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Devereux Student Strengths Assessment

Paul A. LeBuffe , Valerie B. Shapiro & Jack A. Naglieri

Paper and Pencil

In stock

Excluding VAT

In stock

Excluding VAT

In stock

Excluding VAT

In stock

Excluding VAT


The Devereux Student Strengths Assessment (DESSA) is a behaviour rating scale that is completed by parents and/or teachers/after-school providers which provides an assessment of social-emotional competencies related to resilience in children aged 5–14.

An extremely well developed assessment tool, very strong in terms of psychometric properties and standardisation procedures.”

Susana Castro - Senior Lecturer in Education Studies, Roehampton University

Suitable for

Children aged 5-14

Language Versions


Product Description

The DESSA is used to assess children’s protective factors and identify the social and emotional strengths and needs of a child. Results of the assessment should be used to plan for children's support in their growth and development of social and emotional health.

Raters generally fall into two categories: 1) Parents, Guardians and other Adult Caregivers who live with the child, and 2) Teachers, after-school program staff, or other professionals who interact directly with the child on a regular basis. The assessment items take approximately 10 minutes to complete.

The DESSA contains 72 items in total, forming a Social Emotional Composite score. The subscales are:

  • Self-Awareness (7 items): A child's realistic understanding of her/his strengths and limitations and consistent desire for self-improvement
  • Social-Awareness (9 items): A child's capacity to interact with others in a way that shows respect for their ideas and behaviours, recognizes her/his impact on them, and uses cooperation and tolerance in social situations.
  • Self-Management (11 items): A child's success in controlling his or her emotions and behaviours, to complete a task or succeed in a new or challenging situation.
  • Goal-Directed Behaviour (10 items): A child's initiation of, and persistence in completing, tasks of varying difficulty.
  • Relationship Skills (10 items): A child's consistent performance of socially acceptable actions that promote and maintain positive connections with others.
  • Personal Responsibility (10 items): A child's tendency to be careful and reliable in her/his actions and in contributing to group efforts.
  • Decision Making (8 items): A child's approach to problem solving that involves learning from others and from her/his own previous experiences, using values to guide action, and accepting responsibility for decisions.
  • Optimistic Thinking (7 items): A child's attitude and confidence, hopefulness, and positive thinking regarding herself/himself and her/his life situations in the past, present and future.

Also available: The DESSA-Mini is a screening tool, providing a brief summary of children's current overall social-emotional competence to determine if additional skill development should be a priority.


Qualification level required:
Level 2. Please see our Test User Qualifications page for guidance



Based on a US sample of 2,494 children aged 5-14 years


The assessment takes approximately 10 minutes