Measures and References: Social Awareness & Relationship Skills

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Numerous measures exist to gain a full picture of a student's learning strengths and challenges. Following are examples of measures used to assess this Learner Factor. These measures should be administered and interpreted by experienced professionals.

Devereux Student Strengths Assessment (DESSA) (LeBuffe, Shapiro, & Naglieri, 2008): Rating scale for parents or teachers to evaluate social-emotional competencies including Social Awareness & Relationship Skills for students in kindergarten to eighth grade. It also contains a screening tool, the DESSA-mini, to identify students who may require further more extensive evaluation.


Aguilar-Pardo, D., Martinez-Arias, R., & Colmenares, F. (2013). The role of inhibition in young children's altruistic behaviour. Cognitive Processing, 14(3), 301-307.

Barrett, M. (2018). How schools can promote the intercultural competence of young people. European Psychologist, 23(1), 93-104_._


Bock, A. M., Gallaway, K. C., & Hund, A. M. (2015). Specifying links between executive functioning and theory of mind during middle childhood: Cognitive flexibility predicts social understanding. Journal of Cognition and Development, 16(3), 509-521.

Bolaños, C., Gomez, M. M., Ramos, G., & Rios del Rio, J. (2015). Developmental risk signals as a screening tool for early identification of sensory processing disorders. Occupational Therapy International, 23(2), 154-164.

Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL). (2003). Safe and sound: An educational leader's guide to evidence-based social and emotional learning (SEL) programs. Chicago, IL: CASEL.

Davis, Mark, H. (1983). Measuring individual differences in empathy: Evidence for a multidimensional approach. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 44(1), 113-126.

Doctoroff, G. L., Greer, J. A., & Arnold, D. H. (2006). The relationship between social behavior and emergent literacy among preschool boys and girls. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 27(1), 1-13.

Gueldner, B. A., Feuerborn, L. L., Merrell, K. W., Castro-Olivo, S., d'Abreu, A., Furrer, J., & Widales-Benitez, O. (2020). One size does not fit all: Adapting social and emotional learning in our multicultural world. Social and emotional learning in the classroom, second edition: Promoting mental health and academic success. Guilford Press.

Hartas, D. (2012). Children's social behaviour, language and literacy in early years. Oxford Review of Education, 38(3), 357-376.

Pelco, L. E., & Reed-Victor, E. (2007). Self-regulation and learning-related social skills: Intervention ideas for elementary school students. Preventing School Failure: Alternative Education for Children and Youth, 51(3), 36-42.

Sutherland, K. S., Lewis-Palmer, T., Stichter, J., & Morgan, P. L. (2008). Examining the influence of teacher behavior and classroom context on the behavioral and academic outcomes for students with emotional or behavioral disorders. The Journal of Special Education, 41(4), 223-233.

LeBuffe, P. A., Naglieri, J. A., & Shapiro, V. B. (2012). The Devereux student strengths assessment-second step edition (DESSA-SSE). Lewisville, NC: Kaplan.

Maughan, B., Pickles, A., Hagell, A., Rutter, M., & Yule, W. (1996). Reading problems and antisocial behavior: Developmental trends in comorbidity. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 37(4), 405-418.

Meristo, M., Falkman, K. W., Hjelmquist, E., Tedoldi, M., Surian, L., & Siegal, M. (2007). Language access and theory of mind reasoning: evidence from deaf children in bilingual and oralist environments. Developmental Psychology, 43(5), 1156.

The Education Trust. (August, 2020). Social, emotional, and academic development through an equity lens. Washington, DC.

Wehby, J. H., Falk, K. B., Barton-Arwood, S., Lane, K. L., & Cooley, C. (2003). The impact of comprehensive reading instruction on the academic and social behavior of students with emotional and behavioral disorders. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, 11(4), 225-238.