DESSA Aperture System

Aperture Education is the leading provider of solutions that identify student strengths, promote well-being, and improve academic outcomes. We are the foundation you have been searching for to transform student learning.

The DESSA is the top solution for proactively addressing student needs, improving academic outcomes, and cultivating a positive school climate.


Proactively Address Mental Well-Being and School Culture

Unlike our competitors that offer reactive climate surveys, the Aperture System proactively identifies and provides immediate and actionable support for at-risk students before student well-being, academic learning, and school climate begin to deteriorate.

Improve Student Academic and Behavioral Outcomes

Schools using the DESSA see increased academic mastery, higher attendance, greater course completion, fewer disciplinary referrals, and more!

Cultivate a Positive School Climate

The DESSA is one of the only 100% strength-based assessments, which means it focuses on student assets rather than deficits. This builds student confidence and fosters learning engagement while encouraging teachers to view students through a positive lens.

Meet & Exceed Role, District, and State requirements

The Aperture System provides data-driven tools for determining student needs, tracking progress, and reporting to stakeholders. Our DESSA-mini and DESSA are trusted by thousands of schools for universal screening, student tiering, progress monitoring, intervention tracking, and framework alignment.

Honor Teachers’ Time with an Efficient and Actionable Solution

The DESSA-mini universal screener requires only 1 minute per student and the in-depth DESSA assessment requires only 5-8 minutes per student. This makes these solutions highly scalable.

Trust the Insights Generated by the Gold Standard for Screening and Psychometric Excellence

The DESSA-mini is the only screener to meet universal criteria set forth by the World Health Organization and the Council of Chief State School Officers. The DESSA meets or exceeds standards put forth by the American Educational Research Association, the American Psychological Association, and the National Council on Measurement in Education (AERA, 2014).

Get Immediate, Real-time Data

With Aperture, you can access your SEL data and rating period progress the moment the data is entered by your educators and students. There is no waiting for third-party data entry and results.

Foster Equity

The DESSA was intentionally designed to minimize assessment bias through design characteristics, statistical procedures, and educator training. We create solutions that cultivate supportive and affirming student environments.

Universal Screening: DESSA-mini

Proactively identify in 60 seconds and with 95% accuracy which students need additional support rather than relying on negative student behavioral indicators. This proactive approach means fewer out-of-class suspensions and a reduction in repeat instruction.

The DESSA-mini is the only screener to meet universal criteria set forth by the World Health Organization.

  • 100% Strength-based screening
  • 1 minute to complete
  • 4 forms
  • Screener & progress monitoring
  • English & Spanish

Detailed Assessment: DESSA

This comprehensive assessment is the top solution for proactively addressing student needs, improving academic outcomes, and cultivating a positive school climate. This approach empowers at-risk students, promotes resilience, and builds positive relationships in the classroom.

  • For K-12 students
  • 100% Strength-based assessment
  • Less than 8 minutes to complete
  • Rooted in resilience theory
  • Research-based, nationally normed, psychometrically sound
  • CASEL™-derived
  • Immediate and actionable student support strategies & interventions

Data & Reporting

The Aperture System makes data analysis simple and fast so that you and your staff can focus on what matters - supporting students. Our reports are simple and interactive, displaying immediate and real-time data so that you know where each student stands and what actions should be taken.

  • Individual Results: Track individual student progress over time and view individual assessment scores and item analysis.
  • Summary Results: View results across the classroom and observe differences across student subgroups.
  • Impact Measurement: Measure growth between rating windows and calculate progress for “Need for Instruction” students.

Progress Monitoring

The DESSA provides student progress monitoring and outcomes measurement at every level.


  • Quickly screen all students with the DESSA-mini and dive deeper with the DESSA for students in need of further support
  • Provide actionable student support, monitor progress, measure outcomes


  • Recognize trends in specific competency gaps across an entire classroom, school, or district
  • Identify students in need of Tiers 2 and 3 supports and implement research-informed intervention strategies


  • Quickly understand district's overall strengths and areas of need
  • Make informed decisions for implementing strategies and new initiatives district-wide
  • Create and customize real-time reports to track impact

Aperture System Overview

Evidence of Impact

“With Aperture teachers can help their students adapt with data, and when they empower their students, they experience easier instruction.”

Dr. Michael Mallery, District Coordinator of Social Emotional Learning, Windsor Public Schools

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