes? Download a document that provides the rationale for examining outcomes along with providing specific approaches for measuring outcomes. View Document.

PEER REVIEWED ARTICLES, PUBLISHED REPORTS, ARTICLES, & CHAPTERS



DESSA Research Authored by Aperture Team

Shapiro, V.B., Kim, B.K.E., Robitaille, J.L., LeBuffe, P.A., & Ziemer, K.L. (2018). Efficient implementation monitoring in routine prevention practice: A grand challenge for schools. Journal of the Society for Social Work and Research, 9(3), 377-394. https://doi.org/10.1086/699153

LeBuffe, P.A., Shapiro, V.B., & Robitaille, J.L. (2018). The Devereux Student Strengths Assessment (DESSA) comprehensive system: Screening, assessing, planning, and monitoring. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 55, 62-70. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.appdev.2017.05.002

Lee, J., Shapiro, V.B., Kim, B.K.E., & Yoo, J.P. (2018). Multilevel structural equation modeling for social work researchers: An introduction and application to Healthy Youth Development. Journal of the Society for Social Work and Research, 9(4), 689-719. https://doi.org/10.1086/701526

Chain, J., Shapiro, V.B., LeBuffe, P.A., Bryson, A.M., & American Indian and Alaska Native Advisory Committee (2017). Academic achievement of American Indian and Alaska Native Students: Does social-emotional competence reduce the impact of poverty? American Indian and Alaska Native Mental Health Research, 24(1), 1-29. http://dx.doi.org/10.5820/aian.2401.2017.1

Shapiro, V.B., Kim, B.K.E., Robitaille, J.L., & LeBuffe, P.A. (2017). Protective factor screening for prevention practice: Sensitivity and specificity of the DESSA-Mini. School Psychology Quarterly, 32(4), 449-464. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/spq0000181

Shapiro, V.B., Accomazzo, S., & Robitaille, J.L. (2017). In the same ballpark or a whole new ball game? Staff as raters of youth behavior. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 26(4), 1051-1055. https://doi.org/10.1007/s1082

Shapiro, V.B., Kim, B.K.E., Accomazzo, S. & Roscoe, J.N. (2016). Predictors of rater bias in the assessment of social-emotional competence. The International Journal of Emotional Education, 8(2), 25-44.  https://www.um.edu.mt/library/oar//handle/123456789/14432

Simmons, C.A., Shapiro, V.B., Accomazzo, S., & Manthey, T.J. (2016). Strengths-Based Social Work: A Meta-Theory to Guide Social Work Research and Practice. In N. Coady & P. Lehmann (Eds.), Theoretical perspectives for direct social work practice (3rd edition, pp. 131-154). New York: Springer Publishing Company. https://escholarship.org/uc/item/7bn5d1w1

Shapiro, V.B. (2015). Resilience: Have we not gone far enough? A response to Larry E. Davis. Social Work Research, 39(1): 7-10. https://doi.org/10.1093/swr/svv001

Shapiro, V.B., Accomazzo, S., Claassen, J., & Fleming, J.L. (2015). The choices, challenges, and lessons learned from a multi-method social-emotional / character assessment in an out of school time setting. Journal of Youth Development: Bridging Research and Practice10(3), 32-45. http://jyd.pitt.edu/ojs/index.php/jyd/article/view/5/3

Smith, G.T., Shapiro, V.B., Sperry, R.W., & LeBuffe, P.A. (2014). A strengths-based approach to supervised visitation in child welfare. Child Care in Practice, 20(1), 98–119. https://doi.org/10.1080/13575279.2013.847056

Naglieri, J.A., LeBuffe, P.A., & Shapiro, V.B. (2013). Assessment of social-emotional competencies related to resilience. In S. Goldstein & R. Brooks (Eds.), Handbook of Resilience in Children. Boston, MA: Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-3661-4_15

Naglieri, J.A., LeBuffe, P.A., & Ross, K.M. (2013). Measuring resilience in children: From theory to practice. In S. Goldstein & R. Brooks (Eds.), Handbook of Resilience in Children. Boston, MA: Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-3661-4_14

LeBuffe, P.A., Ross, K.M., Fleming, J.L., & Naglieri, J.A. (2013). The Devereux Suite: Assessing and promoting resilience in children ages 1 month to 14 years. In S. Prince-Embury & D. Saklofske (Eds.). Resilience in Children, Adolescents, and Adults: Translating Research into Practice (pp. 45-59). New York, NY: Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-4939-3_4

LeBuffe, P.A., Shapiro, V.B., & Naglieri, J.A. (2012/2014). The Devereux Student Strengths Assessment (DESSA): Assessment, technical manual, and user’s guide. Fort Mill, SC: Aperture Education.

Naglieri, J.A., LeBuffe, P.A., & Shapiro, V.B. (2011). Universal screening for social emotional competencies: A study of the reliability and validity of the DESSA-mini. Psychology in the Schools, 48(7): 660-671. https://doi.org/10.1002/pits.20586

Naglieri, J. A., LeBuffe, P. A., & Shapiro, V. B. (2011/2014). The Devereux Student Strengths Assessment – Mini (DESSA-Mini): Assessment, technical manual, and user’s guide. Fort Mill, SC: Aperture Education.

Woodland, S., Porter, R.E., & LeBuffe, P.A. (2011). Assessing strengths in residential treatment: Looking at the whole child. Residential Treatment for Children and Youth, 28(4), 283-302. https://doi.org/10.1080/0886571X.2011.615233

Naglieri, J.A., Goldstein, S., & LeBuffe, P.A. (2010). Resilience and impairment: An exploratory study of resilience factors and situational impairment. Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment, 28(4), 349-356. https://doi.org/10.1177/0734282910366845

LeBuffe, P. A., Shapiro, V. B., & Naglieri, J. A. (2009/2014). The Devereux Student Strengths Assessment (DESSA): Assessment, technical manual, and user’s guide. Fort Mill, SC: Aperture Education.

LeBuffe, P.A. & Shapiro, V.B. (2008). Supporting parent-professional collaboration through strength-based assessment. In C. Newman, C. Liberton, K. Kutash, & R. Friedman (Eds.). A System of Care for Children’s Mental Health: Expanding the Research Base, 20, 263-266. http://rtckids.fmhi.usf.edu/rtcconference/proceedings/20thproceedings/20thChapter08.pdf

Shapiro, V.B. & LeBuffe, P.A. (2007). Strengths that matter: An empirical investigation of elementary school student success. In C. Newman, C. Liberton, K. Kutash, & R. Friedman (Eds.). A System of Care for Children’s Mental Health: Expanding the Research Base, 19, 107-110. http://rtckids.fmhi.usf.edu/rtcconference/proceedings/19thproceedings/19thChapter03.pdf

Shapiro, V.B. & LeBuffe, P.A. (2006). Using protective factors in practice: Lessons learned about resilience from a study of children aged five to thirteen. In B.M. Lester, A.S. Masten, & B. McEwen (Eds.). Resilience in Children. Annals of the New York Academy of the Sciences, 1094, 350-353. https://doi.org/10.1196/annals.1376.048

Nickerson, A.B., Brosof, A.M., & Shapiro, V.B. (2004). Predicting positive outcomes for students with emotional disturbance. California School Psychologist, 9, 39-49. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03340906


Externally Authored DESSA Research and Evaluation

Doromal, J.B., Cottone, E.A., & Kim, H. (2019). Preliminary validation of the teacher-rated DESSA in a low-income, kindergarten sample. Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment, 37(1), 40-54. https://doi.org/10.1177/0734282917731460

Anderson, R.E. (2018). And still WE rise: Parent-child relationships, resilience, and school readiness in low-income urban Black families. Journal of Family Psychology, 32(1), 60-70. DOI: 10.1037/fam0000348

Brock, L.L., Kim, H., Kelly, C.L., Mashburn, A.J., & Grissmer, D.W. (2018). Theory of mind, directly and indirectly, facilitates kindergarten adjustment via verbal ability, executive function, and emotion knowledge. Psychology in the Schools, 1-18. https://doi.org/10.1002/pits.22216

Chance, E.K. (2018). The effects of the Ready for Success classroom guidance program on the social-emotional skills and competence, reading proficiency, and promotion rate of third-grade students (Doctoral Dissertation). Retrieved from ProQuest. https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED585853

Conover, K. (2018). “Tell Me a Story®”: Promoting resiliency in military children (Doctoral Dissertation). Retrieved from: https://scholarworks.umass.edu/dissertations_2/1226/

Kilpatrick, K.D., Maras, M.A., Brann, K.L., & Kilgus, S.P. (2018). Universal screening for social, emotional, and behavioral risk in students: DESSA-mini risk stability over time and its implications for screening procedures. School Psychology Review, 47(3), 244-257. https://doi.org/10.17105/SPR-2017-0069.V47-3

Orduna, I. (2018). Effectiveness of a group theraplay intervention for improving the socio-emotional functioning of children with developmental disabilities (Doctoral Dissertation). Retrieved from: https://ubir.buffalo.edu/xmlui/handle/10477/78554

Volpe, R.J., & Briesch, A.M. (2018). Establishing evidence-based behavioral screening practices in U.S. schools. School Psychology Review, 47(4), 396-402. http://naspjournals.org/loi/spsr

Walker, J.D., & Berry, C. (2018). Assessing and supporting social-skill needs for students with high-incidence disabilities. Teaching Exceptional Children, 51(1), 18-30. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F0040059918790219

Warmbold-Brann, K., Maras, M.A., Splett, J.Q., Smith-Millman, M., Dinnen, H., & Flaspohler, P. (2018). Examining the long-term stability of a strengths-based screener over 2 years. Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment, 36(8), 767-781. https://doi.org/10.1177/0734282917720564

Whitehead, L., Allan, M.C., Allen, K., Duchak, V., King, E., Mason, C., Mooney, L., &Tully, S. (2018). ‘Give us a break!’: Using a solution focused programme to help young people cope with loss and negative change. Bereavement Care, 37(1), 17-27. https://doi.org/10.1080/02682621.2018.1443597

DeMaiolo, J.N. (2017). Getting gritty with it: An analysis of grit and reading stamina in first grade students (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from: https://etd.ohiolink.edu/pg_10?0::NO:10:P10_ACCESSION_NUM:miami1499873738234926

Jones, S., Brush, K., Bailey, R., Brion-Meisels, G., McIntyre, J., Kahn, J., Nelson, B., & Stickle, L. (2017). Navigating SEL from the inside out: Looking inside & across 25 leading SEL programs-A practical resource for schools and OST providers. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Graduate School of Education. Retrieved from: http://www.wallacefoundation.org/knowledge-center/Documents/Navigating-Social-and-Emotional-Learning-from-the-Inside-Out.pdf

Melnick, H., Cook-Harvey, C.M., & Darling-Hammond, L. (2017). Encouraging social and emotional learning in the context of new accountability. Palo Alto, CA: Learning Policy Institute. Retrieved from: http://learningpolicyinstitute.org/product/sel-new-accountability.

Sepanta, M., Juzdani, M.H., & Ahmad, A. (2017). Psychometric properties of Persian version of the Devereux Student Strengths Assessment Scale. Developmental Psychology: Journal of Iranian Psychologists, 14(53), 63-73. https://www.sid.ir/en/journal/ViewPaper.aspx?id=597438

Soares, D.A., George, C.C., & Vannest, K.J. (2017). Screening and progress monitoring in secondary schools. In J.R. Harrison, B.K. Schultz, & S.W. Evans (Eds.). School Mental Health Services for Adolescents (pp. 249). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Byrd, C., Chmela, K., Coleman, C., Weidner, M., Kelly, E., Reichhardt, R., & Irani, F. (2016). An introduction to camps for children who stutter: What they are and how they can help. Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups, 1(4), 55-69. https://doi.org/10.1044/persp1.SIG4.55

Compton, A. (2016). Examining the longitudinal stability of a dual-factor model of mental health in early elementary school students (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from: https://digital.lib.washington.edu/researchworks/handle/1773/37096

Hatchimonji, D.R. (2016). Grit in Latino middle school students: Construct validity and psychometric properties of the short grit scale (Master’s thesis). Retrieved from: https://rucore.libraries.rutgers.edu/rutgers-lib/49206/

Lorenz, C.M. (2016). Universal screening for social emotional competencies: Is DIBELS an option? (Master’s Thesis). Retrieved from: https://www.twu.ca/library

McNeeley, J.T. (2016). An evaluation of the Second Step social emotional learning program in a public charter elementary school (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from ProQuest Dissertations Publishing: https://search.proquest.com/openview/46879309557a79bb1d1a3d26b334a70c/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=18750&diss=y

Augustine, C.H., McCombs, J.S., Pane, J.F., Schwartz, H.L., Schweig, J., McEachin, A., & Siler-Evans, K. (2016). Learning from summer: Effects of voluntary summer learning programs on low-income urban youth. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation. https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR1557.html

Anderson, R.E. (2015). Focusing on family: Parent-child relationships and school readiness among economically impoverished black children. The Journal of Negro Education, 84(3), 442-456. www.jstor.org/stable/10.7709/jnegroeducation.84.3.0442

Bacal, E.B. (2015). The relationship between placement and social skills in gifted students (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from ASU electronic dissertations and theses. Retrieved from: https://repository.asu.edu/items/29921

Denham, S.A. (2015). Assessment of SEL in educational contexts. In J.A. Durlak, C.E., Domitrovich, R.P. Weissberg, & T.P. Gullotta (Eds.), Handbook of Social and Emotional Learning: Research and Practice (pp. 285-300). View Book Synopsis.

Low, S., Cook. C.R., Smolkowski, K. & Buntain-Ricklefs, J.B. (2015). Promoting social-emotional competence: An evaluation of the elementary version of Second Step®. Journal of School Psychology, 53, 463-477. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsp.2015.09.002

Maras, M.A., Thompson A.M., Lewis, C. Thornburg, K., & Hawks, J. (2015). Developing a tiered response model for social-emotional learning through interdisciplinary collaboration. Journal of Educational and Psychological Consultation, 25, 1-26. https://doi.org/10.1080/10474412.2014.929954

Rossi, Jessica. (2015). Teacher Child Interaction Training as a universal prevention program in preschool and kindergarten classrooms. (Doctoral Dissertation). Retrieved from: https://commons.lib.jmu.edu/diss201019/11/

Pendry, P., Smith, A.N., & Roeter, S.M. (2014). Randomized trial examines effects of equine facilitated learning on adolescents’ basal cortisol levels. Human-Animal Interaction Bulletin, 2(1), 80-95. https://www.apa-hai.org/human-animal-interaction/haib/effects-of-equine-facilitated-learning/

Harrison, J.R., Vannest, K.J., & Reynolds, C.R. (2013). Social acceptability of five screening instruments for social, emotional, and behavioral challenges. Behavioral Disorders, 38(3), 171-189. https://doi.org/10.1177/019874291303800305

Jenson, J., & Peña S.L. (2013). Research brief number 29: Participation in Second Step Program improves social and emotional skills in 2012-2013. The Bridge Project. The Graduate School of Social Work University of Denver, Denver, Co. View Research Brief. Learn about The Bridge Project.

Kong, T. (2013). Socioemotional competencies, cognitive ability, and achievement in gifted students (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from ASU electronic dissertations and theses. Retrieved from: https://repository.asu.edu/items/20861

Nickerson, A.B., & Fishman, C. (2013). Promoting mental health and resilience through strength-based assessment in US schools. Educational and Child Psychology, 30(4), 7-17. Retrieved from: https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2014-01610-002

Pendry, P., & Roeter, S. (2013). Experimental trial demonstrates positive effects of equine facilitated learning on child social competence. Human-Animal Interaction Bulletin, 1(1), 1-19. Retrieved from: https://www.apa-hai.org/human-animal-interaction/haib/experimental-trial-demonstrates-positive-effects-of-equine-facilitated-learning-on-child-social-competence/

Perham, H.J. (2012). Interpersonal skills of gifted students: Risk versus resilience. (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from ASU electronic dissertations and theses: https://repository.asu.edu/items/14759

Tsang, K.L.V., Wong, P.Y.H., & Lo, S.K. (2012). Assessing psychosocial well-being of adolescents: A systematic review of measurement instruments. Child: Care, Health and Development, 38(35), 629-646.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2214.2011.01355.x

Ysseldyke, J., Lekwa, A.J., Klingbeil, D.A., & Cormier, D.C. (2012). Assessment of ecological factors as an integral part of academic and mental health consultation. Journal of Educational and Psychological Consultation, 22, 21-43. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10474412.2011.649641

Nickerson, A.B., & Fishman, C. (2009). Convergent and divergent validity of the Devereux Student Strengths Assessment. School Psychology Quarterly, 24(1), 48-59. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0015147

DESSA REVIEWS

Atlas, J. A. (2010). Test review of the Devereux student strengths assessment. In R. A. Spies, J. F. Carlson, & K. F. Geisinger (Eds.), The eighteenth mental measurements yearbook (pp. 178–180). Lincoln, NE: Buros Center for Testing.

Haggerty, K., Elgin, J., & Woolley, A. (2011). Social-emotional learning assessment measures for middle school youth. Seattle, WA: Social Development Research Group, University of Washington: Commissioned by the Raikes Foundation.

Malcomb, K. K. (2010). Test review of the Devereux Student Strengths Assessment. In R. A. Spies, J. F. Carlson, & K. F. Geisinger (Eds.), The eighteenth mental measurements yearbook (pp. 180–182). Lincoln, NE: Buros Center for Testing.

Atlas, J. A. (2010). Test review of the Devereux student strengths assessment. In R. A. Spies, J. F. Carlson, & K. F. Geisinger (Eds.), The eighteenth mental measurements yearbook (pp. 178–180). Lincoln, NE: Buros Center for Testing.

Haggerty, K., Elgin, J., & Woolley, A. (2011). Social-emotional learning assessment measures for middle school youth. Seattle, WA: Social Development Research Group, University of Washington: Commissioned by the Raikes Foundation.

Malcomb, K. K. (2010). Test review of the Devereux Student Strengths Assessment. In R. A. Spies, J. F. Carlson, & K. F. Geisinger (Eds.), The eighteenth mental measurements yearbook (pp. 180–182). Lincoln, NE: Buros Center for Testing.

DEVEREUX CENTER for RESILIENT CHILDREN RESEARCH REPORTS

The Devereux Student Strengths Assessment (DESSA) Spanish Equivalency Study

Devereux Center for Resilient Children. (2014). The Devereux Student Strengths Assessment (DESSA) Spanish Equivalency Study. Villanova, PA: Sean Woodland, Gabriel Smith, Jennifer Fleming, Kylie O’Neill-Mullin, Alex Shortall, & Katherine Ross.

An Examination of the Devereux Student Strengths Assessment (DESSA) as Related to the Social and Work Skills Subscales on the ABAS-II with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and Co-occurring Autism Spectrum Disorders

Devereux Center for Resilient Children. (2013). An Examination of the Devereux Student Strengths Assessment (DESSA) as Related to the Social and Work Skills Subscales on the ABAS-II with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and Co-Occuring Autism Spectrum Disorders. Villanova, PA: Richard Allen.

The Devereux Student Strengths Assessment and its Relationship to Academic Achievement

Devereux Center for Resilient Children. (2009). The Devereux Student Strengths Assessment and its Relationship to Academic Achievement. Villanova, PA: Amanda Ball.

Examining the Contextual Validity of the DESSA and DESSA-mini for use in Primary and Middle School Settings

Devereux Center for Resilient Children. (2009). Examining the Contextual Validity of the DESSA and DESSA-mini for use in Primary and Middle School Settings. Villanova, PA: Paul LeBuffe, Amanda Ball & Christopher Hughes.

DESSA-mini: A Strength-based Universal Screener of Students’ Social-Emotional Competence

Devereux Center for Resilient Children. (2009). DESSA-mini: A strength-based universal screener of students’ social-emotional competence. Villanova, PA: Christopher Hughes.



ONGOING RESEARCH PROJECTS



Aperture Research Analyst Dr. Valerie Shapiro is also an Assistant Professor of Social Welfare and Co-Director of the Center for Prevention Research in Social Welfare at the University of California Berkeley. Valerie has received a Stuart Foundation grant to study the implementation of social-emotional learning strategies in Bay Area schools, using the DESSA as an outcome measure. This research project, in collaboration with Dovetail LearningBerkeley Unified School District, and San Lorenzo Unified School District, will collect information from various sites to understand the naturally occurring variation that exists in implementation activities and outputs. This project will also explore the relationship between program implementation and outcomes, generating recommendations for the routine implementation of social-emotional learning programs.  This research will support the adoption and high-quality implementation of effective social-emotional learning programs in schools, promoting the social and emotional well-being of children.

For full press release click here.

Anchorage, Alaska School District is a leading district in implementing Social and Emotional Learning Standards, adopting them district-wide in 2006.  The district educates almost 50,000 students, speaking 91 different languages, with minority students comprising more than 50 percent of the population.  Anchorage has been using the DESSA and DESSA-mini to guide their SEL work and assess social and emotional competencies since 2008.

Through this collaboration, Aperture has not only helped Anchorage to be effective at implementing SEL through assessment, evaluation, and reporting, but collaborative research shows a direct relationship between social and emotional competencies and success in math and reading!

More recently, Aperture has been able to work with Anchorage to assess and build the protective factors of Alaska Native youth. Aperture is collaborating with Project Ki’L, a Title VII Indian Education Program.  Project Ki’L provides an afterschool and summer program that focuses on the culture of Alaska Native and American Indian boys to increase social-emotional skills and academic success. For this project, DESSA is used by teachers and program administrators to design curricula and measure outcomes. View a news clip about Project Ki’L!

Aperture Education has partnered with SCAN Inc., in Fort Wayne, Indiana to use the DESSA to measure and build the protective factors of children in supervised visitation services. These children have been removed from their home due to allegations of abuse and neglect. Through this partnership a curriculum called the Joan Sherman Program for Resilient Children has been developed which uses a coaching model to help parents engage positively with their children during supervised visits.  This project involves a multi-site research study to evaluate the effectiveness of this program for enhancing parenting skills, developing children’s protective factors, and preventing future abuse and neglect.  For more information on the Joan Sherman Program for Resilient Children, click here.

For more information on our work within the Child Welfare System, click here.