Delaware Social-Emotional Competency Scale (DSECS-S)

General Information on the Measure
Purpose of the measure

The Delaware Social-Emotional Competency Scale (DSECS-S) assesses students' social-emotional competencies that are aligned with the CASEL framework. It was designed to be used by schools to monitor programs that develop social-emotional competencies.

Main constructs measured

Intrapersonal competencies; Interpersonal competencies

Applicable grade levels

Grades 3 to 12

Publication year for the most recent version


Year originally developed


Related measures
Measure Administration


Method of administration


Number of items


Item format

Four-point Likert-type scale

Administration time

No information is available in the references reviewed.

Available languages

English, Spanish

Fee for use Free and publicly available
Credentials required for administration


Overall score reporting

The overall score is reported and four subscale scores.

Subscore reporting

There are four subscores:

  • Responsible decisionmaking
  • Relationship skills
  • Self-management
  • Social awareness
Scoring procedures

The measure is scored automatically.

Interpretive information

No information is available in the references reviewed. Interpretation Guidelines provided on website.

Evidence of Technical Quality
Populations for which technical quality evidence has been collected

Students in grades 3 to 12 in 126 schools in Delaware (N=32,414).

Reliability evidence

Internal consistency (alpha) coefficients range from 0.58 to 0.69 for the subscale scores and 0.84 for the total score (Mantz et al., 2016).

Validity evidence
Evidence based on content
Items were constructed by an expert panel composed of a university professor, university staff, graduate research assistants, and a representative of the Delaware Department of Education. Items were developed based on CASEL's 2012 social-emotional competency framework (Mantz et al, 2016).
Evidence based on response processes
Items were revised based on readability and reviewed by several teachers (Mantz et al, 2016).
Evidence based on internal structure
Confirmatory factor analysis was used to support a hierarchical structure with four subscales scores and an second-order social-emotional competency scale. Factor structure was invariant across grade level, race, and gender (Bear et al., 2017; Mantz et al., 2016).
Evidence based on relations with other variables
Total scores correlated positively with student self-reports of cognitive, behavioral, and emotional engagement. School-level scores correlated with academic achievement and with suspensions/expulsions in the anticipated directions (Mantz et al, 2016).
Locating the Measure
Obtaining a copy of the measure

Bear, G. G., Yang, C., Harris, A., Mantz, L., Hearn, S., & Boyer, D. "Technical manual for Delaware surveys of school climate; bullying victimization, student engagement, and positive, punitive, and social emotional learning techniques; and social and emotional competencies," University of Delaware, Center for Disabilities Studies, 2017.

Mantz, Lindsey S., George G. Bear, Chunyan Yang, and Angela Harris, "The Delaware Social-Emotional Competency Scale (DSECS-S): Evidence of Validity and Reliability," Child Indicators Research, 2016, pp. 1–21.


The DSECS-S was designed to be administered as a part of the Delaware School Surveys-Student Version (DSS-S), which include additional scales assessing school climate, bullying victimization, student engagement, and classroom management techniques.

Measure summary updated October 3, 2018.