The Texas Education Commissioner has selected the Devereux Student Strengths Assessment mini (the DESSA-mini) as one of two kindergarten Health and Wellness assessments approved for schools to use in that state.

The DESSA-mini is a strengths-based screening tool used by schools and out-of-school-time organizations to measure the social and emotional skills of students in grades K-8. These include critical skills such as personal responsibility, self-management, relationship skills and healthy decision-making. It is administered online via the Evo Social/Emotional system from Aperture Education.

The Commissioner’s List of Approved Prekindergarten and Kindergarten Assessment Instruments was released on July 12, 2017 and includes the approved assessments for five domains of development: emergent literacy-reading, emergent literacy-writing, language and communication, health and wellness and mathematics. To learn more about the List, click here:

The goal of the List is to ensure that school districts and charter schools select instruments that are “based on valid and reliable scientific research, thoroughly measure each domain of development, and are user friendly,” according to the Texas Education Agency, which posts the List.

“Supporting the social and emotional health of students is critical. It helps them in every aspect of life, including academically,” said Jessica Adamson, CEO of Aperture Education. “It is important that schools are using quality assessments. We are honored that Texas chose the DESSA-mini to include on its list of approved health and wellness assessments for kindergarten students.”

If the 8-question DESSA-mini reveals that a student may need additional social-emotional support in some areas, a school can administer the full 72-item DESSA to get a deeper picture of the student’s SEL strengths and needs.

The final list of assessments is based on recommendations from a panel of 14 experts who reviewed, scored and ranked them.

Providing the DESSA and DESSA-mini is part of Aperture Education’s ongoing work to support educators, administers and out-of-school-time providers in implementing social-emotional learning programs within their schools. Its goal is to ensure members of school and out-of-school time communities, including adults, have the social and emotional skills needed to thrive.