The DESSA Comprehensive SEL System

Aperture Education’s social and emotional learning software system – including the nationally recognized Devereux Student Strengths Assessment (DESSA) and DESSA-mini.




A Comprehensive, Cloud-Based System

The DESSA Comprehensive SEL System allows educators to measure, strengthen, and support social-emotional competence in youth K-12 grade. The DESSA System includes a suite of strength-based social emotional learning (SEL) assessments, a universal screener that can be administered in less than a minute, foundational practices, and growth strategies to strengthen social and emotional competence.  Actionable data and reporting helps SEL program administrators measure the impact of their programs and helps educators understand students’ SEL strengths and needs.

Check out a quick look of our system to the left, or take a more extensive tour of the DESSA System.

Take a Tour

Explore Aperture Education’s suite of social emotional learning (SEL) assessments

DESSA SEL Program

The Devereux Student Strengths Assessment

The flagship assessment of Aperture Education. A valid and reliable 72-item assessment of social and emotional strengths and needs in students grades K-8.

DESSA Mini Social Emotional Learning Program

The Devereux Student Strengths Assessment-mini

A valid and reliable one-minute screener of students’ social and emotional strengths and needs. The DESSA-mini provides insight for students Grades K-8 and the DESSA-HSE mini provides insight for students Grades 9-12.

DESSA High School Edition SEL Program

The Devereux Student Strengths Assessment-High School Edition

A valid and reliable 43-item assessment of social and emotional strengths and needs in students Grades 9-12.

DESSA Second Step Social Emotional Learning Programs

The Devereux Student Strengths Assessment-Second Step Edition

A valid and reliable 36-item assessment of social and emotional strengths and needs directly aligned to the Second Step curriculum for students Grades K-5.

Kickboard social and emotional learning programs

The Kickboard DESSA SEL Inventory

A partnership between Kickboard and Aperture Education, this inventory helps schools collect, monitor, and analyze real-time data on 40 student behaviors tied to the DESSA core SEL competencies.

Statistically Valid and Reliable Assessments

With over twelve years of research behind it, the DESSA is one of the most reliable social emotional learning assessment tools. Paired with the award-winning technology available within the DESSA System, you can count on reliable and user-friendly data.

For more in-depth information about any of our research studies, visit our Research and Publications page.






SEL program with social emotional learning activities
Social and emotional learning programs




Measuring SEL competencies

Tools to Understand and Act Upon

Along with the DESSA, DESSA-HSE, and DESSA-mini (a shorter, but still reliable 8-question screener), DESSA System users have access to research-informed Growth Strategies and Foundational Practices, used to bolster social and emotional skills on eight SEL competencies.

These strategies can be used universally (large group settings, like a classroom), in small groups, individually, or as take-home assignments. In addition, each competency comes with a teacher reflection activity – allowing users to understand their own social and emotional strengths and areas of need.

Sample Strategy