Social and emotional learning (SEL) company Aperture Education is in the final stages of standardizing its high school SEL assessment – the Devereux Student Strengths Assessment-High School Edition (DESSA-HSE). It is asking for help from parents, teachers, school staff, and after-school organizations to help it complete the standardization process so it can start offering the assessment to schools and after school organizations nationwide. Participants complete a 10 to 15-minute online survey about the social and emotional strengths of a high-school aged student or child.

Aperture offers multiple ways to participate in the standardization project. Schools and after-school programs can earn up to $615 for submitting up to 48/teacher/staff ratings (a max of four ratings per adult) and 75 parent ratings as part of a DESSA fundraising program. The person managing the project for the school or after-school program will also receive $100. Any school or program that participates in this manner will also receive a one-year subscription to the DESSA-HSE upon its completion. Individuals who wish to participate in the standardization project will receive a $5 gift card for each child they assess. Teachers, staff and after school coordinators can assess up to four high school students while parents can assess up to two of their high school-aged children.

The DESSA-HSE is designed specifically to measure the social and emotional competencies of students in grades 9-12 so teachers, school staff, and parents can address the unique needs and strengths of this age group.

By taking the survey, participants will help ensure the assessment consistently and accurately identifies students’ SEL strengths. Aperture is collecting ratings from more than 3,000 parents, teachers/staff, and youth across the country to help it select the items that are the best indicators of positive outcomes in students.

This online survey will ask for basic information about the youth and his or her family. It will not ask for names or any other information that would identify the youth. Each rating will be combined with the other ratings from parents or teachers across the United States.

“Strong social-emotional learning (SEL) skills can help high school students handle the stressors that often come with getting older such as increased responsibility, harder classes and impending decisions about their futures,” said Jessica Adamson, CEO of Aperture Education. “Developing these skills not only makes it less likely that these students will drop out, it also sets them up for future success in college and the workplace. We’re looking forward to launching the DESSA-HSE so we can help parents and schools better target the SEL needs of this specific age group. The data we receive from this standardization process is critical and we are grateful for the help of the public in completing this task.” 

Aperture currently offers a K-8 digital SEL assessment and intervention system called Evo Social/Emotional, which uses the DESSA to help educators measure students’ social and emotional skills and provides strategies for instruction and intervention. The DESSA-HSE will provide companion SEL assessments for the high school level.

Expanding its SEL system to students in grades 9-12 is part of Aperture Education’s ongoing work to support educators, administrators and out-of-school-time providers in implementing social and emotional learning programs within their schools or programs.