Devereux Student Strengths Assessment (DESSA)
|General Information on the Measure|
|Purpose of the measure||
DESSA assesses eight social and emotional competencies and is intended to help educators plan instruction, document students’ strengths and areas of need, inform progress monitoring, and evaluate program outcomes.
|Main constructs measured||
Cognitive competencies; Interpersonal competencies; Intrapersonal competencies
|Applicable grade levels||
|Publication year for the most recent version||
|Year originally developed||
Parents/guardians, teachers, or staff at schools and child-serving agencies, including after-school, social service, and mental health programs.
|Method of administration||
|Number of items||
Five-point Likert-type scale
Five to 10 minutes
|Fee for use||Fee charged by developer|
|Credentials required for administration||
|Overall score reporting||
An overall Social-Emotional Composite score is reported.
There are eight subscores:
Scoring manual and online scoring service is provided by the assessment developers.
DESSA results are reported using T-scores and percentile ranks. Tools are also available for pre-test/post-test comparisons and rater comparisons. Online administration produces individual student, classroom, site, and program-level reports.
|Evidence of Technical Quality|
|Populations for which technical quality evidence has been collected||
A nationally representative sample of 2,500 children from across the United States (LeBuffe et al., 2009). Ratings were provided by teachers, out-of-school time staff and parents/guardians, 227 raters from across the United States (Nickerson & Fishman, 2009).
Internal consistency coefficients were estimated for the Social-Emotional composite as well as the eight subscales; they were estimated separately for parent and teacher raters. Coefficient alpha ranged from 0.82 to 0.99. Test-retest reliabilities ranged from 0.79 to 0.90 (parents), and 0.86 to 0.94 (teachers/staff). Intra-rater reliabilities had correlation coefficients of 0.73 for parents, and 0.74 for teachers/staff (LeBuffe et al., 2009).
|Locating the Measure|
|Obtaining a copy of the measure||apertureed.com|
LeBuffe, P.A., Shapiro, V.B., & Naglieri, J.A. , "The Devereux Student Strengths Assessment (DESSA)," Lewisville, NC: Kaplan Press, 2009.
Nickerson, A. B., & Fishman, C. (2009), "Convergent and divergent validity of the Devereux Student Strengths Assessment," School Psychology Quarterly (24), 2009, pp. 48–59.
Epstein, M. H. , "BERS-2: Behavioral and Emotional Rating Scale," Examiner’s Manual, Second edition , Austin, TX: Pro-Ed, 2004.
Reynolds, C. R., & Kamphaus, R. W. , "BASC-2: Behavior assessment system for children," 2004.
This measure is also reviewed in the AWG Guide.
Measure summary updated October 3, 2018.