DESSA-mini: Social and Emotional Development Assessment

A strength-based, nationally standardized, valid and reliable tool for screening and progress monitoring of social-emotional competence that can be completed in under 1 MINUTE.



Screen Social Emotional Competence in Less Than 1 Minute

The DESSA-mini and DESSA-HSE mini are brief yet powerful universal screeners that allow educators to rate a student in under 60 seconds. The DESSA-mini is used in grades K-8 and the DESSA-HSE mini for grades 9-12.

The assessments provide a highly reliable estimate of a student’s social-emotional competence. Sensitive to change and offering reliable data, the DESSA-mini and DESSA-HSE mini are great for universal screening and progress monitoring.

Monitor Social and Emotional Development

Consisting of four different, yet equivalent, 8-item forms, the DESSA-mini and DESSA-HSE mini provide a simple and effective way to track changes in social emotional competence over time.






DESS Mini Social and Emotional Development Assessment

Preventive Measures

In a recent study, students in the Need for Instruction range on the DESSA-mini at the beginning of the school year were

4.5 TIMES MORE LIKELY 

to commit a serious behavioral infraction by the end of that school year, compared to their peers. The DESSA-mini can help identify students with a Need for Instruction and intervene before challenging behaviors occur, using only 8 strength-based items.

Texas: Commissioner’s List of Approved Prekindergarten and Kindergarten Assessment Instruments

The DESSA-mini has been selected as part of a comprehensive list of approved Health and Wellness assessments for use in Kindergarten in the state of Texas. This list was created to ensure that all public and charter schools select assessment instruments that are scientifically valid and reliable, user-friendly, and are a comprehensive assessment of the specified area.

If you are interested in bringing the DESSA System to your program, fill out the form below and an SEL Account Executive will contact you with more information.

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What is the difference between the DESSA and the DESSA-mini/DESSA-HSE mini?

The DESSA-mini/DESSA-HSE mini

  • 8 Questions

  • Can be used to quickly assess the social-emotional competence of a group of students
  • Typically used for screening and progress monitoring of social and emotional development
  • Provides a snapshot of students’ overall social-emotional competence

The DESSA

  • 72 Questions

  • Can be used to assess students who may need additional SEL instruction

  • Typically used as a more in-depth assessment

  • Provides a detailed picture of students’ social and emotional development over time

Both the DESSA and DESSA-mini/DESSA-HSE mini include the following:

  • Supported by Aperture’s DESSA System, including access to growth strategies for each social and emotional competence

  • Backed by over 12 years of research in social and emotional learning

  • Assesses Aperture’s 8 SEL Competencies

  • Provides quick and easy reporting to see screening results and make informed decisions about student social and emotional development needs

FREE Webinar on the DESSA-mini!

Looking for more detailed information about DESSA-mini? Watch our webinar, brought to you by our Director of Sales & Business Development, Marc Kirsch. In this webinar, Marc will walk you through the basics – including when and why you should use the DESSA-mini vs. the full DESSA.

Watch Now!


Resources to Help You Support Social and Emotional Development

Take a look at the Aperture Education blog, and our on-demand webinars, for information, ideas and actionable strategies to build young people’s social-emotional competence. Check out these featured articles.

A Positive and Productive Learning Environment from Day One

Four Ideas to Integrate SEL into Your Core Curricula