Improve Your SEL Program with Actionable, Evidence-Based Data

Assessments are integral to any social and emotional learning (SEL) program. Data is a powerful tool to help educators identify students’ needs and, through progress monitoring, strengthen the quality of instruction. Assessments also can be used to help school or program leadership evaluate the effectiveness and ROI of an SEL program.

But which assessment is the best fit? First, it is important to select an evidence-based tool that aligns well with your existing curriculum. The assessment should also be robust and flexible to meet your evaluation needs.

Aperture Education’s Devereux Student Strengths Assessment (DESSA) is an evidence-based, award-winning survey that measures the critical social and emotional skills needed for students’ success. The DESSA is the assessment component of the DESSA Comprehensive SEL System, which provides valuable insight into how to maximize student learning and whether an existing SEL program is working. It also gives leadership the ability to make program adjustments and boost program effectiveness. And the best part — the DESSA System integrates seamlessly with many top SEL curriculum providers!

The DESSA System is flexible and can support nearly any SEL curricula. Additionally, our system provides instant access to targeted SEL intervention strategies and curricula samples from leading SEL providers, including:

Benefits of SEL Data

An SEL program that lacks a data component is like flying blind. Without data, how do you know if your SEL program is adding value? Here are a few common ways schools and out-of-school-time programs use the DESSA System data to support their SEL curricula:

Know Your Students’ Strengths and Needs
Data can help you identify students’ strengths and areas where they need improvement. Students’ strengths can be leveraged to improve weaker areas. And knowing where your students need the most improvement allows you to tailor intervention to focus on critical areas first. The DESSA System’s robust reporting provides data on individual students as well as on class, school/program, and district/organization trends. The DESSA System’s data and reporting also supports many educational models, including MTSS, RtI, PBIS, and Gifted and Talented. These flexible options make it easy to use the data to maximize your program’s success. 

Measure the Effectiveness of Your SEL Program
Pre- and post-assessments can let educators know if an SEL program is effective. Program evaluation begins with a needs assessment survey (the DESSA-mini, Aperture’s quick and easy, 8-question progress monitoring assessment) to acquire baseline data on students’ social and emotional skills before program implementation occurs. At the end of the SEL program, educators use the DESSA-mini to evaluate students once again. This post-test data provides insight into whether an SEL intervention led to the expected improvements in students’ social and emotional skills. The data also can be used to inform decisions about program quality improvement, such as professional development opportunities for staff.

Identify What’s Working and Make Adjustments
The last thing educators want to see at the end of the year is that their SEL program wasn’t effective. Administer DESSA-mini quick mini-probes throughout the year to determine if students are showing measurable growth. This data enables educators to make adjustments early on and maximize students’ rates of success.

Many schools use SEL curriculum but are missing that important assessment piece. The good news is that an evidence-based, award-winning assessment is available — and it aligns to many popular SEL programs! Learn how Aperture Education’s DESSA System can support your students and provide critical SEL data today.

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