Aperture Education Updates its DESSA Comprehensive SEL System

Aperture Education

Aperture Education, a leading provider of social-emotional assessments and intervention strategies for schools, has updated its DESSA Comprehensive SEL System to make it more intuitive for educators and administrators to use and to include more inclusive gender language. The updates include adding gender-neutral student descriptions, easy-to-read charts to showcase students’ SEL data and progress at a glance, and features to make its data-importing process more intuitive to help administrators save time.

“Once we checked the boxes of having research backed, nationally normed, industry leading assessments, the next step was to make the data generated by those assessments simple to access and easy for educators, administrators and out-of-school time providers to understand,” said Bret McDermitt, Senior Product Owner at Aperture Education. “That’s where our new updates truly shine.”

The evidence-based DESSA Comprehensive SEL System includes a suite of strength-based social-emotional learning assessments and strategies to build students’ social and emotional competence. It provides everything educators, administrators and out-of-school-time providers need to obtain actionable, reliable data for their SEL programs.

The new updates include:

  • Data visualization. Users will be able to view data by groups and segments in new ways. Visually-pleasing charts make it easier to see at-a-glance how students performed on the SEL assessment, including in specific areas such as self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and personal responsibility. Users can also see changes and trends over time.
  • Non-binary language. Users now have the option to use either binary language (he/she) or gender-neutral language (they), to describe students, making districts more inclusive.
  • Intuitive data importing. The updates create a more intuitive and efficient experience for administrators as they import data into the DESSA System. It provides a summary of how the data will look once it is imported so administrators can confirm if any changes are needed before they complete the import.

“Social-emotional learning is going to be critically important this year to help students succeed and we want to make sure we’re doing everything we can to support the teachers and administrators who are doing this important work,” said Jessica Adamson, CEO of Aperture Education. “The new updates to our DESSA Comprehensive SEL System create a more robust experience for teachers and administrators and also provide an additional level of inclusivity that is needed in today’s world.”

Aperture Education specializes in social and emotional learning (SEL) solutions. Our flagship product, the DESSA Comprehensive SEL System, allows educators to measure, strengthen, and support social-emotional competence in youth in grades K-12. The DESSA System includes a suite of strength-based assessments, a universal screener that can be administered in less than a minute, and growth strategies and foundational practices to strengthen social and emotional competence. The DESSA System is lauded by researchers because it meets high standards for reliability and validity and is appreciated by educators for its ability to easily and quickly identify each student’s personal SEL strengths and provide practical supports that result in improved student outcomes. Because strengthening social-emotional skills is as important for educators as it is for students, we also offer the Educator Social Emotional Reflection and Training (EdSERT) tool. EdSERT is a professional development program to support the social-emotional competency and well-being of educators. For more information, go to

The American Consortium for Equity in Education, publisher of the "Equity & Access" journal, celebrates and connects the educators, associations, community partners and industry leaders who are working to solve problems and create a more equitable environment for historically underserved pre K-12 students throughout the United States.

Current issue of Equity & Access:

Equity & Access - Issue 28

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