The Aperture System Assesses SEL Competency

Aperture Education’s Aperture System is home to the DESSA, a nationally standardized, strength-based behavioral assessment scale that assesses students’ social and emotional skills in eight key areas: self-awareness, optimistic thinking, self-management, goal-oriented behavior, decision-making. making, personal responsibility, relational skills and social awareness. The open system includes the DESSA for K-8 students and the DESSA–High School Edition. It is used by over 7,000 schools and after-school programs and has supported over two million students.

Starting this fall, high school students can choose up to 14 different languages ​​to take the DESSA self-assessment, with more languages ​​coming soon. The DESSA K-8 is usually administered by a teacher and is available in Spanish and English. The DESSA has been extensively researched and developed to ensure cultural sensitivity to mitigate any potential bias.
DESSA data identifies students’ social and emotional strengths and areas that may need additional support. This helps educators identify appropriate strategies for these students and enables administrators to make data-based strategic decisions regarding social and emotional learning (SEL) in their districts.

SEL can be particularly impactful for students whose first language is not English. To research ( shows that improving the social and emotional well-being of language learners can be just as important as academic educational support (INTESOL Journal, 14(1), 2017). SEL can help ELL and immigrant students transition into schools and communities. It fosters strong relationships with educators and peers and equips students with the skills to succeed in new environments.

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