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Aperture Education Launches Two New Solutions to Cultivate Students’ Social and Emotional Competence 

Charlotte N.C. – Aperture Education, the leading provider of research-based social and emotional learning assessments for K-12 schools, has added two new solutions to its product suite. Aperture’s student-facing portal offers a new DESSA Middle School Student Self-Report to capture student voice regarding their social and emotional skills and deliver gamified activities to build student’s competence, guiding them through self-paced key growth areas designed specifically for grades 6-8. Also debuting is the SEL Strategies and Interventions Package, which supports busy teachers with recommendations for universal and targeted instructional practices that are directly aligned with students’ DESSA assessment results. 

These new offerings further Aperture’s commitment to build resilient school communities using a proactive, strength-based approach that fosters positive student and educator mindsets in order to accelerate learning.

“As schools continue to grapple with the disruptions to learning caused by the pandemic, investing in social and emotional learning is critical if we want to help students build a strong foundation for success in the classroom and beyond,” said Evelyn Johnson, vice president, Research and Development at Aperture Education. “With our research-based foundation and accurate and actionable data, Aperture empowers both students and teachers with the appropriate steps for nurturing social and emotional competencies. Our new offerings – Middle School Student Self-Report and SEL Strategies and Interventions Package – are important components for changing the trajectory of learning with a focus on students’ strengths, while driving positive classroom environments and optimal learning outcomes.” 

DESSA Middle School Student Self-Report 

Adolescents’ engagement is critical to learning success. Yet students today face the unprecedented challenges of social media, political polarization and learning gaps from the COVID-19 pandemic. Building on the success of Aperture’s High School Student Self-Report, the Middle School Student Self-Report will also reside in Aperture’s Student Portal. The Student Portal is the only student-facing, web-based SEL platform that gives students in grades 6-12 results of their own assessment and empowers them to take ownership of building social and emotional strengths to advance their learning and development. 

Students can complete their assessment on a computer,instantaneously gauging their own social and emotional competencies. Through the DESSA’s strength-based results, students focus on developing their social and emotional skills through gamified self-directed goal setting.

Aperture Education convened a Youth Advisory Board comprised of students across the country to provide feedback in the redesign of the Student Self-Report results page. This input led to enhancements that ensure the interface is easy and fun to use, and students feel more invested in their own learning. 

The self-reporting tool consists of 50 questions aligned with the five CASEL competencies and takes most students less than seven minutes to complete. Students receive instant feedback, then can engage in 18 research-based SEL Challenges that aid them in making better choices and enhancing social and emotional skills. The gamified approach lets students earn points and badges for increased engagement, while showing them how many of their peers earned the same badge. These challenges promote goal setting through 53 personalized SMART tracks in categories including healthy habits, academics, extra curricular, financial and more. 

  • “The Student Portal is so cool because you can really compare your strengths and weaknesses by just looking at it, and see where you can grow,” one middle schooler reported. 
  • “I’m competitive, so it motivates me to know that only one other student has earned a particular badge; it’ll make me work even harder to earn it,” another student added. 

SEL Strategies and Interventions Package

With more pulls and pressures on educators, they need easy-to-integrate tools that quickly cultivate positive classroom cultures, starting with building strong relationships with students. Educators can quickly use DESSA results and SEL Strategies to focus on the assets of each student, then reinforce those strengths to build up their students and accelerate their capacity for learning and growth. 

Rather than taking additional time to evaluate student assessment data and put plans into action, the SEL Strategies and Interventions Package gives teachers the next steps to support teaching practices and interventions. These range from universal strategies for building a positive classroom environment, to those designed for small groups, and even intensive competency-specific supports and services, all tied directly to DESSA results. The scalable offering provides each student with focused levels of support to amplify strengths and develop key growth areas academically, behaviorally, socially and emotionally. 

The SEL Strategies and Interventions Package includes four components: 

  • SEL Strategies – 90 research-based universal and small group activities to promote students’ social and emotional competence.
  • Targeted Intervention Programs – Five multi-week, targeted intervention programs aligned to social and emotional competence.
  • Data-driven Recommendations – Educators receive SEL strategy recommendations directly aligned to students’ DESSA assessment results.
  • Strategies Tracking – Educators can quickly and easily document which SEL strategies are being implemented and completed.

“These are social tools some kids desperately need and it’s really wonderful to see a program that helps grow these skills in a very gentle, yet effective way,” said high school teacher Lenora M. “I love the program and I can think of many, many students who will benefit from it.”

For more information on these two new products, visit

About Aperture Education

Aperture Education has empowered over 8,000 schools and out-of-school time programs across North America to measure, strengthen, and support social and emotional competence in K-12 youth and educators. The Aperture System includes the DESSA suite of strength-based assessments, CASEL™-aligned intervention strategies, a student-facing portal, robust reporting, all in one easy-to-use digital platform. This system enables education leaders to make strategic, data-based decisions about SEL within their organizations and empowers students with a voice in developing their life skills. Aperture has supported more than 2 million students in their social and emotional growth and continues to develop innovative solutions to bring the whole child into focus. To learn more, visit

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